Powershifting a C6 Corvette Z06: Yay or Nay?

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C6 Corvette Z06 front

C6 Corvette Z06 owners discuss the pros and cons of powershifting for better quarter-mile times.

Many drag racers find that powershifting or “no-lift shifting” with a manual transmission car leads to the best quarter-mile times. But does that apply to the C6 Chevrolet Corvette Z06? Powershifting (in this context) refers to the method where the driver basically never removes his or her right foot from the accelerator. When it comes time to shift, the driver stabs the clutch down and back as quickly as possible, while keeping the accelerator to the floor. In theory, this keeps engine RPMs high between the shifts, so when the clutch engages, there’s less time spent getting back to peak RPM. This method also prevents the RPMs from dropping much between shifts. As opposed to shifting more gently, this keeps the most power to the wheels during the run.

C6 Corvette Z06 interior

The Big Question

This method works with most cars, but CorvetteForum member Antonio1988 posted the following question in the C6 Corvette ZR1 & Z06 section:

“I’m seeing some ridiculous times out of you guys in the Z06 section, I was wondering if you all powershift when you take it down the 1/4. This is my first manual trans car and I have 522/488 to the rear wheels on the stock clutch, NT05 for tires. I leave my foot on throttle between shifts, but only about 10%.”

CF member sublime1996525 was the first to respond, and his sentiment was one that would be echoed by most of the other commenters:

“I tried powershifting the one time I had it out there. Ended up a bit sideways and just spun a lot. Plus I spun a lot off the line. Hell, the car just spun, A LOT. My 2.5 60′ will attest to that.”

Throughout the thread, most members firmly stated that they don’t like to powershift their Z06s due to the traction issues caused by the hard shifts. Some members pointed out that powershifting with sticky drag radial tires and a good surface it’s possible. But for the most part, these owners are opposed to this method.

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FNBADAZ06, who was #12 on the list of the quickest C6 Z06 cars, explains why powershifting a C6 Z06 isn’t the best route to the quickest quarter mile times:

“I agree with everyone….no powershifting. In a stock tuned car, Torque Management will intervene and chopped the throttle as seen on my lastest post about my new PB over the weekend…I posted some HP Tuners log screen shots.

Secondly, if powershifting causes the rear tires to break loose and spin for a second or so, you’ve lost a considerable amount of forward thrust and hurt your ET. It’s a fine balancing act between fast, fluid clutch engagement and feeding in the throttle to limit as much tire spin as you can while providing foward thrust and momentum.

I think you’ll see the same conclusions brought forward by Ranger, Dr. Ron, and all the other top C6 Z06 driver’s on this board. There is a science to what’s happening, and to milk every last ounce of performance out of these cars like the guys mentioned above, it takes a solid understanding of the mechanics involved, and that includes the GM safety protocols that exist in the ECU.”

After that, Dr. Ron shared his experiences with other cars while also pointing out that he doesn’t powershift his Z06:

“I had the pleasure of making some passes in a 100% bone stock on stock tires 2010 or 2011 GT500. I have not driven a Mustang since 1998. I made about 12-15 passes. Ran a best of [email protected] or 122 (I forget) back in March, crawling out of the hole and short shifting 1-2 at like 5000rpm before having traction. 1st and only time driving the car, same day as driving mine. Two VERY different animals, that’s for sure! Great car though-smooth!”

C6 Corvette Z06 rear

A Powershifting Fan

While the vast majority of members were quick to speak out against powershifting, C6 Corvette Z06 owner timber wolf did state that his best results came when shifting the car hard.

“I tried 3rd to 4th while doing a 60 to 130. Sorry but it’s faster than standard shifting, and the car didn’t pull back anything and I’m bone stock. The difference was .4 seconds 60 to 130. Now if I could get the 2nd to 3rd.

Spin is the enemy no question… But the momentary freewheel makes the revs climb, thus giving you more thrust/momentum going into the next gear which standard lift shifting is not going to produce to the same effect. Does it tax things more… Perhaps. But that’s not the question.

My Kenne Bell GT500 loved powershifts, producing a nitrous-like surge in power as seen here in this mexico run against a 700hp Supercharged M3. Note… He got the jump, but the powershift really made a massive difference. For me, with my technique, the Z06 has a similar effect, which I have not yet captured on camera.

I use the clutch only. Throttle pedal stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey.”

In the end, Antonio1988 decided to stick with gentler shifts while working on getting from gear to gear as quickly as possible. However, as this thread shows, there are some folks out there who prefer the harder shift, especially when running stickier-than-stock tires.

Patrick Rall is a regular contributor to LS1Tech and JK Forum, among other auto sites.

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