It sure seems like Chevrolet is putting the flat-plane crank, dual-overhead cam engine from the Corvette C8.R race car in the mid-engine Corvette Z06. We just received spy video of a C8 Corvette prototype doing some launch control runs at a GM test track, and—aside from being very quick—our first impression is that this Corvette sounds a lot like a Ferrari 458.
It's quite a different noise from the pushrod, 6.2-liter small-block that powers the C8 Stingray, as a flat-plane V-8 has a different firing order from a traditional cross-plane layout. It sounds a bit like two four-cylinders blaring at each other. This is the classic Ferrari V-8 noise, shared with everything from the original 308 of the mid-Seventies to today's F8 Tributo.
Last month, we heard a rumor that, unlike with the previous Z06, Chevy is opting for natural aspiration with the new one. One Australian publication reported that the Z06 will make 617 hp from a naturally aspirated 5.5-liter V-8—believable, given the displacement, and similar to what Ferrari squeezed out of the 458's 4.5-liter mill. That would be less power than the old Z06, but with a sound like this and mid-engine handling, it's hard to imagine anyone complaining.
Corvette engineers have very publicly stated that the 458 was one of their benchmarks when developing the C8, and the Z06 has been seen testing with a 458 as recently as last month. Ferrari has since moved on to turbocharged V-8s, so this new Z06 could offer a combination that's getting harder and harder to find. And if Chevy prices it around $100,000, it'll create a lot of headaches for other sports-car makers.
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