It may be hard to remember due to the time dilation effects of the last year, but Chevrolet launched the new mid-engine Corvette Stingray (and its odd interior) back in 2019. It's a thoroughly impressive vehicle, and has won plenty of prestigious awards. But it's also just the base model of the C8 Corvette. Ever since it dropped, we've been waiting for Chevy to begin rolling out the more exciting and more powerful eighth-generation Corvette variants. And it appears we'll need to wait a bit longer.
The first new Corvette version to launch is expected to be the Z06, which will reportedly feature a 5.5-liter naturally aspirated V8 derived from the C8.R race car's engine. And "derived" will actually mean markedly more powerful, with the new motor allegedly pumping out 617 horsepower — a world record for a naturally-aspirated V8 engine in a production car. (Rules limit the C8.R to 500 hp.)
The Z06 was supposed to launch this summer, with production vehicles arriving in the second half of the 2022 model year. But according to GM Authority, the Z06 has been delayed until the 2023 model year, with the reveal likely being pushed back as well. The report does not say whether this delay will push back other Corvettes in the pipeline, but that seems likely, unless GM is willing to steal some of the C8 Z06's thunder by bringing out even more powerful models hot on its heels.
Nearly all automotive timelines are in flux right now due to several factors: the current microchip shortage, other supply chain issues and (of course) the recent COVID-19 pandemic. GM has been hit particularly hard and has been removing tech from its trucks and SUVs to keep the production lines humming. So a delay for the Z06 is not too surprising.
When it finally arrives, the Z06 will only be the start of GM's expansion plans for the Corvette lineup. The Corvette E-Ray will reportedly add a hybrid component to the Stingray's engine. The Corvette ZR1 will allegedly add twin turbos to the Z06's engine. And the halo Zora model will reportedly add the E-Ray's electric components to the ZR1 setup for more than 1,000 horsepower.