Whatever GM is cooking up, it looks like the world's supercar family should start to worry.
With fans’ eyes glued to YouTube screens watching supercar lap times fall to the underdog and drivers emerging from cockpits with “ohmygosh” looks on their faces, the C7 Chevy Corvette was a surefire winner for General Motors, especially so because it could pull off the same tricks as the competition for half the price. The engineers, however, couldn’t celebrate because they had already begun the arduous process of designing Plastic Fantastic 2.0, the C7’s track sequel.
A submission to the US Patent & Trademark Office, first picked up by AutoGuide, seems to show that General Motors is thinking a lot about aerodynamics for the upcoming special edition Corvette. We speculate that it will be called the ZR1 and, given how powerful the Z06 already is, will get a host of suspension, aerodynamic, and technological tweaks in order to try and squeeze out better lap times rather than doing so by gaining a healthy boost in power. The patent confirms all of these add-ons at once with one simple technology: active aerodynamics. According to the patent filing, the system will include active grille shutters, a spoiler that can be automatically adjusted, movable diffusers, and an air dam.
The standout piece of technology is the ride height control system that raises or lowers vehicle ride height in accordance to what the computers think is best for a better lap time or optimal position for the aerodynamics hardware. Chevy, not wanting to copy Dodge’s mistake of adding so much aerodynamic kit to the Viper ACR that it restricted it on the straights, will likely deploy these measures to elevate the Corvette a bit closer to supercar status. When contacted about the matter, Chevrolet Communications spokesperson Ron Kiino simply told Auto Guide, “We have no comment at this time.” Despite the runaround, there’s no arguing with the facts.
The cumulative effect these systems will have on the ‘Vette can make a huge difference, with AutoGuide likening it to the changes seen on the Lamborghini Huracan Performante that allowed it to lose half a minute during its lap compared to the standard Huracan. At $274,000, the Huracan Performante is a bargain compared to its main contender, the $845,000 Porsche 918 Spyder. Expect the ZR1 to undercut the Performante’s price, but it remains to be seen whether or not it’ll steal its title as the fastest production car around the Nurburgring as well.