A Guide to Performance Upgrades for the C6 Corvette

C6 Corvette Engine


Since its initial release in 1953, the Chevrolet Corvette has become one of the most recognizable American high-performance vehicles. The C6 Corvette was produced from 2005 to 2013 and represents the sixth iteration of this classic car. The C6 project incorporated GM’s Y-body platform and was developed in conjunction with the Cadillac XLR, which shares some of the C6’s design initiatives such as rear-wheel drive, small block V8, and rear-mounted transmission.

Compared to the preceding model—the C5 Corvette—the C6 featured fixed headlights and a slightly more compact design. Besides aesthetic alterations, the base model C6 offered more horsepower than its predecessor. The later Z06, ZR1, and Grand Sport iterations of the C6 brought even more power to the table for consumers and helped to make the C6 corvette a high-performance vehicle to be reckoned with.

One of the Corvette line benefits is that it allows consumers to find the level of performance that is right for their budget. In terms of the price-to-performance ratio, the base model C6 Corvette is a bargain. The subsequent C6 Grand Sport, Z06, and ZR1 models are more expensive than the base model, but they also offer superior performance that rivals many, potentially more costly, exotic vehicles. 

CT Performance specializes in aftermarket upgrades for the C6 corvette. To help you see what CT can do for your C6, here is a closer look at the base-model C6, the Grand Sport, Z06, and the ZR1 design specifications and the performance upgrades available with CT Performance.

C6, Z06, and ZR1 Design Specs

C6 Corvette. The base model C6 originally featured a 6.0L LS2 V8 that produced 400 horsepower. Like the preceding C5, the C6 also has independent suspension with double wishbones. The C6 was the first Corvette to feature Computer Aided Gear Shifting (CAGS), which enabled it to shift directly from first to fourth gear at lower RPMs and avoid the “gas guzzler tax” levied by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

C6 Grand Sport Corvette. The Grand Sport model was unveiled in 2010 and was intended to replace the Z51 option. This upgraded C6 features an LS3 V8 engine and several design features of the Z06, like brakes and calipers, as well as elements of the Z51 package such as springs and gear ratios. The GS also mimics the wider body and tires of the Z06, which makes for a similar driving experience without having to shell out the extra cash.

C6 Z06 Corvette. With the later iterations of the C6, the power dial really got turned up. The C6 Z06 debuted in 2006 and—thanks to its aluminum frame—is the lightest Corvette ever produced. The Z06 features the far-more-powerful 7.0L LS7 engine that puts out 505 horsepower. With carbon fiber front fenders and a dry-sump oiling system, the Z06 could hit 60 mph from a standstill in under 4 seconds.

C6 ZR1 Corvette. In 2009, Chevy came out with the C6 ZR1. Nicknamed the Blue Devil, the ZR1 featured a supercharged LS9 that put out a whopping 630 horsepower. The ZR1 also included magnetic dampers, a carbon fiber front end, and carbon-ceramic brakes and could go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds.

Performance Upgrades for the C6, Z06, and ZR1

Bolt On. For naturally aspirated—not supercharged or turbocharged—vehicles like the base C6, Grand Sport, or Z06, the first line of upgrades to consider would be bolt-on upgrades. If you’ve never done any performance upgrades on your car, bolt-on modifications such as a cold-air intake, headers, x pipes and mufflers can add power and performance to your vehicles. For boosted cars like the C6 ZR1 even simple mods like a Griptec pulley along with a tune can add measurable power.

Depending on the result you’re looking to achieve for your C6, you could do one or all these modifications. For the best results, you should consider what your goals are for your build and consult a CT Performance expert who can help you make your build a reality.

Tuning. In addition to bolt-on upgrades, you should consider getting a tune for your C6. A tune involves accessing a car’s computer to optimize it for performance. In addition to optimization, CT will perform a dynamometer test that shows you exactly how a tuning improved your car’s horsepower and output.

For general modifications like bolt-on upgrades, it’s recommended that you get a tune to see what impact your upgrades had. Besides a computerized optimization, a tuning also entails street driving the car to ensure that it is functioning properly.

Heads and Cam Install. If you’re looking to take your car to the next level of performance, then you should consider retooling the heads of your vehicles. By porting and polishing your vehicle’s heads, you can optimize the air intake of your motor and push your car to its maximum performance capability.

A cam controls the valves on the head, so modifying the cams should be considered whenever upgrading the heads of your car. When you opt for a heads and cam job at CT Performance, part of what you’ll get is a customized cam to fit your performance goals for your vehicle.

The Height of Possibility

C6 Corvette Front View

If you’re looking to make the most powerful C6 that you can, CT Performance has the expertise you need. A ZR1 built by CT currently holds the 1-mile record for the fastest supercharged C6 ZR1, and we’re always looking to take more cars to the limit. The crew at CT knows what it takes to make the ultimate speed machine.

Schedule your Build Today

CT Performance can help you make your build a reality. Whether you’re looking to construct a car that can perform at the highest levels or you want to implement a few upgrades, the team at CT can help you achieve your design goals. For more information or to schedule a build, contact our offices today.