You can be sure it's partially because GM thinks the ZR1 can win over some of Dubai's supercar fans.
With 755 horsepower and 715 lb-ft of torque able to ignite the pavement at the rear wheels and turn an audience into a pile of blubbering lusty fools, the new Corvette ZR1 could draw a crowd no matter where Chevy chose to unveil it. But why of all places was Dubai selected as the stage for the hottest red-blooded American of all to make its first appearance? Is it the fact that the United Arab Emirates has vast oil reserves that ensure the supercharged 6.2-liter V8 would never run out of fuel?
Cool but not likely. According to what Car and Driver dug out of Alan Batey, Chevy’s global head, it’s because the Corvette has a huge fanbase out in the UAE. What’s more is that the car’s fandom spawned after the debut of the current C7 Vette, evidence that America’s favorite sports car can shrink the world and its many cultures while appealing to potentially untapped new markets. “We have a long history in the Middle East, and we have a very passionate following, with Corvette always one of the favorites. With Dubai becoming a global icon, we felt it would be a great place to show the most powerful and fastest Corvette ever—the ZR1,” said Batey. Just how passionate is Chevy’s UAE following?
Consider that it’s most active Corvette club has 75 members in it. That might pale in comparison to the number of Vette fanatics in America, but The General doesn’t have to do much to keep those fans hooked. Retaining them in foreign territory means throwing a few bones to new markets chalked full of potential. And in the UAE, potential runs abound. With a booming car market (meaning non-SUV vehicles) to boast, cheap gas, and the Corvette’s relative rarity putting it on par with Lamborghinis and Ferraris in the UAE, the ZR1’s Dubai reveal is just the sort of move that transcends typical marketing and helps fans feel as though they are an integral part of the process rather than just an afterthought.