The Chevrolet Corvette is one of the most iconic American cars. For decades, the V8-powered coupes and convertibles have sold in high numbers, largely due to the performance on offer for relatively little money. Sure, the quality isn’t quite up there with many European sports cars, but hit the gas and the quirky American will definitely keep up with them. The Corvette is currently in its seventh generation, and we have seen a few familiar versions of the C7 ‘Vette so far: the standard model, the ZO6, and the Grand Sport. For a while now, the ZO6 has stood at the top of the Corvette range as the fastest, most powerful model. However, that’s about to change. Chevy loves the naming conventions it has generated over the years, and a familiar name has been bestowed upon the new ultimate Corvette. This is the 2019 Corvette ZR1, and it looks angry.
The new ZR1 revives a name that was last used a decade ago with the 200 mph C6 ZR1. However, the C7 model looks ready to blow that out of the water. Powered by a 6.2-liter, supercharged V8 engine that legitimately sticks out of the hood, the ZR1 produces a huge 755 horsepower and 715 lb ft of torque. The same basic engine from the ZO6 is used, but the old supercharger was replaced with a bigger one to create the added power. This power is sent to the rear wheels through either an 8-speed automatic or 7-speed manual transmission. No performance numbers have been quoted, but the ZO6 did 0-60 in 3 seconds and went on to hit 200 mph. The ZR1 has over 100 more horsepower, so a 0-60 sprint in the high 2’s is very likely. Did I mention the ZR1's roof is removable? Not only is this car incredibly quick, but its roaring engine can be heard even better without the closed cabin.
The most obvious changes to the ZR1 are the visuals. In the pursuit of cooling, aerodynamics, and downforce, the ZR1 looks noticeably different than the standard C7 Corvette. Up front, a much wider, more aggressive grille brings cool air into the engine and hopefully helps prevent the ZO6’s infamous heat soak issues. The middle of the hood ditches the old “window” the C6 ZR1 featured in favor of a carbon fiber engine cover that supposedly shakes as you drive along. New wheels and stickier tires are fitted at all four corners, while carbon fiber vents and inlets can be found around the car. Not to ignore the elephant in the room, the biggest addition to the ZR1 is its massive new rear wing. This wing comes as part of an optional performance package, and I think you’d have to be nuts to buy this car and skip out on it. The spoiler produces an estimated 950 lbs of downforce when you’re really on it, which will help keep that back end from breaking traction constantly. This is good news, but don’t think you can just turn off traction control and hope for the best. With all this power, you’ll still need to give the car your full attention.
The ZR1 looks to be a quite ridiculous car (in a good way) and I look forward to hearing some confirmed performance statistics from Chevrolet in due course. Deliveries of the new ultimate ‘Vette will start in the spring, with prices somewhere in the low-to-mid $100,000 range. Now let’s just hope buyers don’t skip out on the downforce kit.