Chevy’s 563kW monster ’Vette

Reborn ZR1 debuts new supercharged V8 and wild aero

IF THE idea of uncorking a high horsepower rear driver makes your heart flutter dangerously, skip these pages, because the new Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 will blow your pacemaker.

Revealed at the Dubai Motor Show, the third-gen ZR1 will become the Chevy’s fastest and most powerful Corvette to date.

Chevrolet has based it on the current Z06 and upgraded its existing pushrod LT4 with a bigger supercharger. Now codenamed the LT5, the 6.2-litre small-block is almost eight centimetres taller thanks to a new Eaton unit harboured in its vee.

It crams 52 per cent more air into the V8’s cylinders, while fuel is injected by direct and indirect means. The mixture is then ignited to the tune of 563kW and a whopping 969Nm. As well as the blower’s new intercooler, a total of 13 radiators keep vital temperatures in check.

It’ll be offered with the same seven-speed manual and eightspeed automatic as the Z06, and channel grunt to the rear boots through the same aluminiumbased chassis. Paddles accompany the auto, while the manual ’box includes rev-match software.

The ZR1’s suspension, too, shares its baby bro’s magnetic dampers, while brakes are the Z06’s optional calipers and discs.

The wheels have been widened by an inch to improve the contact patch, like HSV’s GTSR. They’re a massive 12-inches out back, and come wrapped with Michelin Pilot Super Sport ZP or Sport Cup 2s.

The bonnet’s serious power bulge shoehorns that massive supercharger into the car’s frontend.

Combined with the optional ZTK aero package the result could make a Jaguar F-Type blush.

The pack bolts a massive wing to the rear body structure and throws a splitter under the front bar. They help generate more than 400kg of downforce, while standard cars come with a smaller, nonadjustable rear wing.

Chevrolet says the car’s suspension and chassis have been tuned to make the 750 horsepower track monster friendly and accessible – no easy task.

Mark Reuss, General Motor’s product development vice president, says the ZR1’s “unprecedented performance puts all other global supercars on notice that the ZR1 is back”. However, the car’s extreme aerodynamics and bonnet design have excluded the Corvette ZR1 from European markets, according to Car And Driver, while the company has ruled out the current Corvette for right-hand drive.

While the standard coupe’s roof is removable, the US publication also reports that the ZR1 will come in various bodystyles, including a convertible.

Buyers will be able to option a Sebring Orange Design Package, which dabs the hue on brake calipers, engine rockers, splitter stripes, and seatbelts before deliveries begin in early 2018.

Official pricing and performance testing figures were under wraps at the time of printing, however, 0-60mph (97kmh/) in less than three seconds, the quarter mile in under 11 seconds, and 330km/hplus is reported.

That’s not hanging about and Porsche 911 Turbo pace. Be still, beating heart. – LC

Have we met?

THE FIRST ZR1, based on the thirdgen Corvette back in 1989, used a LT5 V8, but it was very different to this maniacal new supercharged version. Developed by GM’s Group Lotus division (GM wholly owned the British brand from 1987-93) and built by Mercury Marine, the engine had double-overhead cams and displaced 5.7 litres. Grunt was plenty, putting out 283kW and 501Nm to send its host to 160km/h in 10.4 seconds. Although production was capped to 4000 units annually, the ZR1 never reached such popularity. – LC