For the 2002 Corvette, the 5.7-liter LS6 engine received an additional 20 horses, bringing the small-block V-8 up to a mighty 405 bhp (a healthy 71 bhp per liter). Torque was also up by another 15 lb-ft, now rated at 400 lb-ft at 4,800 rpm. These improvements came about as a result of modifications to make the LS6 breathe more freely, including a new cam profile that allowed the engine's intake and exhaust valves to open .7mm further than before. New hollow-stem valves, a low-restriction mass-airflow sensor, and a new low-restriction air cleaner also contributed to the power boost.

The 2002 Corvette convertible and hatchback again only saw detail updates for the year.
The 2002 Corvette convertible and
hatchback again only saw detail
updates for the year,including a
lighter automatic transmission case.
See more pictures of Corvettes.

Significantly, the LS6 now matched the rated output of the highest-powered LT5 from the fabled ZR-1, but because of a higher power-to-weight ratio, the Z06 was a quicker car. Chevy claimed 0-60-mph times of a mere 3.9 seconds and a run to the quarter mile in just 12.4 seconds at 114 mph. By comparison, the fastest recorded times for the ZR-1 were 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds and the quarter mile in 12.8 seconds at 111 mph.

To withstand the additional torque from the newly revised LS6, the Z06's clutch was likewise redesigned: The flange-plate thickness was increased by 20 percent, damper springs were revised to increase wind-up rate, and premium alloy steel wire was now used for the damper springs. All told, the improvements purported to offer better overall performance and added durability.

The Z06's FE4 suspension also received several minor improvements for 2002. Among these was revised rear-shock damper valving for improved handling on the track and a less-punishing ride on city streets. Also benefiting the suspension were the use of lighter-weight cast-aluminum stabilizer links (instead of rolled rod steel links) and cast-spun aluminum wheels (replacing the previous forged aluminum set) for an additional weight reduction of nearly two pounds. In addition, new higher-performance brake pads were added in front for improved lining durability and better high-performance fade resistance.

The 2002 Corvette Z06 got the most attention for the year, with its LS6 engine muscled up to 405 horsepower.
The 2002 Corvette Z06 got the most attention for the year,
with its LS6 engine muscled up to 405 horsepower.

As if that wasn't enough, Chevy also made the Corvette's optional Head-Up Display standard on the Z06. These revisions contributed significantly to the $2,850 price increase for 2002, meaning thrill-seekers now needed to pony up $49,705 to command the Z06's hair-raising abilities. Nevertheless, the car was selling at a rapid pace.

Otherwise, changes were minor for 2002: An in-dash AM/FM/CD player was made standard on coupes and convertibles, making the AM/FM/cassette head unit only available with the optional 12-disc CD changer. Automatic transmission models received a lighter-weight cooler case that was now made out of cast aluminum instead of stainless steel. Finally, the cast-aluminum stabilizer links added to the Z06 were now included with the optional Z51 Performance Handling Package.

Tearing up the track, a Corvette C5-R, driven by Ron Fellows, Johnny O'Connell, and British driver Oliver Gavin, was victorious in the GTS class at the 2002 12 Hours of Sebring, the Corvette's 14th class win in the event's 50-year history and the first win in four tries for the specially modified C5-R. The same team also dominated its class in the 24 Hours of LeMans for the second straight year, completing 335 laps around the legendary 8.5-mile circuit and besting the likes of the Dodge Viper, Saleen S7, and Ferrari 550 racers. The team of Andy Pilgrim and Kelly Collins took their C5-R to first in class and fifth place overall at the Road America 500 in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Fellows and O'Connell placed first in class in the inaugural running of the Cadillac Grand Prix of Washington, D.C., while Pilgrim and Collins finished second.

Base prices again rose by about $1,000 each for the 2002 coupe and convertible, now selling for $41,005 and $47,530, respectively.

Learn about other Corvettes in this generation:

1997 Corvette1998 Corvette1999 Corvette
2000 Corvette
2001 Corvette2002 Corvette
2003 Corvette2004 Corvette

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