In spite of a ban on racing, Corvette’s leadership in the 1950s felt that people were going to continue to race their cars and that they should keep this fact in mind when designing vehicles. From this idea, the Corvette Z06 was born. Corvette created the RPO Z06 performance package in 1963 and it included several performance-oriented parts and upgraded equipment such as a strengthened anti-roll bar, larger shocks, stiffer springs, and a host of other improvements designed for racing. The Corvette Z06 back then cost nearly $2,000 over the purchase price, and Chevrolet manufactured just 199 units.
The early Corvette Z06 was short lived, but it reemerged anew in 2001 and Chevrolet resurrected it until 2004, and then again from 2006 on. The modern Z06 acts as a successor to the ZR1 and is the current high-performance version of the Corvette. The first modern Corvette Z06 included the LS6 engine with a rating of 385 horsepower. Although this was less than the ZR1, the lighter weight of the new car meant it mostly outperform its predecessor. Over the next few years, the rating went up to 405 and 425 horsepower.
After a brief hiatus, the Corvette Z06 reappeared for 2006 as a high-end performance model in the C6 generation. It was powered by a new small block engine, the LS7, a 7.0-liter V8 with a 505-horsepower rating. The titanium frame along with the powerful engine made this Corvette a lightweight powerhouse. The Corvette Z06 got even lighter over the years since its reintroduction in 2006. Buyers in 2010 could get the carbon edition, which includes carbon ceramic brakes, a carbon engine cover, and other aerodynamic parts made from carbon fiber. Just 500 of these carbon special edition Z06s were manufactured.
Throughout its history, the Corvette Z06 has been used in racing. In the 1960s, the Z06 performed admirably in several races as production vehicles. They were soon replaced with ZR1s, though. Modern, modified-production Z06s also compete in worldwide racing events.