The C8 Corvette Z06 is a vehicle many enthusiasts are waiting intently on. It’s the next step in performance for the already incredibly impressive C8 Corvette. While it’s certainly no secret that the C8 Z06 uses a flat-plane V8 engine like most Ferrari models do. Keeping that in mind, the mid-engine Vette with a flat-plane crankshaft V8 already shares many similarities with one of Italy’s finest. However, the similarities actually run much deeper than that, thanks to the fact that GM engineers purchased a Ferrari 458 engine from a crashed car on eBay.
Starting with a blank slate, GM engineers needed a little guidance
GM and Chevrolet engineers certainly have no shortage of experience when it comes to putting together a V8 engine. However, for effectively the last century, their V8 engines have only come in standard cross-plane crankshaft configurations with old-school pushrod technology. That’s not something to discredit, either. They work great, and they make great power. However, the benefits of the flat-plane layout are plainly evident in the C8 Corvette Z06 and its low, mid-engine chassis. So, Chevrolet engineers turned to Ferrari. After all, they have been building flat-plane V8 engines for decades. However, there’s certainly no chance that Ferrari would just hand over their precious engine info. Ferrari isn’t even all that nice to its customers. Can you imagine being a competitor and calling them up for a favor?
“We were able to buy a wrecked car engine from Poland on eBay,” Lee explained. “We sent them a check for something like $25,000, and we were all pretty pleased and thrilled that the engine actually did show up.”
It did, though! The Drive reports that the engine showed up on a pallet like clockwork.
After opening up the Ferrari engine and digging in to reveal its secrets, Chevrolet engineers set to work developing what would become the LT6 V8 engine that’s available in the 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06. However, the use of the 458 and its engine didn’t stop there. After finishing the first C8 Corvette Z06 test mule, Chevrolet engineers used a 458 as a performance benchmark for the Z06.
What is the advantage of a flat-plane crank?
Aside from the heavenly sound the flat-plane LT6 engine found in the C8 Z06 makes, there are a handful of benefits that come from the use of this layout as compared to a cross-plane engine.
A flat-plane crankshaft attaches connecting rods every 180 degrees apart from each other, wherein a cross-plane crankshaft has them every 90 degrees. So, a flat-plane crankshaft V8 operates more like a four-cylinder than a typical US-made V8. This means that the pistons going up and down will always alternate from one side of the engine to the other. Essentially, this all means that the crankshaft requires fewer counterweights and allows the engine to rev higher and get to higher RPMs quicker.
The use of a flat-plane V8 engine in the C8 Corvette Z06 allows drivers to take full advantage of the handling characteristics of this fantastic car. Faster acceleration through the rev range and a higher RPM than a standard pushrod V8 engine means the Z06 is ready to dominate the race track. It has no problem keeping up with the likes of, say, a Ferrari 458. Weird coincidence, right?
Aside from the fantastic engine, the C8 Z06 sees upgrades in body panels, brake size and materials, wheel size, suspension upgrades, and much more compared to a standard C8 Corvette. Make no mistake. The C8 Z06 is a legitimate supercar whether folks like it or not.
It just goes to show that imitation really is the greatest form of flattery. Even if those you’re imitating dislike it!