It’s rare you catch a whole group of prototypes at your local fast food joint.
GM test drivers and engineers have to eat, and a whole group of C8 Corvettes pulled up at a local McDonald’s, creating a bit of a stir Wednesday morning. Fortunately, our friend Isaac was on hand, and caught five examples of what looks to be the upcoming Chevy Corvette Z06 in Parkersburg, West Virginia. That’s not the whole story, though, because Isaac also caught what GM is testing their cars against. Namely, the Ferrari 458 Italia and the Porsche GT2 RS.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the Z06 prototype testing with the 911, either.
Just for good measure, the team brought along two production Corvette Stingrays as well. While automakers typically won’t come right out and say they’re benchmarking competitors, the numbers and radio equipment on the Porsche and Ferrari do show just where the development team’s thinking.
And using these two cars makes total sense, given what we know (or have on good authority) about the Z06 so far. While the base Stingray packs a naturally-aspirated 6.2-liter, 495 horsepower V8, we expect the Z06 to emerge with a 5.5-liter flat-plane crank V8 akin to what’s in the Corvette C8.R. That should push the amped-up Corvette north of 600 horsepower, and perhaps as much as 650. Torque may get a more modest bump compared to the Stingray, but I’d be surprised if it was any lower than 600 lb-ft.
What’s with the pipes?
Of course, there’s another Corvette that’s higher on the totem pole than even the Z06. That would be the wickedly fast Corvette ZR1, though these prototypes are missing the massive wing you’d expect. Since the Corvette Z06 will arrive first, it stands to reason these are all similar underneath. What’s throwing me a bit, however, is why some have two dual-pipe exhaust outlets like the Stingray. Others, like the one shown above, have the center-mounted quad exhaust setup that the Z06 (and ZR1, for that matter) will likely bring in their production forms.
Another plausible explanation? We could be looking at some hybrid Corvette test mules, as well. That’s supposedly next up on the docket in line with the Z06, but may not have the loud “look at and listen to me!” styling and underpinnings. Instead, the “E-Ray”, as it may be called, will pair the Stingray’s 6.2-liter V8 to a couple electric motors. As far as the conventional powertrain’s laid out, then, that would explain the more subdued exhaust outlets on some of these prototypes. On the power and torque front, the hybrid Corvette should split the difference between the Stingray and the Z06. The ZR1, for its part, may arrive later, around the 2024 model year.
Update: Another video showing these cars published via CorvetteBlogger.com (with photo and video credit to David Wesel) showing the same vehicles, and you can actually hear them this time around: