There is a lot going on underneath the Z06.
Since it debuted the new Corvette Z06, Chevrolet has been trickling out videos it calls "Corvette Academy." Basically, they're meant to give an in-depth look at how the Z06's inner workings do their thing from the engineers that designed it. A while ago, the engine engineers talked us through the magic of the car's epic V8. Before that, we learned how Formula 1-style aero will make the Z06 fast as hell. Now, we get to learn how the car's suspension interacts with both of those things to make the Z06 fast as hell.
Much of the talk comes from Aaron Link, Lead Development Engineer on the Z06. Link kicks things off by saying that much of the feel of the Z06 is like a "natural extension" of your body. Obviously, how the ride is set up has a lot to do with that. It sounds like much of the focus on the ride tuning was how immediate the team could make the car feel. We should also note that for simplicity's sake, Link and others in the video appear to be telling us how they made the car feel the way it does, without all the complicated suspension jargon.
"We knew we wanted to raise the suspension tuning in the car to provide a platform that reacts the highest aerodynamic downforce we've ever had on a Corvette," said Link. "The mid-engine architecture really allows you to do that because you have less weight on the front." That will also help with ride comfort, as the suspension doesn't need to have hyper-stiff springs at one end or the other to hold up a motor. Instead, weight is more evenly distributed. Exterior Design Manager for Corvette, Kirk Bennion added that the entire geometry of the car was built around this and the Z06's wheel and tire positioning.
Link says that the engineers wanted "output that was equal to input." This is in reference to the steering, with Link essentially saying that the rack was made as quick to react as possible to aid turn-in and feel. It was also about making the car predictable so you can push it. "If I hit the brakes at this stage I know what I'm going to get," Link continued.
On top of that, Alex MacDonald Vehicle Performance Manager said that the Z06 uses 30% stiffer spring rates without a detriment to ride comfort. That's thanks to Chevy's magnetorheological dampers, the Z07 pack is 10% stiffer on top of that. The base C8 already rides fantastically, as we recently found out, and we're hoping those stiffer rates don't translate to an unduly harsh ride.