Now THIS is what we've been craving.
It's time to start a serious discussion about the next phase of the all-new C8 Corvette's life. Prior to the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray reveal, there were all sorts of rumors about it as well as future variants, such as the next Z06 and ZR1. Earlier this month, we got a teaser image of the Z06's supposed steering wheel design, but today Motor Trend has some pretty concrete details about the next Corvette ZR1, and chances are highly likely you're going to be impressed.
Supposedly, high-placed sources have told MT the C8 ZR1 will utilize a performance hybrid system to boost output to a total of 900 horsepower. The anonymous sources refused to comment which V8 will be used, but past rumors have claimed the ZR1 could come powered by a V8 ranging from 4.2 liters to 5.5 liters.
If you recall, the C8 Z06 will supposedly feature a twin-turbo flat-plane-crank dual-overhead-cam V8 based on the engine in the C8.R race car. Will this engine be hybridized for the ZR1? Too early to know for sure. This hybrid system will include an electric motor located between the engine and transmission, but it's also possible the C8's frunk could instead be used to house a pair of front-mounted electric motors aimed to increase performance and even perform torque vectoring to better aid the rear axle's electronically controlled limited-slip differential.
And yes, this would mean this ZR1 would be the first-ever all-wheel drive Corvette. Although a dramatic departure from tradition (then again the mid-engined C8 already is), there are numerous AWD benefits, such as improved handling and the ability to put down power while exiting corners. One past example where this worked beautifully: the Porsche 918 Spyder.
But what about weight? Batteries, electric motors, etc. all add considerable poundage, hence the need for Chevy engineers to find the ideal power to balance things out. Chevy will need to find a place for the ZR1's battery in order to achieve the ideal center of gravity, meaning it must be located as low as possible.
Some mid-engined hybrid supercars have it mounted in the firewall between the engine and seats, but in the case of the ZR1 it's also possible it'll be mounted in the trunk or frunk. Bear in mind the battery does not have to be huge, but rather must offer just enough power to boost the engine when required. Like the Z06, the ZR1 is still a little ways off, but this gives Chevy engineers plenty of time to figure out the ideal solution.