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Chevrolet reduced the Corvette’s engine to improve the sports car.

2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
(Chevrolet)

The 2023 Corvette Z06 trades the Corvette Stingray’s 6.2-liter V8 for a more powerful 5.5-liter V8, even without supercharging or turbocharging.

Here’s why the 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06’s flat-cranked V8 is a big deal

The 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is powered by the 5.5L LT6 engine, the most powerful naturally aspirated production V8 on the market.

It’s because it features a flat-plane crank design typically associated with top-performing racing cars or supercars, that the Z06 aims to be.

But what exactly is a flat crank?

It all depends on how the pistons are attached to the crankshaft. A typical V8 uses a cross-plane crank that has the journals to which the connecting rods are connected at 90-degree angles to each other, as a plus sign, while a flat-plane crank puts them at 180 degrees. You can see the difference below.

Here’s why the 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06’s flat-cranked V8 is a big deal

A cross-plane crankshaft has journals that are 90 degrees apart.
(iStock)

Here’s why the 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06’s flat-cranked V8 is a big deal

The crankshaft of the Corvette Z06 has a planar layout.
(Chevrolet)

According to Chief Corvette Engineer Josh Holder, the cross-plane configuration requires an firing order where two cylinders on the same side consecutively fire during one cycle and breathe through the same intake, which creates an underflow of air. optimal.

With the flat-plane crank, the firing order always alternates from bank to bank, allowing the pistons to suck in air with less resistance and the engine to run faster to produce more power.

Here’s why the 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06’s flat-cranked V8 is a big deal

The Corvette Stingray’s 6.2L Small Block V8 is called LT2.
(Chevrolet)

For comparison, the Stingray’s V8 generates 495 hp at 6450 rpm and has a redline of 6500 rpm, while that of the Z06 is rated at 670 hp at 8400 rpm and peaks. at 8,600 rpm, which gives it the high-pitched cry of an exotic.

Here’s why the 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06’s flat-cranked V8 is a big deal

Chevrolet calls the Corvette Z06’s 5.5L V8 the LT6.

The problem is, the flat-plane crank design is less naturally balanced, so motors tend to vibrate more, requiring expensive parts to reduce the effect.

“To maintain the vibrational forces, by shaking the forces in a flat crank, you have to make the reciprocating mass as light as possible,” Holder explained.

“To do that, on this particular engine we have a forged titanium connecting rod, these are prohibitively expensive in a higher volume application.”

Unlike the Stingray’s two-valve pushrod V8, the Z06 engine features dual overhead camshafts with four valves per cylinder for only the second time in a Corvette engine. An overly square short-stroke design maximizes the area of ​​the valve openings while reducing piston speed, allowing high-rpm operation while variable valve timing and direct fuel injection further optimize its operation.

Here’s why the 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06’s flat-cranked V8 is a big deal

The Chevrolet Corvette-based C8.R racing car also uses a flat-cranked 5.5-liter V8.
(Chevrolet)

It’s still not as smooth or quiet as a cross-cranked V8, but Holder said it’s the opposite of what a customer wants in a “visceral” car like the Z06 that’s supposed to conjure up. the driving experience of a racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R. car that has the same size and the same type of engine.

They are so similar, in fact, that the two engines share several parts and the V8 Z06 has to be hand built like the racing engine.

The result is the most powerful naturally aspirated V8 ever installed in a production car, and it’s the one that will be a steal when it goes on sale next summer.

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Pricing has not been announced, but the keeper said customers can expect a similar milestone from the Stingray to the Z06 as the last generation, which could mean a price of less than $ 90,000 for a car. who can accelerate from 0 to 100 km / h in 2.6 seconds and sing the falsetto like he does.


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