The popular talk show host got to take a pre-production model for a spin. Here’s what he had to say about Chevy’s latest creationby Khris Bharath, on LISTEN 04:01
The 2023 C8 Corvette Z06, has to be one of the most important and highly anticipated cars to hit the road this year. With its high-revving mid-mounted V-8 engine, the new Z06 can give any European exotic, a run for its money. You had lead development engineer Aaron Link from General Motors join Jay Leno to give him a quick tour of the new car.
If you already haven’t already heard about the headline figures on the new car, you can find the performance figures of the C8 Z06 here. I’ll instead mainly touch upon some aspects of the C8 that the pair talk about.
The C8 Z06 with the optional Z07 Package
Aaron begins by going over how the Z06 is 3.6 inches wider than the standard Stingray. You can find additional paneling around the headlights and the side air intakes, where extra bodywork has been added. The wheel wells also house the biggest rear tires that they’ve ever put on a Corvette. They sit on 345 Section Cup 2R Tires that both GM & Michelin took four years to develop.
As far as the powertrain is concerned, Aaron says that when they actually dreamt up the C8 Z06, the architecture deserved an exotic engine like the high revving LT6 V-8, that can actually take advantage of the traction and the immediacy of the quick steering. In fact, the LT6 was designed specifically for the C8 Z06 and is put together by hand, by a small team of 10 to 12 people, at Chevy’s performance build center.
It doesn't get any better than this. You have a car here that competes with the very best of European cars at a third of the price maybe 25% of the price. If you are an American car enthusiast then this is something really to be proud of - Jay Leno
Jay was also thoroughly impressed by the carbon revolution wheels. Apparently, they used to cost up to 20 grand a corner and you could only get them on high-end European exotics like Ferraris and Lamborghinis. He also appreciates the lift system that’s been carried over from the regular C8. He jokes about how he could actually get an all-new Z06 for the same price as that of a replacement splitter for his McLaren P1.
Stepping inside, the cabin on the new Z06 has been also been done quite tastefully with the extra carbon fiber and Alcantara lending to the car’s sporty character. The vertical layout of the center console reminds Jay of an old 63 split window from back in the day where the radio was mounted vertically as well.
With that, it’s time to hit the road. In fact, Jay was one of the very first people outside of GM to have a go in the new C8 Z06. Out on the road, what’s almost immediately apparent is the phenomenal sound that the 5.5 liter naturally aspirated LT6 engine produces.
It's a different experience right but I think this line of corvette allows and we have them both right we have a stingray with the traditional stump-pulling V-8 and that this is the exotic screaming V-8 - Aaron Link, Lead Development Engineer C8 Z06
While older Vettes from back in the day are pretty tail-happy, Jay says that the new Z06 is rock solid. Link goes on to add that this could very well be the last naturally aspirated V-8 engine to ever be made, and he does have a point, considering the industry’s shift to electric. Even though the car that Jay was driving was a pre-production model, he was really impressed by the quality of the cabin.
Overall, Jay was smitten with the kind of performance that the new see Z06 offers. He adds that to access this level of performance from something European, you’d have to shell out close to $300,000. Jay still can’t wrap his head around as to how can GM make a car as good as this for less than 100 grand.
You can watch Jay’s take on the C8 in the video below