Chevrolet has officially revealed the 2019 Corvette ZR1, which the manufacturer claims is the fastest, most powerful production Corvette ever.
The car’s LT5 6.2-litre V8 supercharged engine, which began with the 2009 sixth-generation ZR1 and continued with the 2015 seventh-generation Z06, is claimed to deliver 755 bhp and 715 lb-ft of torque. Top speed is said to be in excess of 210 mph.
Factors contributing to the boost in performance include a new, more-efficient intercooled supercharger system that offers 52 per cent more displacement than the Z06’s LT4 supercharger. GM’s first dual-fuel-injection system, which employs primary direct injection and supplemental port injection, further helps the LT5 achieve its record output.
The engine is mated to either a seven-speed manual or an eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission; it’s the first time an automatic transmission has been offered in a ZR1.
“I’ve never driven a Corvette like this before, and nobody else has either, because there’s never been one like this before,” says Chevy’s product development boss, Mark Reuss. “Its unprecedented performance puts all other global supercars on notice that the ZR1 is back.”
Externally, the car gets an all-new front fascia that is designed to channel in extra air for engine and drivetrain cooling, with four new radiators bringing the heat-exchanger total to 13. A special carbon-fibre “halo” hood is also open in the middle to clear the LT5 engine’s supercharger/intercooler assembly.
“As the highest-performing Corvette ever, the ZR1’s design supports its capability in every way,” says exterior design manager, Kirk Bennion. “The new wings, for example, help generate more downforce without adding drag, enhancing road holding and top speed.”
The ZR1 will also come with two wind tunnel-honed aero packages: a standard rear “Low Wing”, which delivers the highest top speed and helps generate up to 70 per cent more downforce than the Z06’s base aero package; and an optional two-way-adjustable “High Wing” that offers an estimated 431 kg of downforce — about 60 per cent more downforce than the Z06 with the available Z07 Performance Package. All models additionally feature a Chevrolet-first, downforce-enhancing front underwing.
The adjustable High Wing is part of the new, so-called “ZTK Performance Package”, which also includes a front splitter with carbon-fibre end caps, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 summer-only tyres, and specific chassis and Magnetic Ride Control tuning for better cornering grip.
For both strength and stability, the designers say both of the ZR1’s wings are tied into the chassis, much like the Corvette Racing C7.R racecar.
The 2019 Corvette ZR1 is expected to go on sale next spring.