To really understand the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, you need a racetrack. With 650 horsepower and an available aero package that generates actual downforce, this is a car that best showcases its talents at extralegal speeds. Which it attains in a major hurry. "It does zero to sixty in three seconds," says Z06 chief engineer Tadge Juechter. "And that's not using launch control or anything." To prove that assertion—and other bombastic Z06 stats, such as its 1.2-g cornering ability—General Motors brought a small fleet of Z06s to Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch in Nevada, where some of the car's development work was done. In the words of noted poet Bon Scott of AC/DC: "No stop signs, speed limit / Nobody's gonna slow me down."
quickest Z06s use GM's new eight-speed automatic transmission rather
than the seven-speed manual. In a further affront to humanity, the Z06
posts its best lap times with its traction control engaged. GM calls its
system Performance Traction Management, and a ride with chassis
development engineer Alex MacDonald reveals that PTM requires a
recalibration of my throttle-modulating instincts. MacDonald simply
flattens the accelerator out of every corner, letting PTM sort out the
power delivery. "We have a different philosophy with PTM than Porsche
and Ferrari have with their systems," MacDonald says. "They're starting
from the perspective that it's a safety net to help you go fast while
enjoying your car. We're looking at it as a performance aid—even the
best driver is going to go faster with this on than with it off."
because even the most sensitive right foot is outmatched by the LT4
engine's 650 horsepower and pound-feet of torque. While the last Z06 was
high-revving and naturally aspirated, this one has a 1.7-liter
supercharger nestled between its cylinder banks. GM considered turbos,
too, but rejected them because the required plumbing would likely force
the engine forward. A GM engineer tells me that, all else being equal,
this engine would make 740 horsepower with turbos. But GM's logic is
sound: This car needs weight over its rear tires more than it needs
another 90 horsepower.