Chevrolet unveiled its most powerful Corvette ever, the ZR1, for the 2019 model year in the Dubai Motor Show last week, days after being featured in the leaked December issue of Car and Driver magazine.
The ZR1 nameplate hasn’t been used after four years, with the previous generation C6 production ended in 2013. At that time, the C6 ZR1 produced around 640 horsepower, the most of any car made by General Motors. The new C7 ZR1 does the same for the current generation, with 755 hp at 6,300rpm and 964 Nm of torque at 4,400rpm out from a new supercharged 6.2-liter V8 dubbed the LT5, which, in essence, is a modified version of the LT4 from the C7 Z06, utilizing a new Eaton supercharger system (which is 52-percent larger than the Z06’s) with an intercooler, a dual fuel injection system, updated dual overhead cams, larger throttle body, and stronger camshafts. The engine is mated to either a seven-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic with paddle-shifters, the latter being a first for a ZR1.
Chevrolet did not mention the 0-60 mph (0-96 kph) time for the new ZR1, but stated its top speed: 210 mph (336 kph). The numbers alone make this the most powerful and fastest car General Motors has ever produced.
To harness the monster under the bonnet, Chevrolet fitted a huge rear wing and a new front splitter to keep the car planted while minimizing drag. The underbody is co-developed with the Corvette Racing Team, which meant race car like dynamics. Customers can pick which rear aero package they want for the ZR1, such as the Low Wing Package allowing the car to reach its claimed 210 mph top speed while offering 70 percent more downforce than the base Z06 aero package. The High Wing Package, on the other hand, has a two-way adjustable rear wing, which offers the maximum downforce available for the ZR1, and has 60 percent more downforce than the Z06 with the optional Z07 aero package. Both rear wings are also part of the chassis itself, much like the Corvette C7.R race car that waged war in the endurance races, such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The adjustable rear wing is also part of the ZTK Performance Package, which includes a larger front splitter with carbon fiber end caps, summer-only Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 track tires, specific chassis chassis settings and a customizable Magnetic Ride Control.
More radiators, bigger rims
Chevrolet learned their lesson from the Z06 that they need bigger cooling ports to cool the monster in the bonnet in high-performance track environments, following the heat-soak issue that plagued the Z06s that caused engine failures. Aside from larger bumper grilles and a new hood scoop, which is higher than the standard Corvette to allow more air in the engine bay, and four new radiators bring the total number of radiators to 13.
The car sits on 19-inch wheels on the front and 20-inch wheels at the back, with Michelin Pilot Super Sport run-flats as standard. Also aiding in handling are double wishbone suspension systems, front and back, and 15-inch carbon brake discs, with six pistons at the front and four at the rear.
The ZR1 will debut in a new Sebring Orange Design Package, with a fluorescent orange body paint and brake calipers, with orange stripes on the rocker panel and splitter. The orange theme goes to the interior as well, with orange seatbelts and stitching dyed in orange, with bronze coloured trim accents. The ZR1 gets heated Nappa leather seats as standard, along with a carbon steering wheel, Bose audio system and GM’s Performance Logger.
Pricing for the ZR1 has not been announced yet, as well as the release date, but the King of the Corvettes has a lot to live up, with the previous generation ZR1 beating rivals from Nissan and Porsche, GM promises that the new generation ZR1 will do the same.
“Its unprecedented performance puts all other global supercars on notice that the ZR1 is back,” GM Executive Vice President Mark Reuss said in a statement.