After months of speculation, the ultimate Corvette is finally here.
We have been waiting for months to see what GM had up its sleeve for the ultimate Corvette that would receive the ZR1 moniker, and we finally got a good look at it when a Road & Track cover accidentally revealed a few images and details of the car. Today, Chevrolet has officially revealed the 2019 Corvette ZR1, which it says "pushes Corvette's performance legacy with the highest power, greatest track performance and most advanced technology in its production history." The Porsche 911 GT2 RS better watch its back.
"I've never driven a Corvette like this before, and nobody else has either, because there's never been one like this before," said Mark Reuss, executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. "Its unprecedented performance puts all other global supercars on notice that the ZR1 is back." We weren't joking when we said that Porsche better watch out. This new ZR1 puts down 755 horsepower and 715 lb-ft of torque from a 6.2-liter supercharged V8. This engine is similar to the LT4 engine that is found in the Z06, but is now called the LT5, which harkens back to the C4 generation ZR-1. Bottom line: This new C7 ZR1 is the most powerful and fastest Corvette ever built.
What else makes the new Corvette ZR1 so special? First, Chevy recognized the heating issues with the Z06 and gave the LT5 a more efficient intercooled supercharger system that offers 52% more displacement than the LT4's supercharger. The LT5 also features GM's first dual injection system that can use both port and direct fuel injection. Chevy will offer this ZR1 with a seven-speed manual and an eight-speed automatic, which puts any rumors about a 10-speed automatic to bed. Interestingly, GM has not quoted any 0-60 times, although we'd guess that the automatic model would be the quicker of the two. Chevy does claim a top speed of over 210 mph, which is very impressive.
On the exterior there are some obvious changes that help facilitate the ZR1's speed. The ZR1 has a new front fascia with four new radiators, which brings the total number of heat-exchangers up to 13. This should fix the Corvette's overheating issues. Chevy also added a special carbon fiber "halo" hood that clears the supercharger/intercooler assembly. ZR1 buyers will be able to choose between two different aero packages that each offer different advantages. The standard Low Wing offers a higher top speed and produces up to 70% more downforce than the Z06's wing. The two-way adjustable High Wing offers the fastest lap times and around 60% more downforce than the Z07 Performance Package on the Z06.
The High Wing will come as part of the ZTK Performance Package, which also includes a carbon fiber front splitter, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 summer-only tires, and specific chassis and Magnetic Ride Control tuning for greater cornering grip. Like the C7 race car, both wings are tied to the chassis for greater stability. The ZR1 makes its debut with the Sebring Orange Design Package. This package brings in a Sebring Orange Tintcoat exterior color, and matching brake calipers, accent stripes, seat belts and stitching. This package also includes bronze aluminum trim that gives the interior a unique touch.
The ZR1 hasn't ditched its practical side in the pursuit of speed. The car is still available with standard leather-trimmed seats, with suede microfiber inserts as an option. Chevy will also offer heated and vented Napa leather seats, as well as a carbon fiber-trimmed steering wheel, competition sport seats, Performance Data Recorder, Bose premium audio system and more. GM has not announced pricing yet, although it will certainly be priced higher than the Z06, which starts at around $80,000. Chevy did announce that the ZR1 will be available starting in Spring of 2018, at which point it will be one of the fastest cars on the road at any price point.