Getting the new 2015 Corvette Z06 ready for the 2014 NAIAS show meant finding out as much of what couldn’t be done as what could be done.
Jose Gonzalez, lead designer for the Z06, said they only had a year to come up with the Z06 designs. He calls the vehicle “the next step up” from the Stingray, which had its debut at the 2013 NAIAS.
“We had to make it better,” Gonzalez said. “That meant discovering how much downforce we could generate with new designs, how aggressive we could get with the design and how much faster we could make the vehicle.”
Part of what makes the Z06 special, Gonzalez said, is that the design team got ideas from the C5-R racing Corvette. “When we were developing our design strategy, the C5-R gave us ideas on what the requirements and standards could be,” Gonzalez said. “The job became to get these standards from the C5-R racing Corvette to the production car Z06.”
The biggest change of the Z06 was how wide the car is compared to the Stingray, Gonzalez said. “We made a lot of changes to get this model ready,” Gonzalez said. “About the only thing we didn’t change from the Stingray is the front fascia, the doors and the upper canopy.”
The biggest pressure Gonzalez felt was the pressure of time in meeting the performance numbers they wanted to achieve. But that’s not all.
The design team also ran into complications in trying to meet performance numbers from engineering and manufacturing realities. “The components we were working with came from the engineering department,” Gonzalez said.
“What we could do with these parts was a factor in our design. We wanted to make things as light as possible, but that’s not always practical from a manufacturing point of view.”
And there were legal limits to what they could do, so they had to eliminate some design technology that’s used in racing cars to make the Z06 “street legal.”
“I would say that we got 90 percent of what I sketched done,” Gonzalez said.
“I am very pleased that racing C7.R Corvette that was introduced at the 2014 NAIAS is a direct reflection of the work we did on the Z06, which is a real high performance car.
“We were able to do what we set out to do with the Z06 and that’s something everyone is very proud of.”