How The Corvette Z06 Compares To Nurburgring Rivals

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If the Z06 is to cement its name in history, these are the cars it needs to beat.

The 2023 Chevy Corvette Z06 premiered this week to millions of fans online in a short film and in game one of the MLB World Series. It looks like a true stunner in motion, after only seeing spy shots and hearing the exhaust for a few months. It houses a new LT6 V8 displacing 5.5 liters and delivering 670 naturally aspirated horsepower. Torque is rated at 460 lb-ft and all of it is sent through an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission to the rear wheels.

In the launch video, race car driver Johnny O'Connell, a bunch of engineers and designers all extolled the virtues of the new Z06, including its prowess on the racetrack. Corvette driver Oliver Gavin and ex-driver Justin Bell also got a chance to drive the beast on the famed Nurburgring.

For enthusiasts, the 'Ring is the ultimate test of a performance vehicle. If you want something easy going, don't point it toward the famous 13-mile racetrack in Germany. But the Corvette Z06 did go there, Chevy just forgot to tell us its time. But we're prepared to make an educated guess, or at least see what it's up against.

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"Coming to the Nurburgring is the ultimate test. You get every sort of turn," said Oliver Gavin. "Every high-speed, low-speed, high-grip, low-grip turn. It's a long flowing racetrack with many challenges. And you really are pushing any road car to the absolute limit. Every sort of load you could possibly experience anywhere else in the world, you get it all here on one racetrack."

Nurburgring times have long been a benchmark for modern performance cars. The times may be nothing more than hollow bragging rights, but in 2021, bragging rights matter. If the Z06 is to cement itself in the pantheon of sports car greats, it's going to need to land a knock-out punch at the famed Green Hell. But to do so, it's going to need to outgun some crazy opposition.

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Lamborghini Huracan Performante

Let's start at number six on the top Nurburgring laps times, the Lamborghini Huracan Performante. It makes 631 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque and weighs about 3,350 pounds, which gives it a ratio of 5.3 pounds per horse. It can get to 60 mph in less than 3 seconds and has a top speed of over 200 mph. That Lambo lapped the 'Ring in 6:52.01 minutes on Pirelli Trofeo R tires. The Corvette uses Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 Rs, for the record. Like the Z06, it has a naturally aspirated engine, but it's down on torque. However, the Lambo's AWD and insane active aero meant that when it hit the 'Ring, it punched way above its weight.

It's improbable that the Corvette can beat that time, but we wouldn't put it out of the realm of possibility considering what the brand has done in the past.


Porsche 911 GT3

Moving down the list two spots we have the 2022 Porsche 911 GT3. It's down on power compared to many of the cars at the top of the time sheets with only 502 hp and 347 lb-ft of torque. Compounding matters is that it has a weight to power ratio of 6.3 pounds per horse. That car laid down a time of 6:55.34, which is surprising considering the ratio. Like the Z06, it rode on Sport Cup 2 Rs. Racing driver Lars Kern was at the wheel. Crucially, it beat out the previous gen GT3 RS by more than a second.

This is one of the best cars on the planet and one of the few that we'd buy with our own money, if we hit the lottery. Its combination of analog handling and digital power control is unmatched. It sounds great too. If the Corvette Z06 gets under 7 minutes and near this car, we'll be impressed.


Ferrari 488 Pista

Moving down a few more spots brings us to the excellent Ferrari 488 Pista, another one of the best track cars on the planet, that can also be driven comfortably on the road. It makes 710 hp and 568 lb-ft of torque from a dry-sump twin-turbocharged 3.9-liter V8. The Pista weighs in at a claimed 3,053 pounds, which gives it a ratio of 4.3 lb/hp. Looking at that we're actually surprised it only logged a time of 7:00.03, especially given the fact that it has two turbos with a whole lot more torque than several of the cars we've already mentioned.

This is the interesting one. A few years later in development than the Pista, the Z06 has the advantage of time on its side, but at a 108 lb-ft torque deficit, it still has its work cut out for it if it wants to break the seven-minute barrier.

2019-2020 Ferrari 488 Pista Side View Driving Ferrari
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There are tons of other supercars that can be compared, like the McLaren 720S (7:08.34) or the Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro (7:04.632). Even American supercars have tackled the circuit with some success, like the Dodge Viper ACR (7:01.13). But the rivals mentioned above are benchmarks, and machines that Chevrolet will have been comparing to from a driving dynamics perspective.

We know it doesn't all come down to the weight-to-power ratio, there are tire options, driver options, weather difficulties and torque, among the many, many variables. But we're almost certain the new Corvette Z06 puts down a time around the seven-minute mark.

It might be too far down on power-to-weight and torque-to-weight to vie for the overall crown, but if Chevrolet has done its homework right, it'll be in the ballpark of the cars listed above.

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The latest high-tech Magnetic Ride Control 4.0, fresh aerodynamics and the stellar Performance Traction Management system that allows just the right amount of slide to make the driver faster.

We also know that the base C8 Corvette lapped the track in 7:29.90 seconds with a ratio of 7 pph. It beat the Mercedes SLS AMG in the process, and it had the disadvantage of being front-engines. That's why we're predicting the new Z06 will do better than its station. The new Z06 weighs in at 3,434 pounds dry, we'll call it 3,600 pounds with oil, gas and fluids, giving it a weight-to-power ratio of 5.37 pounds for each horse to pull around.

It probably won't elbow its way into the top five times, but if it sniffs the top ten, it will be a rousing success. Even it doesn't, we expect it'll still be a success.

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