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Auto review: Screaming Z06 is a Ferrari with a 'Vette badge

Henry Payne, The Detroit News on

Published in Automotive News

PONTIAC, Michigan — Some road warriors like to crank up Springsteen’s “Born to Run.” Others prefer Tom Cochrane’s “Life is a Highway” or AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell.”

I’ll take the Chevy Corvette Z06’s flat-plane crank overhead-cam V-8 engine.

Wound at 8,500 RPM around M1 Concourse’s 1.5-mile circuit in Pontiac — WAAAAWRRHH! — the music from the ‘Vette’s four centrally-mounted pipes out back is irresistible. The eight-speed, dual-clutch gearbox downshifts automatically from 4th to 2nd into the hairpin — WHAP! WHAP! — holding gear in the meat of the 6,000 RPM rev band so that I could explode off the corner and down the back straight. WAAAAWRRHH! to 120 mph it howled.

Look back over 70 years of Corvette’s greatest hits, and the Z06’s Ferrari-inspired 5.5-liter V-8 — the most powerful, normally-aspirated engine built today — is right at the top. This is a Ferrari in ‘Vette drag. Taking the Corvette C8’s inherently balanced mid-engine layout, Z06 cranks up the shock stiffness by 30% over the base Stingray’s Z51 track package for a flat, nimble chassis that responded instantly to my steering inputs.

Unlike front-engine ‘Vettes of yore, the car’s 107-inch wheelbase shrank around me, and I rotated easily from corner to corner, nailing apexes with effortless precision. It’s a confident feeling and very close to the screaming, 9,000-RPM flat-6 Porsche 911 GT3 RS — the benchmark for supercar handling and visceral thrills — that I recently destroyed California’s Thermal Raceway with.

Can we compare 911 GT3 RS data (courtesy of Car and Driver) to give you a sense of just how good this ‘Vette is? Same 1.16 lateral g-loads on the skid pad, similar 0-60 mph time (2.6 seconds for Z06, 2.7 for GT3), similar braking (139-feet 70-0 mph Z06 versus 133 feet for GT3). Whoa.


Yet my $147,690 ‘Vette is $125K cheaper than the Porsche — and 1/3rd the price of the Ferrari 269GTB whose engine it mirrors.

These are cars at the summit of production performance — rare gems curated by Ferrari, Porsches, McLaren and yes, Chevrolet — to be supreme on track and on road.

Think I exaggerate? Consider supercar enthusiast Frank Moceri, 58, of Bloomfield Hills.

An avid racer, Moceri’s stable includes a 2012 Ferrari 458 Challenge, 2016 Ferrari 458 Challenge and a 2023 Corvette Z06. High-revving, flat-plane crank V-8s all. Moceri races the Ferraris all over the country from Road America in Wisconsin to Daytona to Sonoma, California.


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