The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray isn’t even in production yet, but the next model in the Corvette lineup has been spotted in the wild.
What is believed to be the track-focused Z06 version of the first mid-engine Corvette was filmed by a bystander while being tested on a winding California mountain highway near Borrego Springs. Its Arizona license plate suggests it was on a road trip from GM’s desert proving ground in Yuma.
The car was wearing a padded black vinyl disguise, but its unique exhaust note made clear that it wasn’t a regular Stingray. It sounds more like the kind of high-revving flat-plane crank overhead cam V8 found in exotics from Ferrari and McLaren than the Stingray’s traditional cross-plane crank pushrod V8.
Flat-plane crank motors are valued for their light weight and responsiveness, but are prone to create more vibration than a cross-plane crank design. The Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 is the only mainstream car that currently features one, and the model is also targeted at customers looking to drive their cars on a track now and then.
Road & Track has reported that the Z06’s engine is expected to be based on the 5.5-liter V8 in the Corvette C8.R endurance racing car and offer somewhere north of 500 hp. The model will also get handling and aerodynamic upgrades to go with it.
Chevrolet has not confirmed when the Corvette Z06 will be officially revealed, but it will likely arrive in as a 2021 model later this year.