Chevy lets us in on some of the Z06's secret sauce.
The new Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is almost here. In order to make people more aware of the engineering that went into the newest Z06, Chevy has a playlist of videos titled "Corvette Academy." Basically, it's everything you need to know about the newest, fastest Corvette. The newest video, titled "Conquer the Air" is all about the aerodynamics of the new supercar.
It centers around the Z07 package for the car, which adds important aero elements and performance upgrades to make the fastest Vette just a little bit faster. Critically, some of those upgrades also serve to make the Corvette less crash-prone and more stable, obviously something you'd want in a 670 hp mid-engine track monster.
From the sounds of things, the architecture of the new, wider car called for some bits and bobs to be moved outward. That includes the taillights, which were moved more for symmetry than anything. However, the extractors below the lights were moved to better pull air from the back of the car. On the sides, the new engine also necessitated a wider footprint. That's because the new flat-plane V8 in the Z06 needs drastically more air fed into it. The diagrams show how the fenders and wheel arches guide air back into the engine.
The front of the car, according to Design Manager Kirk Bennion, helps set up the way air moves across the rest of the body. Bennion also says that the rear of the Z06 is critical to producing downforce, Z07 pack or not. The underside of the car is a great example, with channels to push air out from under the car and along the wheels. This creates an almost F1-like downforce system. According to Bennion, the Z06 with a Z07 pack will make 734 lbs of downforce at 186 mph.
Of course, much of that also comes from the wing on the new Z06. Designers created the wing to dip in the center, aiding visibility, and have edges. That's because the edges of the wing is where the air is cleanest, undisrupted by the body of the car or anything in front of the car. Again, think F1, and how those cars perform better in "clean" air than they do in "dirty" air.
We love these little engineering peaks at the newest of the new, and this one proved to have some interesting insight into the new Z06. At the very least, it's something to bring up to your captive audience at Cars and Coffee. That is, supposing you can get one at MSRP. Regardless, it's looking more and more like optioning the Z07 pack is the way to go for the new Z06.