With all the noise surrounding the alleged C7 ZR1, it was easy for the Z/28 to get pushed to the background. After all, we now know that the C7 ZR1 will hit showrooms with a dual overhead cam 6.2 liter V8, which is very exciting news. But after realizing that we hadn’t heard much news on the Z/28 lately, and the fact that it didn’t debut at North American International Auto Show—better known as the Detroit Auto Show—we were left scratching our heads on when and where the Z/28 might take its first bow.
The Z/28 first exploded onto everyone’s radar back in May of 2016. That’s when photographers captured the menacing looking sixth-gen making test laps around the infamous Nurburgring. A few things caught our attention, but perhaps none more than the two fender hashes adorning the car’s front fenders—eerily reminiscent of the Grand Sports hashmarks.
This led us to theorize that the new Z/28 would be a similar mixture of all out performance and naturally aspirated motivation, similar to the formula applied to the Grand Sport. However, with the LT5’s recent appearance, it has us wondering if the new Z/28 will sport the dual overhead cam engine and if it will debut in tandem with the highly anticipated ZR1.
If that does happen, it will be the first time that the General has debuted a new engine in the Corvette and Camaro simultaneously—typically new engines debut in the flagship ‘Vette first. However, it seems very unlikely, considering how long both cars have been in development, that they will take the wraps off one and not the other at the same time; though it is possible we suppose.
Our next question is whether the ZR1, and by extension the Z/28, will be sporting a huffer. Though we are almost positive that the ZR1 with debut with Eaton’s new R2650 blower we saw at SEMA 2016, we aren’t as sold that the Z/28 will house the same supercharger—or one at all for that matter. Perhaps GM will go the naturally aspirated route with the LT5 for the Z/28. Clearly the fifth-gen Z/28 really made a name for itself with the LS7 and it doesn’t seem far fetched that the General would want to recapture some of that magic with the next generation.
A crazier thought might be that both the ZR1 and Z/28 could come to us with no supercharger and both be naturally-aspirated exercises in all-out track performance. From what we’ve seen, both cars are equipped with aero equipment that you wouldn’t normally find on anything but the most aggressive track cars. This indicates that the ZR1 may follow the Z/28’s queue of being a light weight weekend warrior.
Regardless of what the Z/28 packs between the fenders, we are still left to wonder when and where we might catch a glimpse of the new car. Perhaps at Chicago? Chevrolet has a track record of debuting performance models of the Camaro, such as the sixth-gen 1LE and the fifth-gen Z/28, in the Windy city. Dave Cruikshank, the editor of sister magazine Corvette Online, mentioned in his recent article that the ZR1 could bow at this year’s Continental Tire road Race Showcase IMSA event at Road Atlanta this August. Could this be the same venue in which we’ll catch our first glimpse of the next-gen Z/28? We hope not, as August is still a longs ways off, but no matter what, we’ll be here to report it first, so stay tuned.
Author: Chase Christensen