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An engineer of the 2023 Corvette Z06 have admitted that the project’s goal was beating the Ferrari 458. Chevrolet may have chosen European inspiration because this 2023 Corvette is the first mid-engine sports car to wear the 50-year-old Z06 badge. From the engine to the interior, Chevrolet’s battle with Ferrari is evident in the new Corvette Z06.

The 2023 Corvette Z06 and Ferrari 458 share engine technology

This is a promo photo of the 2023 Corvette Z06's record-breaking LT6 V8 engine. Chevrolet used Ferrari flat-plane engine technology to create the most powerful internal combustion engine in a production car. | General Motors
The new Corvette engine draws inspiration from exotic European cars | General Motors

The V8 in the new Z06 is a 5.4-liter powerplant named the LT6. It is the most powerful naturally-aspirated V8 in history. The engine makes 670 horsepower by redlining at 8,800 RPM. The new LT6 is by far the highest revving engine the Z06 team has ever built. They accomplished this feat of engineering with inspiration from overseas. 

Dustin Gardner is the assistant chief engineer of the new LT6 engine project. Gardner revealed that Chevrolet’s goal for the new Z06 was to beat the Ferrari 458. The technology Chevrolet Performance chose is clearly inspired by the mid-engine V8 Ferrari.

Most American V8s feature cross-plane camshafts that allow one cylinder to fire every 90 degrees. The consistent combustion keeps the resulting engine idling smoothly. But it also means that engineers must mix the firing order between the left and right cylinder banks.

Ferraris, and other European exotics, often leverage flat-plane crankshafts. A flat-plane crank engine fires every 180 degrees. The firing order alternates cylinder banks and thus can spin at a much higher RPM. 

The flat-plane crankshaft is lighter than its cross-plane cousin. Therefore, the engine can reach high RPMs quicker. But the flat-plane engines traditionally suffer from increased vibration. Chevrolet aims to solve the vibration issue by hand-building each engine to precise specifications.

Chevrolet’s bespoke Corvette Z06s rival exotic cars

This is a promo of the 2023 Corvette Z06 interior: red over tan leather. A Chevrolet engineer admitted the supercar project targeted the Ferrari 458. | General Motors
With 11,000 options, the new Corvette offers a nearly bespoke interior | General Motors

When General Motors revealed its 2023 Corvette Z06, it did so with a 23-minute film. A significant component of the spot was the “Artistry” segment. Chevrolet sat down with the Corvette color and trim design manager, Brett Golliff. 

Golliff showed off his palette for the new Z06 interior. This includes large swathes of carbon fiber for “that performance feeling.” He said of the carbon fiber, “we bring the art to it in the forms that it has…then hitting it with a leather piece floating on top of it.”

He considers creating each Z06, “like building a small sculpture.” He says that as a result, each car is “more than something that’s just exhilarating and fun, but you have a full, crafted piece that surrounds you.”

The only panels the 2023 Corvette Z06 shares with the base Chevrolet Corvette are its doors, roof, and rear hatch. From hood to fenders to rear quarters, the Z06 is a custom-built exotic car. The Z07 package ups the ante with carbon fiber rims and a carbon fiber spoiler. Customers can order one of over 11,000 possible bespoke Corvette Z06s.

General Motors is challenging the world

This is a promo of the 2023 Corvette Z06 driving: red over tan leather. This Italian-look livery highlights similarities with the mid-engine V8 Ferrari 458.| General Motors
Launching the 2023 Corvette Z06, Chevrolet is ‘putting the world on notice’ | General Motors

Golliff is hopeful that the world will notice the 2023 Z06. He said, “The other people that we are competing against, that are in a price range that is unique to themselves, are going to look back at this as the one that changes how they operate.”

Gardner believes that the Z06 powertrain is equally revolutionary. He says of the LT6, “An engine of this nature is truly playing in the exotic space.”

Golliff and Gardner’s opinions seemed to be shared by General Motors. The brand named the Z06 announcement video “Putting the World on Notice.” Ferrari has been warned.


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