Chevrolet Corvette C6R Race Car
The Chevrolet Corvette C6 is a sports car that has not changed as much as the previous generation Corvette did. It is the sixth and current genera...More »
Chevrolet Corvette C6R Race Car
The Chevrolet Corvette C6 is a sports car that has not changed as much as the previous generation Corvette did. It is the sixth and current generation of Chevrolet Corvettes built and marketed by Chevrolet.
The design engineers tried to perfect, not reinvent.
The new C6 gets an overhaul of the suspension geometry, all new bodywork with exposed headlamps (for the first time since 1962), a larger passenger compartment, a larger 6.0 L engine, and a much higher level of refinement. Overall, it is 5.1 inches (13 cm) shorter than the C5, but its wheelbase has increased by 1.2 inches (3 cm). It is also one inch (2.5 cm) narrower, making for a smaller, sportier Corvette. The reduced dimensions were in response to criticism that the C5 Corvette looked too wide-the new body gives the impression of a much sleeker, faster car. Chevrolet hopes the new design will attract buyers of comparable European sports cars like the Porsche 911, but some purists dislike the new styling. The new 6.0 L LS2 V8 produces 400 hp (298 kW) at 6000 rpm and 400 lbf.ft (542 N·m) of torque at 4400 rpm. Its red-line is increased to 6500 rpm like the C5 Z06.
The C6 retains its relatively high fuel economy, in part by upshifting to higher gears as soon as possible and in part by its relatively low drag coefficient. Equipped with an automatic transmission, the C6 achieves 18/26 mpg (city/highway), and the manual transmission is slightly better at 18/28. However, some prospective Corvette buyers are surprised to find that the C6's manual transmission is fitted with Computer Aided Gear Shifting (CAGS), obligating the driver to shift from 1st directly to 4th when operating at lower RPMs. While this boosts the EPA's derived fuel economy, thus allowing the buyer to avoid paying the "gas guzzler" tax, it is an open secret that more than a few C6 owners with manual transmissions simply have a $20 aftermarket part (CAGS eliminator) fitted to their vehicle to re-enable a normal 1-2-3-4-5-6 sequence at any RPM.
The new Z06 arrived as a 2006 model in the third quarter of 2005. It has a 7.0 L (7,008 cc/427.6 in³) version of the Small-Block engine codenamed LS7. Officially certified output is 505 hp (376 kW), however it is believed GM underrated the figure. Dave Hill, the chief engineer for the C6 Corvette, says that it is a much further departure from the standard Corvettes and more like the C6-R that GM is building for the American Le Mans Series. Its performance is similar to the Ford GT and the Dodge Viper SRT-10. Official performance figures indicate that the Z06 can reach 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds from a standing start in first gear. In the summer of 2005, GM and Corvette Racing driver Jan Magnussen brought the new Z06 to the Nurburgring in Germany. Magnussen drove the Z06 to a time of 7:42.99, only cars many hundreds of thousands of dollars more have posted faster numbers. Car and Driver December 2005 tested Z06 to have amazing 3.4 seconds for its 0 to 60 test.
In addition to the larger engine, the C6 Z06 has a dry sump oiling system, something typically found only on race cars. Connecting rods made out of exotic titanium further lighten the reciprocating mass of the engine while making them stronger than the steel rods they replace. Altogether, the Z06 model not only produces more power, it revs faster and higher than any other Chevrolet LS-motor.
In a radical departure from anything Chevrolet has ever done before, the primary structural element of the C6 Z06 is aluminum instead of steel as on the non-Z06 cars. The hydroformed aluminum frame remains dimensionally identical to its steel bretheren but is significantly lighter. The front fenders are made of carbon fiber to reduce weight, while wider rear fenders allow for the wider tires necessary to deal with the engine's increased power. The Z06 officially weighs 3132 lb (1421 kg), giving it a power to weight ratio of 6.2 lb/hp (3.8 kg/kW). The C6 Corvette Z06 is the first 500+ hp production car to avoid the US government Gas Guzzler tax.
On October 31, 2005, the application of magnesium AE44 alloy in the engine cradle (the world's first magnesium chassis component) was bestowed an Honorable Mention in the Automotive News PACE™ (Premier Automotive Suppliers' Contributions to Excellence) Awards competition. This is the first award granted to the C6 Z06 Corvette. The suppliers receiving the award were Norsk Hydro Magnesium and Meridian Technologies, Inc.
Taken as a whole, the C6 Z06 is very similar to its race-going variant, the C6-R, much more so than the C5 Z06 was to the C5-R. The number of production automobiles from all marques across the globe featuring more than 500 hp (370 kW) is small indeed. With an official list price of US$65,800 per unit, it will likely be the only such vehicle in existence with a price tag under US$85,000.
The Z06 will be the official pace car of the 2006 Daytona 500 race. The special Pace Car edition Z06 was unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show in January.
The C6-R was unveiled for its first race at the 2005 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race of the American Le Mans Series. It came in second and third, just behind the new Aston Martin DB9 racecar. It was put on display a week later at the New York International Auto Show next to the Z06.
Later, in the 2005 24 Hours of Le Mans, it made up for Sebring by placing first and second in the GT1 car class after a lengthy duel with the Aston Martin team's DBR9 racers by finishing 5th and 6th overall, a considerably high finish for a GT class car.
Corvette C6R went on to win every race it entered in the 2005 ALMS season. It defeated the Aston Martins again at Road Atlanta and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Olivier Beretta and Oliver Gavin took home the drivers championships.
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