For the truly hard-core Corvette fanatic who likes to spend weekends thrashing his or her car at the track, there is only one Corvette worthy of consideration: the Z06. However, thanks to the ZR1, the lightweight, normally aspirated 7.0-liter coupe is no longer the absolute quickest Vette, but it is felt to have the most responsive handling. What it doesn't have is the uber-cool carbon-ceramic brakes, carbon-fiber body panels and magnetic ride active damping system of its supercharged sibling. That can now be changed to past tense with the birth of the Z06 Carbon edition announced today by General Motors.
The Z06 Carbon was created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first appearance of the Corvette at the 24 Hours of Le Mans when John Fitch and Briggs Cunningham won their class and finished eighth overall. The Carbon edition is essentially a Z06 with a ZR1 chassis and some of the carbon skin. When production starts this fall, only 500 examples will be made and they will only come in two colors, Inferno Orange and Supersonic Blue. All examples get black-painted wheels and a black interior upholstered in leather and suede.
One element unique to the Z06 Carbon is its hood. The profile of the new carbon fiber hood is identical to that on the ZR1 but without a transparent window. That makes it the lightest hood ever on a Corvette and, according to chief engineer Tadge Juechter, it truly is a featherweight. ZR1 owners looking to swap out their hoods will be disappointed to learn that the Carbon hood will not fit their cars. Because of the absent window, the Z06 hood has different structure underneath that won't clear the ZR1 engine's intercooler.
The splitter, rocker extensions and roof of the Carbon are painted black instead of the super-expensive clear-coat used on the ZR1. The headlamp pockets and wheels are also painted a glossy black giving the Carbon a decidedly sinister appearance, particularly with the steel blue paint combination.