I really don’t know how to feel about the new Carbon Series Z06 or the Grand Sport Corvette, both are excellent choices as far as Corvette models go but are they really helping the brand and the beauty of owning a Z06 or ZR1? A Corvette Z06 costs almost 90,000 well optioned, and a ZR1 costs nearly $140,000 which is justified due to the lower production numbers and enhanced performance options one could not find in any other car until now…
Introducing two new models from Chevrolet, the Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport and the Chevy Corvette Z06 Carbon Edition. Two sheeps in wolves clothing. Wait! Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Not quite, Chevy decided to make a Z06 and ZR1 looking corvette without any of the power that made them who they are today.
The 2011 Chevy Grand Spot is nothing more than a fully loaded Z51 C6 Corvette powered by the LS2 V8 with a Z06 body kit. The car does offer one important item that is not incorporated in the Z06 for aerodynamic reasons, and that is the targa roof or convertible option. The car is nothing less than impressive and looks as nice if not nicer than its real Z06 counterpart but simply fails to deliver on power leaving me thinking of poor Z06 owners who will face diminishing car values with the introduction of the Grand Sport Corvette. The only real question here is: Why not simply make a convertible Z06?
On the other hand, you have the new Carbon Series Z06 which is a ZR1 without the transparent hood, it will be available in a limited production of 500 but will house all the elements that made the ZR1, the king of American muscle other than the motor or hood. The car will feature the ZR1 ground effects kit, along with ceramic brakes and identical wheels. It will also have a similar hood without the transparent center section.
The interior will also benefit from a face lift to be more luxurious similar to the 3ZL package offered today on the Z06 and will offer unique paint schemes to differentiate it from a Z06. The only real argument here is that ZR1 owners did not simply buy a Z06 with power, they bought a car that rivals exotics like the Lamborghini Gallardo, Ferrari F430 on the secondary market and is unique to make sure that your neighbor doesn’t end up with the same car. Chevrolet has now devalued the car by offering a cheaper alternative to their king of the road.
The profits might be nice but the loyalty that will be lost as a result may not be worth the 500 car sales that will occur later this year. Chevy is also planning to enhance its profits by offering most of the Carbon Edition bits other than the hood through their racing catalog which means that you can expect to see many more ZR1s on the road than you originally planned. All you have to do now is differentiate them from the Z06 before you start drooling ☺
Here is some more for the official Press Release:
2011 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Carbon slots in right below ZR1
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. Follow the jump and we’ll tell you more.
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.
According to Juechter, the upgraded suspension and brakes give the Z06 a real boost on the track too. Even with the same powertrain, the Corvette circulates both Laguna Seca and the Milford Road Course three seconds a lap faster than a 2010 Z06. The addition of the magnetic ride damping system should also make the Z06 Carbon more livable on the road as well.
For those who don’t manage to get one of the 500 Carbon editions, most of the good bits will be available as part of two option packages available for 2011 models. The Z07 package provides all the mechanical goodness of the Brembo brake system, wheels and tires and the MR suspension. The carbon fiber package includes the splitter, sill extensions and rear lip spoiler. Unfortunately, the hood is only available on the 500 limited edition cars. The Carbon and new option packages go on sale in late summer at prices that will be announced closer to launch date, so stay tuned.