For the truly hard-core Corvette fanatic who likes to spend weekends thrashing his or her car at the track, there is only one Corvette worthy of consideration: the Z06. However, thanks to the ZR1, the lightweight, normally aspirated 7.0-liter coupe is no longer the absolute quickest Vette, but it is felt to have the most responsive handling. What it doesn't have is the uber-cool carbon-ceramic brakes, carbon-fiber body panels and magnetic ride active damping system of its supercharged sibling. That can now be changed to past tense with the birth of the Z06 Carbon edition announced today by General Motors.
The Z06 Carbon was created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first appearance of the Corvette at the 24 Hours of Le Mans when John Fitch and Briggs Cunningham won their class and finished eighth overall. The Carbon edition is essentially a Z06 with a ZR1 chassis and some of the carbon skin. When production starts this fall, only 500 examples will be made and they will only come in two colors, Inferno Orange and Supersonic Blue. All examples get black-painted wheels and a black interior upholstered in leather and suede. Follow the jump and we'll tell you more.
One element unique to the Z06 Carbon is its hood. The profile of the new carbon fiber hood is identical to that on the ZR1 but without a transparent window. That makes it the lightest hood ever on a Corvette and, according to chief engineer Tadge Juechter, it truly is a featherweight. ZR1 owners looking to swap out their hoods will be disappointed to learn that the Carbon hood will not fit their cars. Because of the absent window, the Z06 hood has different structure underneath that won't clear the ZR1 engine's intercooler.
The splitter, rocker extensions and roof of the Carbon are painted black instead of the super-expensive clear-coat used on the ZR1. The headlamp pockets and wheels are also painted a glossy black giving the Carbon a decidedly sinister appearance, particularly with the steel blue paint combination.
According to Juechter, the upgraded suspension and brakes give the Z06 a real boost on the track too. Even with the same powertrain, the Corvette circulates both Laguna Seca and the Milford Road Course three seconds a lap faster than a 2010 Z06. The addition of the magnetic ride damping system should also make the Z06 Carbon more livable on the road as well.
For those who don't manage to get one of the 500 Carbon editions, most of the good bits will be available as part of two option packages available for 2011 models. The Z07 package provides all the mechanical goodness of the Brembo brake system, wheels and tires and the MR suspension. The carbon fiber package includes the splitter, sill extensions and rear lip spoiler. Unfortunately, the hood is only available on the 500 limited edition cars. The Carbon and new option packages go on sale in late summer at prices that will be announced closer to launch date, so stay tuned.
Taking track-to-street technology to a new level
DETROIT -- When the 2006 Corvette Z06 was introduced, it represented the closest connection to the Corvette race cars ever. The 2009 Corvette ZR1 closed the gap between racing and production even further. This year, Corvette continues its tradition of track-to-street technology transfer with the 2011 Corvette Z06 Carbon Limited Edition.
"Designed to further incorporate technology developed through racing, the Corvette Z06 Carbon Limited Edition is a tribute to the 50th anniversary of Corvette's first race in the 24 Hours of LeMans," said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet General Manager. "With a limited production of 500 units, this car is a must-have for the true Corvette collector and driving enthusiast."
The Corvette Z06 Carbon Limited Edition is another example of the expanded Corvette line-up. Five years ago, customers had the choice of a Corvette coupe or convertible. With the addition of the Z06, Grand Sport coupe and convertible and ZR1, Corvette enthusiasts now have more choices than ever.
"For track use, the Z06 Carbon is the best balanced Corvette yet. It combines the lightweight and naturally-aspirated Z06 engine with the road-holding and braking of the ZR1," said Tadge Juechter, Corvette Chief Engineer. "For technical tracks like Laguna Seca, the Z06 Carbon could shave up to three seconds off the Z06 lap time."
This limited edition Z06 will boast Brembo carbon ceramic brakes with specific dark gray metallic calipers. These powerful brakes were first introduced on the ZR1. Black 20-spoke 19-inch front/20-inch rear wheels complement the car's Michelin PS2 tires. Other mechanical features include Magnetic Selective Ride Control for the first time on the Z06 and enhanced cooling. The car also features a special carbon pattern engine cover.
The Corvette Z06 Carbon will be available in two colors: Inferno Orange and the all-new Supersonic Blue. Black headlamps and mirrors, a ZR1-style body color spoiler, body color door handles, carbon fiber raised hood, and black carbon fiber rockers and splitter enhance the Z06's dynamic design and reduce mass and aerodynamic lift. For track events, customers can also install the Euro-styled racing numbers that come with each car.
The Z06 Carbon's ebony leather and suede interior is complemented by blue or orange seat stitching to match the exterior color chosen. Other features include a unique steering wheel emblem, sill plate and logoed headrest. The suede used on the steering wheel, shifter, seat inserts, armrests and doors add to the luxury of this limited edition Z06.
An optional Z07 performance package that includes the mechanical upgrades introduced on the Z06 Carbon can be added to a regular 2011 Z06. This package also includes Competition Gray 20-spoke wheels and all the chassis and cooling upgrades.
The CFZ Z06 carbon fiber package includes black carbon fiber rockers, splitter and roof panel with the full-width body color spoiler. It can also be purchased with or without the Z07 package on regular Z06 models.
The 2011 Corvette Z06 Carbon Limited Edition, as well as the new Z07 and CFZ Z06 option packages will be available in late summer.