Yesterday, June 5th, 2014 marked the day for the SAE Detroit Chevrolet Corvette Vehicle Event. This relatively exclusive event took place for both SAE members and non-members and was focused primarily on the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 with Z07 package. While minor bits will be tweaked here and there, the 2015 Z06 they had on display is going to be as close to the production model as seen to date.
The event was headlined by three different speakers from General Motors including: Tadge Juechter – Corvette Executive Chief Engineer and Ken Parkinson – Executive Director Chevrolet Design and Global Architecture. With the combination of the three speakers, this event promised to give near-production based information regarding the upcoming Z06 release along with further explanation of the new technologies that will be found in the Z06.
While we at CorvetteOnline are based in Southern California and are geographically very far from Troy, Michigan, we did have an insider at the event that was able to help provide detailed information along with pictures. Since photography was not encouraged, please excuse the cell phone quality photos that were taken in a stealth manner.
One of the first orders of business covered at the event was the new drivetrain package that will propel the Z06 to near super-car levels of performance. New for the C7 Z06 is the much discussed eight-speed automatic transmission which is not only a new transmission, but a new phenomenon in general to have an automatic in a production Z06. While the 2014 C7 Stingray was released with an available six-speed automatic, all 2015 C7’s (including the Z06) will be available with an all-new eight-speed automatic that will only have minor computer differences between the LT1 equipped Stingray and the LT4 equipped Z06.
“The LT4 small-block sets a new benchmark for power and torque at GM,” says Steve Kiefer, VP of GM Powertrain Engineering. “The engine also puts the new Corvette Z06 on par with the most powerful supercars offered in America.”
According to GM, the LT4 offers 457 lb-ft of torque just off idle and twists the crank at 625 lb-ft as quick as 2,800 rpm. For comparison, a Ferrari V12 produces 28 percent less peak torque at a much higher 6,000 rpm, even though it offers more total horsepower. The LT4 also crushes a Porsche Turbo S engine’s peak levels by 90 horsepower and 134 lb-ft of peak torque.
When speaking about the new eight-speed, Tadge Juechter commented, “the eight-speed paired with the base engine is lining up to be better performing and more efficient than the seven-speed manual.” The lost power in old-school automatic transmissions is becoming a thing of the past as new technology is allowing automatics to perform better than their manual transmission counterparts. Even though EPA numbers are not final yet, based on the information provided, it appears the automatic option will be more efficient while also providing faster shifts. More to come.
One of the biggest surprises of the event was the official Z06 power numbers that were released and that were actually higher than anticipated! As previously reported, all of the information available was pointing to the Z06 being equipped with 625 hp. Well, much to the surprise of everyone, the actual figures came out as 650 hp with an amazing 650 lb-ft of torque. According to the engineering team, the drivetrain is so efficient and the car is so aerodynamic that “it only takes about 12 hp to push a Stingray (excluding Z06 due to added downforce) through the air at 50 mph. The Z06 however, has the most downforce in the wind tunnel of any streetcar we have ever tested.”
Performance Data Recorder
If you have followed the development of the 2015 Z06, you have undoubtedly heard about the “PDR” or Performance Data Recorder which is an all-new technology that is going to be available on all models of the 2015 Corvette. The PDR is an industry-first four mode system that utilizes a high-definition forward facing camera along with a self-contained telemetry recorder to allow users to record their driving experience on and off the track. As part of the system, the HD video will be recorded on a SD memory card located in the glove box to allow easy transfers from the car to the owner’s computer for sharing purposes. The system will offer: “track mode” that shows the maximum amount of data on the screen, “sport mode” which has less data but shows key details like speed and g-force, “touring mode” for just audio and video, and “performance mode” for recording of key metrics like 0-to-60 mph, 1/4-mile speed, and 0-100-0 mph runs.
The development of this technology has been a bumpy road due to its complexities and according to Juechter, “its taken us longer to develop than the entire rest of the car, but, it’s finally ready for production.” While it is going to be great to be able to share driver’s driving experience with others, the system is really in place to help drivers improve their techniques by being able to review and improve key aspects of their driving.
Highlighted during the presentation was the electronic limited slip differential (e-LSD) that appeared in the 2014 Z51 Stingray that varies from 0-2000 Nm of clamping pressure along with specs related to the braking system (highlighted above). With only a few more months before the release of the 2015 Z06, there is sure to be a lot of anticipation in regards to EPA estimates, pricing, and additional features. We will keep you posted as soon as we get information!