Corvette Z06 engine pays homage to astronauts with 54 rocket easter eggs

During a recent in-depth presentation of the LT6 engine in the 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, the automaker’s global chief engineer, Jordan Lee, revealed that the team developed the powertrain under the code name Gemini. This is partly a reference to NASA’s Project Gemini missions in the 1960s. In recognition of this, the crew hides 54 rocket easter eggs throughout the mill.

One of them is visible in the image above. It’s on the right side of the block just to the left of the red valve cover. According to Lee, some of them serve a functional purpose as a direction indicator during engine assembly. For example, we show which way to point the pistons.

The codename Gemini was born out of the team’s enthusiasm for the astronaut era in the 1960s and 1970s. There’s also a Corvette connection. Chevy leaves the astronauts rent one of his products for $1 a year at that time. Many of them chose ‘Vettes, and sports cars and these men became linked in the public consciousness.

Gemini is also Latin for “twin,” and that’s also a reason for the codename, according to Lee. For example, there are two intake plenums and a pair of throttle bodies.

The LT6 is packed with great features. For example, it features a split intake manifold with internal channels that improves low-end torque. Three valves inside open or close when the engine reaches certain revs to optimize the flow of air through it.

The LT6 displaces 5.5 liters and has dual overhead camshafts. It develops 670 hp (500 kilowatts) at 8,400 rpm. The redline is at 8600 rpm. The 460 pound-feet (624 Newton-meters) of torque peak at 6,300 rpm.

There is no information yet on the price of the Z06 or more specifically on its sale. There are hints that the base cost could be less than $90,000. A rumor from January 2022 suggests that dealers could start taking orders for the baddest Corvette on March 24. From there, production would begin on May 9. Usually, it takes several weeks after assembly begins for vehicles to arrive in showrooms.

Alicia R. Rucker