Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

Chevy C8 Corvette spied testing could be Z06 and have a flat-plane engine

A member of a C8 Corvette Facebook group posted the footage of a camouflaged C8 testing in the wild, and its engine sounds really different than we're used to.

Kyle Hyatt Former news and features editor
Kyle Hyatt (he/him/his) hails originally from the Pacific Northwest, but has long called Los Angeles home. He's had a lifelong obsession with cars and motorcycles (both old and new).
Kyle Hyatt
2 min read

Posted by Jim Lill on Monday, January 20, 2020

There's no denying that the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette -- aka C8, aka the first production mid-engine -- is a hot topic of conversation. It represents a monumental shift in the way that America's supercar looks and drives, but it seems like we'll have to wait for the Z06 version to get a change in how the Corvette sounds.

We'll explain. See, since time immemorial, the Chevy Corvette (and nearly all other American V8 engines) have utilized a cross-plane crankshaft design in their V8 engines, and that makes sense. Cross-plane engines are smoother, which helps with both drivability and wear and tear, and they have that distinctive burble that us 'Mericans can't seem to get enough of. The C8 Stingray has a very advanced V8 engine, but it's still rocking that cross-plane crankshaft.

Many exotic cars and racing cars with V8 engines (even the C8.R, which is making its debut in Daytona this weekend, but more on this later) use what's called a flat-plane crankshaft. This layout is lighter and, therefore, freer-revving, the engine can be more compact and as a bonus, the flat plane design helps scavenge exhaust a little more effectively. Unfortunately, they also vibrate more, and owing to their lighter design, they make less torque down low.

Why are we talking about this? Because it's been speculated for a while that the new Z06 C8 Corvette will end up using some variant of the C8.R's flat-plane crank V8. GM hasn't confirmed these rumors, of course, but the evidence is stacking up.

Specifically, a member of the C8 Corvette Owners group on Facebook (h/t Road & Track) has captured a video of what is likely the Z06 testing out in the wild, and we'll be damned if it doesn't sound an awful lot like the C8.R. This (cue the A Beautiful Mind montage) leads us to believe that the Z06 will have an honest-to-God, exotic-as-hell Ferrari-sounding flat-plane crankshaft-having, high-revving V8 engine.

Anyway, you can now return to your regularly scheduled programming, and we'll keep putting yarn between photos on a large bulletin board like the slightly unstable people we are.

The Chevy Corvette C8 R is all business

See all photos
Watch this: 2020 Chevy Corvette Stingray: Radically better, here's why the C8 could leave some fans behind