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Chevrolet Compiles the History of the Corvette Z06

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The word in the air during yesterday’s Corvette Z06 and Corvette C7.R reveal at the 2014 North American International Auto Show was that the all new 2015 Z06 is the most capable Corvette ever built—be it for the road or for the track. To give everyone some perspective on just what making the claim that the new Z06 is the best, Chevrolet did us all a solid in providing a comprehensive history of the Corvette Z06.

2015 Corvette Z06

The latest entry into the history of the history of the Corvette Z06.

The 2015 Z06 marks the fourth generation—a Z06 model has only been offered in the Corvette’s second generation, fifth generation, sixth generation, and current seventh generation. The first Z06 was conceived as an option package on the 1963 “split window” Corvette developed by Zora Arkus-Duntov. The racing enthusiast lobbied for Chevrolet to create the package in order to appeal to those who might want to race their Corvettes (imagine that: someone owning a Corvette and actually wanting to take it to the track?).

Getting the Z06 package got buyers a thicker front stabilizer bar, shock absorbers that were larger in diameter, springs that were doubly-stiff, and significantly upgraded brakes. The only engine available: the L48-code 327 cubic-inch small block that put down 360 horsepower (sometimes, fewer options is just better). The biggest upgrade, however, was the potential for the inclusion of a 36.5 gallon fuel tank that meant longer racing before a pit stop was necessary. Only 199 of the original Z06s were built, and only 63 of them had the increased fuel capacity.

2004 Chevy Corvette Z06

Under an eight minutes lap for the 5th generation Corvette Z06 at Nurburgring.

It took nearly forty years before another Corvette Z06 would be created: in 2001, the fifth-gen Corvette got the Z06 treatment and then rounded Nurburgring in less than eight minutes. It benefitted from a number of lightweighting elements in order to get the most of the exclusive LS6 small block (and its 405 horsepowe) and the six-speed manual transmission.

The sixth-generation Corvette (2006-2013) also got a Z06, only this time it came with a lighter aluminum frame entirely its own and was powered by a 505-horsepower 7.0-liter LS7 small block that infused a number of race-geared design elements.

2009 Corvette Z06

The sixth gen Corvette Z06 still turns heads as quickly as it turns corners.

In a mere year’s time, the all-new 2015 Corvette Z06 will be unleashed, marking the next stage in the evolution of an automotive classic and track terror. For the complete history of the Corvette Z06, visit Chevrolet’s official release. For more news on the release of the upcoming 2015 Z06, stay tuned to The News Wheel.