Corvette History

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Z06 2002

A recent Saturday spent with GM performance guru Dr. John Moss and Chevy Communications Manager Bob Tripolsky yielded some insight (not to mention a lot of enthusiasm!) into the new Z06.  According to those two experts, Assistant Chief Small Block Engineer John Juriga and his team have done a really nice job with what you could call "the ruthless pursuit of horsepower."
The small block team has wrung power levels out of a pushrod design that meet or exceed what conventional wisdom says can't be done. In other words, the existing small block has a bright future with Corvette.
The engine team's goal for 2002 was to meet 400 hp, and they ended up with 405, a boost of 20 hp over last year, and 400lb-ft of torque. To get to that level the team utilized hollow stem valves, a higherlift camshaft, low restriction mass air flow (MAF) sensor and a new low restriction air cleaner design.  Eliminating the PUP converter from the exhaust system enables better flow of spent gasses and reduces vehicle weight, without compromising Corvette's NLEV emission status.
The Z06's FE4 high performance suspension system now has a larger front stabilizer bar, stiffer rear leaf spring, rear shock valving and specific camber settings - all calibrated for maximum control during high-speed operation. Gone are the magnesium wheels, replaced by cast aluminum, for a weight savings of 1.3 pounds each. To withstand greater torque the clutch has been redesigned. Clamp load has been increased seven percent and durability has been augmented by a redesigned clutch disc with a thicker flange plate and redesigned damper springs with premium alloy.
All Corvettes for 2002 now have Active Handling as standard equipment. This second-generation system features dynamic rear brake proportioning, rear brake stability control and integral traction control. An on/off switch allows disengagement for competition.
The Z06 has as standard Corvette's Head-Up Display, and AM/FM/In-dash CD is standard as well.  Exterior color choices are enhanced with Electron Blue, taking the place of Speedway White.
Most people don't realize the amount of testing a new vehicle is subjected to, and Corvette is no exception. Every Vette is subjected to the same general durability testing as all other GM vehicles, and then it's tested three more ways:
First, it's tested over 250 miles of autocross, taking about five tanks of fuel to complete the 250 miles. A total vehicle inspection is done at every fuel stop and instrumentation monitors everything from oil pressure to transmission temperature.
Next, Corvette spends 24 hours at competition speeds on a road course. Consisting of 24 individual sprint races lasting one hour each (eating up one tank of fuel), the car comes in and instrumentation is downloaded. Fluids are topped off and the car goes out again onto the 2.2-mile road course. The course has a 120-mph straight, a 90-mph sweeping curve and 40-mph hairpins.
Finally, the Corvette is subjected to a wide-open throttle test on GM's five-mile circle track at the Milford Proving Grounds. Starting with a full tank of gas, the car is driven flat-out at its 171-mph top speed until the fuel runs out - about 30 minutes.
So what about performance? The new Z06, with its unique six-speed transmission (tall first gear, etc), will enable skilled drivers to achieve 0-60 times of 3.9 seconds (that's no misprint! 3.9 seconds!) and quarter mile times of 12.4 (116 mph).
That ought to satisfy the "boy racer" in any of us!