C8 Corvette Z06 Crashes Hard at VIR, Engine Still Runs

Even the best drivers out there make mistakes. The driver of the Z06 in the video below did exactly that at Virginia International Raceway. Despite totaling the car, the flat-plane crankshaft V8 of the 'Vette still runs, and the driver walked away unharmed.
Z06 crash at VIR 24 photos
Photo: steelankles / edited
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Slow-motion footage from the built-in Performance Data Recorder of the 2023 model year Z06 shows the driver trying to apply throttle on corner entry. He then opened the steering wheel, yet the front left tire lost grip after going off track on the outside. In this situation, the driver couldn't do anything to save the Z06 from hitting the guardrail on the inside nose-first, carrying a lot of speed.

An impact of 8.47 Gs may not seem like much, but it's actually hard on anyone who hasn't undergone fighter pilot training in a centrifuge. The car gets into a spin after the original impact. When it comes back around, the rear end also hits the guardrail at 5.5 Gs. While it may be depressing to see a 2023 model year Z06 in this state, bear in mind the car doesn't matter. What actually matters is the driver not getting hurt. You can easily replace a car, but a life-threatening injury is a different matter altogether.

The C8-generation Z06 is the fifth since the 1963 model year. 199 units were produced back then. Better known as the Big Tank due to the 36.5-gallon (138-liter) fuel tank, the Z06 option used to retail at $1,818.45 over the C2 coupe's $4,252 base price.

After the C2, the Z06 nameplate returned to the Corvette with the C5. The largest automaker of the Big Three in Detroit pushed the Z06 in a different direction with the C7 by means of supercharging.

Even though its predecessor featured a 6.2-liter small block, the C8 is even more powerful despite packing 5.5 liters. The naturally-aspirated V8 of the 2023-and-newer Z06 is a masterpiece, the largest flat-plane crankshaft V8 ever fitted to a series-production car entitled to wear a license plate.

Codenamed Gemini and referred to as LT6 in the order guide, the high-revving engine redlines at 8,600 revolutions per minute. It belts out 670 horsepower at 8,400 spinnies and 460 pound-feet (624 Nm) at 6,300 revolutions per minute. By comparison, the previous gen offers 650 horsepower at 6,400 spinnies and 650 pound-feet (881 Nm) at 3,600 revolutions per minute.

Chevrolet isn't stopping here, though. The ZR1 is rumored to be revealed next year with a twin-turbocharged version of the LT6, as in the LT7. The grand finale for the C8 generation is expected to be called Zora as a tribute to the engineer who introduced the small-block V8 to the 'Vette.

Word has it the ZR1 is coming with more than 800 horsepower as opposed to 755 for the previous generation of the ZR1. The heavily anticipated Zora may get a staggering 1,000 ponies, which is Lamborghini Revuelto and Bugatti Veyron territory.

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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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