Meet the quickest road-legal Corvette ever


The 2019 Corvette ZR1. Image: GM via AFP Relaxnews

As promised, the new 2019 Corvette ZR1 is the fastest and most powerful in the nameplate’s 64-year history. But this is a ZR1 that has been built as much for having fun in the corners without coming unstuck as it has been designed for impromptu and (highly illegal) perfectly straight-line drag races between sets of traffic lights.

The car’s 6.2-liter supercharged V8 has been independently verified as outputting 755 horsepower to the rear wheels while torque available is a huge 969Nm or 715 lb-ft. But GM has done more than simply strap a bigger blower to the crankshaft to force-feed the engine more and more air. This is the first engine from the company that uses both primary injection and supplemental port fuel injection for the biggest possible bang on every revolution.

And, what’s more, all of that power can be enjoyed via a seven-speed manual or, for the first time ever in a ‘Vette carrying the ZR1 badge, an automatic transmission. However, it’s a serious, race-bred eight-speed paddle shift system, so that when the cruising stops, the driver can still very much feel like an integral part of the driving process.

“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.”

One would expect hyperbole of this caliber from the car’s builders, but on paper at least this car can outperform everything from an Audi R8 V10 Plus to the Porsche 911 Turbo S, the final generation Dodge Viper and the latest generation Bentley Continental Supersports. In fact at 210 miles per hour, it’s faster than any current V8 Ferrari and it’s just 2 miles per hour away from overtaking a 6.5-liter V12 propelled Ferrari 812 Superfast.

Impressive stuff. As is the car’s exterior.

Available as a hardtop or targa-style convertible, owners will be able to pick from two very different aero packages. The first comes with a low rear wing that will make hitting the car’s top speed simply a matter of holding one’s nerve; or there’s a ZTK Performance package that adds a front splitter, Michelin Pilot Cup 2 summer-only tires, magnetic ride control suspension (for optimum cornering) and a two-way adjustable high wing that’s all about generating huge levels of downforce, over 400 kilograms, for track use.

“As the highest-performing Corvette ever, the ZR1’s design supports its capability in every way,” said Kirk Bennion, Exterior Design manager. “The new wings, for example, help generate more downforce without adding drag, enhancing road holding and top speed.”

Chevrolet is yet to confirm pricing for the car, but as the quintessential blue-collar supercar, expect it to cost much less than any of its European competitors. JB


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