Revealed: 200mph plus Corvette ZR1

The internet and American car fans have been speculating about this thing for months. But it's finally real. It's finally here. This is the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1.

Why the big fuss? Because previous top-dog Corvette, the Z06, proved that American muscle doesn't have mean you can't go round corners. The Z06 has an immense level of attention to detail, built more in common with the racing version than the regular 'road car - down its carbon fibre and balsa wood floor. And it produces 505bhp from a 7.0-litre 'smallblock' V8. This car, finally officially unveiled as the new ZR1 - as opposed to 'Blue Devil', or even 'Stingray', the other names touted in rumours - is like the Z06 after it has spent months pumping iron.

At least 100bhp per litre
You can see the results in the pictures. The ZR1 is wider, lower, harder. It doesn't just look mean, it even has a skull moulded into the under-bonnet air intake. His name is Jake, incidentally, and he's making a guest appearance away from his usual gig as the racing team's logo; General Motors knows how to please its target audience - and it is not messing around. The new 6.2-litre V8 engine is hand assembled at GM's Performance Build Center using techniques more commonly associated with competition vehicles. But most important of all, it has also been fitted with a supercharger.

The sixth-generation Eaton unit, is a Roots-type positive-displacement design, said to help boost torque and power right from tickover to the 6,600rpm redline. The complete engine has been branded the 'Supercharged LS9' - almost literally, as you can see that script through the polycarbonate bonnet window as well. There is no officially confirmed power output yet (GM may even be waiting to see what the competition comes up with in response before finalising the figure). But do the sums and it is clear that the ZR1 will be pushing out at least 620bhp when it goes on sale, and perhaps even 680bhp.

200mph plus
Whatever the final power output, the ZR1 is certain to become the first production Corvette to top 200mph; despite a new close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox. Weighing only 1,519kg also means a better power-to-weight ratio than the mighty Porsche 911 GT2. Torque is expected to be around 595lb/ft, while 0-60mph will be in 'the low threes'. The alloys are 19s at the front, 20s at the back - big enough to accommodate huge 15.5-inch front and 15-inch rear carbon-ceramic brake discs. Together with enlarged brake callipers, these should provide astounding amounts of stopping power. Comforting, given the claimed 1g cornering grip generated by the track-biased magnetic adjustable suspension.

No word on pricing yet, but the ZR1 is likely to be ridiculously cheap for its performance - remember the Z06 costs just £63k which is only a few thousand more than a base 911 so expect the top dog to undercut the GT3 RS. Still, keeping the cost down means us Limeys will be able to keep on complaining about shoddy interior quality. Even while this latest Yank upstart runs circles around much, much more expensive European machinery. We really do expect it to be that good.


Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Famous Car