As yet another generational change occurs in 1997, the C5 Corvette is on top of the sports car hill. With gradual changes to the new LS1 engine, including the all aluminum 5.7L known as the Gen3 small block, it had a little different bore and stroke than previous years.
Now with a 3.898 bore and a 3.62 stroke, the LS1 horse power and performance are slowly being bumped up. With the inception of the ZO6 in 2001, a revival of the Corvette performance package of 1963, the car is inching ever closer to a race ready production car.
The ZO6, a successor to the ZR1 (C4), made it’s debut in 2001 initially producing 385 Hp, and 385 ft. lbs. of torque. Instead of getting its power from the DOHC as did the (C4) ZR1 it used a high output, tuned version of the LS1 engine, designated LS6.
As Corvette Racing dominance in road racing continued more and more, that shared technology made its way to the production models.
As Chevrolet introduced the 2004 Corvette ZO6, at the time, it was the fastest and most powerful car ever offered by Chevrolet and General Motors.
The radical ZO6 was comprised of an unprecedented level of capability and technology. At the time, it was the most Radical Corvette ever to wear the crossed flags emblem. With its tweaked LS6 engine now producing 405 hp and 400 ft. lbs. of torque, it was capable of turning 6500 Rpm’s.
This mated with the super geared M12 6 speed manual transmission, and a braking and suspension system that had been perfected from years of Corvette Racing Teams shared technology. This ZO6 was one bad C5 Corvette.
It has been said by test drivers that from 3500 Rpm’s to above 6000 Rpm’s, the 2004 ZO6 pulled so violently that it felt as if the front off the car could just pull off leaving you stranded in the middle of the road.
A bone stock, factory direct ZO6 Corvette could turn 0 – 60 in 3.9 seconds, and make passes in the quarter mile in 11.97 seconds @ 118.8 Mph. Now that’s Radical!
From the shared knowledge that was being used in Corvette racing Teams, the 2004 ZO6 was designed for the competition minded Corvette owner. The ZO6 package included upgraded brakes, a thicker anti-roll bar, and an aluminum frame. It also sported stiffer springs, stronger shocks, and even a 36.5 gallon fiberglass fuel tank.
In addition, the ZO6 had a thinner windshield, lighter battery and lighter exhaust system. These features, coupled with the first ever carbon fiber hood, all were an effort to save weight. The was the beginning of the use of lighter materials that are still used on today’s Corvettes.
All this power and handling ability was put to the ground using Goodyear Eagle F1 tires, 295/35ZR18 on the back, and 265/40ZR17 up front, on a specially designed ZO6 style wheel. The 2004 ZO6 was only available in a fixed roof model, making this the most Radical C5 Corvette.