DriveLife probably has more interest in the 2023 Corvette Z06 than other New Zealand automotive magazine.
In the article published last week about our upcoming 2023 USA Road Trip and our search for finding the perfect car to buy, the Z06 has popped on the radar more than a few times. Not a new one mind you, but the prices of used Z06s in the USA are coming down and I expect this is the calm before the storm when they start to rise far above what they are now.
Why? A used Z06 is a hugely underrated sports car and for the cost of one, you are getting something very special. Every Z06 ever designed was meant to be the epitome of the Corvette range, the one you would take to the track, the one you would buy if you wanted the best Corvette in the range.
The Z06 has always held the mantle of the ultimate in development of the Corvette, at that time.
2024 Chevrolet C8 Corvette Z06 | Reveal
So when GM Specialty Vehicles (GMSV) invited us to Auckland to check out the new, right-hand drive C8 Corvette Z06, we jumped at it. There would be a caveat; we wouldn’t be able to drive the car at all. Sit in it, sure, but not drive it. This would be a show car and eventually sold. Dammit. After driving the C8 around Pukekohe in 2022, it would be simply amazing to get the Z06 out on the track. But perhaps another day that would happen, for the moment we can only look and likely drool a little (maybe a lot).
Of course, this ‘launch’ would be on the 4th of July, America’s Independence Day. An apt day for sure, and extremely well planned. But this wouldn’t quite be a launch; the Z06 is not arriving until early 2024, so today would just be a taste of the car, take a few photos, start it up, and look over it.
And what about the new Z06? Finished in Red Mist Metallic Tintcoat, the one and only RHD C8 Z06 in New Zealand looked absolutely stunning. Sure, it’s not a massively different shape from the normal C8 Corvette, but it is almost 10cm wider, has a lot more cooling radiators and bigger wheels/tyres (20/21”), so its stance is far meaner and far more purposeful. “This is a car destined for a racetrack,” says the GMSV spokesperson.
Other than the car not being grey or silver, I was also rapt to see that the interior on this Z06 was a mix of beige and black leather, and that combo looked amazing. The interior isn’t much different from the standard C8, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s an amazing interior. Lots of buttons, yes, but feels like a sportscar, those seats hugging passenger and driver.
Starting the car up, you can hear that glorious 5.5-litre, all-alloy V8 roar. With its flat-plane crank, the engine note is definitely different from a normal V8 and noises from the exhaust only add to the experience. There was no way I was going to rev this car out to its 8,600rpm redline, but I’m still stunned that the redline is that high. According to Chevrolet, this engine is the most powerful naturally-aspirated engine in any production car, ever.
Lifting the engine hatch, there’s the nameplate of Chase Duvall, the man who handcrafted the engine of this very car in Kentucky – a nice touch.
2024 Chevrolet C8 Corvette Z06 | New Zealand Situation
We mentioned there is just one Z06 in New Zealand. In January of this year, Australia got their first Z06 – and that’s still their only one. They are still waiting on stock, and will likely launch the car proper at the same time as New Zealand.
One of the reasons for the delay in stock is the same ‘old’ reason: the semi-conductor shortage. The other reason is simply a lack of RHD stock from the USA. But it is coming, and early 2024 is when GSMV is confident they will be launching the car here.
Apparently, there is already interest in the Z06 here, some of that from existing C8 Corvette owners, and other interest from those who decided to simply wait until the Z06 was available. The patient ones, for sure.
Above the Corvette Stingray, the Z06 Package includes:
- All-new 5.5L DOHC LT6 V8 Engine
- Flat-plane crankshaft design
- Hand-assembled by master engine builders in Bowling Green
- Eight-speed dual-clutch transmission
- Specific ‘shorter’ 5.56 final drive ratio compared to Stingray
- Z06-specific suspension tuning & larger brakes than Stingray
- Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 (FE6) and six-piston front brakes
At some point, the Z07 package will be available here, complete with its carbon fibre wheels that are made in Melbourne. General Motors engineers said the five-spoke carbon fibre wheels save 41 pounds of unsprung, rotational mass compared to the standard Z06’s forged aluminium wheels. These wheels alone improve the Corvette’s lap time by 1.0 to 1.5 seconds over a two-minute lap, all other factors being equal.
The Z07 Package includes:
• Carbon Fibre Aero Package
• Larger front splitter
• Front-corner dive planes
• Carbon Fibre Rear wing
• Underbody strakes that enhance downforce
• Unique FE7 suspension with specific Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 calibrations
• Michelin Sport Cup 2 R ZP Tyres (developed specifically for the Z06)
• Larger Brembo carbon ceramic brake system
• 15.7-inch-diameter (398mm) front rotors and 15.4-inch-diameter (391mm) rear rotors
• Available Carbon Fibre Wheels (18.6kg reduction in unsprung mass)
GMSV is only bringing in one trim level for the Z06: 3LT. That’s the top trim spec available, so New Zealand buyers will be getting all the bells and whistles with their Z06 purchase. “This includes a steering wheel beautified with carbon fibre, shift paddles made from carbon fibre, suede microfibre on the upper interior trim, leather-wrapped interior door panels and instrument panel, as well as GT2 bucket seats with Napa leather upholstery and carbon fibre garnish,” says the GMSV spokesperson.
The front wheel measures 20×10” while the 21×13” rear is the world’s widest OEM carbon fibre wheel. The rear wheel also has the highest load capacity of any wheel produced yet by Carbon Revolution, the company that makes the wheels.
The Z06’s enhanced track performance ability is also matched with greater braking capability, with larger 14.6-inch-diameter (370mm) front and 15-inch diameter (380mm) rear Brembo rotors, compared with the Stingray. The Z06 has six-piston front callipers compared to four-piston callipers on the Stingray.
Pricing for the Z06 won’t be released until later in July.
Chevrolet C8 Corvette in New Zealand
For the standard C8 Corvette Stingray, in 2022 33 were sold and to date for 2023 GMSV, has sold 16. They say they’re on track to match the 2022 figures, and actually, they can’t really get any more stock to sell anyway.
It was interesting to hear that wives are now pushing along for C8 Corvette sales; previously, there were some women that didn’t want to be on the right-hand side of the car going down the road. Now the C8 is available in RHD, they are ‘allowing’ their husbands to buy one.
We eagerly await pricing later this month, and eventually, the C8 Corvette Z06 arriving here for sale.