2004 Z06 Z16




This site showcases my 2004 Corvette C5 Z06 Lemans Commemorative Edition, build code Z16.

This is #1916 of 2025 Commemorative Edition Z06's produced by Chevrolet in 2004.


The Corvette has enjoyed a legendary presence and colorful history since its debut in 1953. The current, fifth-generation Corvette, now seven years in production, remains the most complete and potent Corvette package offered--though its reign will come to an end as a new, more aggressive sixth-generation car appears in '05. The C5 exits in grand fashion, however, in the form of an optional Commemorative Edition that celebrates Corvette's back-to-back class victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Available in Coupe, Convertible, and Z06 models, the Commemorative Edition emphasizes visual punch rather than power upgrades. Most notable is a special Le Mans Blue paint, the same hue used on the two C5-R contenders that returned to Le Mans this year and narrowly missed a three-peat class win at the famed endurance race. The Commemorative package includes a special Shale-colored interior; the seats incorporate Corvette cross-flags embroidered into the headrests. Also part of the mix are exterior badges acknowledging Corvette's Le Mans success.

There's one bit of CE hardware-related news: The '04 Z06 gets a race-inspired option in the form of a lightweight carbon-fiber hood that weighs just 20.5 pounds--10.6 less than the standard unit. This hood is constructed of unique, single-direction fibers intended to eliminate waviness, a trait common on painted carbon fiber. Atop the paint are silver stripes with red edges, similar to the stripe package used as a Le Mans-only aesthetic on the C5-R race cars (GM won't run these stripes at the rest of the American Le Mans race series events). GM says this is the first time carbon fiber has been used for a major body panel in a mass-production vehicle. "We definitely have technology transfer from [C5-R] racing to production with the example of putting carbon fiber into a series production street car that people can afford," notes Corvette Chief Engineer Dave Hill.

Apart from the Commemorative package for '04, the Z06 receives specific chassis tuning upgrades intended to deliver increased performance and more vehicle control--all with a smoother ride around town. Considerable attention was paid to refinement of the Sachs' shock valving in order to diminish the impact of yaw and roll, particularly in a series of tight corners. Ride/Handling Chassis Engineer Michael Neal states, "We reshaped the force-velocity curve to give more control, but not at the expense of ride. What the customer feels, particularly on a racetrack, is a more poised car. He doesn't have to wait for body roll to settle during transient maneuvers, so he can be aggressive hustling from one corner to another, particularly as they come in quicker succession." Added to the handling mix are stiffer upper control-arm bushings teamed with slightly softer rear anti-roll bar bushings to deliver flatter handling and more stability going into the corner, thus minimizing oversteer on corner exit. "If you want to fix oversteer at the back, you first need to fix it at the front of the corner," says Neal. Specifically, deterring oversteer requires generating a smoother entry, which, in the case of the '04 Z06, is noticeably easier compared with the '03 model.

The chassis refinements and reduced vehicle weight have paid off, as the '04 Z06 recently joined the ranks of the select few volume-production vehicles to have broken the eight-minute barrier for lap times at the 170-turn, 14-mile-long Nuerburgring circuit in Germany, where Team Corvette performs development testing. This is a worthy accomplishment, considering that the exact same vehicle can then be driven cross-country in air-conditioned comfort, backed by a factory warranty.

Hill's goal for the '04 Z06 was "to make it the quickest Corvette ever produced," sending the C5 out with a bang. That it is, and that he has.


Front engine, rear wheel drive

90° V-8, aluminum block and heads

345.7 cubic inches

405 HP at 6000 RPM

400 ft/lb torque at 4800 RPM

3118 lb. curb weight

3.42:1 gear ratio

6 speed manual transaxle

0-60 mph 3.9 seconds

0-100 mph 9.9 seconds