Every time Chevrolet rolls out a , fans quickly separate into two camps. Those who own a late-model version usually devise a way to purchase the new one, and others are quick to minimalize it as just another Vette. We decided to dig through the press releases to decipher what makes the 2019 Corvette ZR1 so special, and here are the top 10 facts that will make or break your decision.
10. Keep Cool
Many Corvette owners enjoy an occasional track day. Either at the drag strip or at an autocross, keeping the fluids cool is essential. That is why engineers stuffed it with 13 radiators. The main radiator is helped by two secondary ones under each headlight. Combined with the A/C condenser, oil cooler, differential cooler, and two transmission coolers running in series, the ZR1 will be ready for a death valley rally.
It’s been reported that Chevrolet didn’t plan for anything above the current Z06, but engineers are not content to let the competition use the latest technology to make big power. Work is well underway on the 8th generation cars, so the ZR1 might actually keep the C7 around for another year. This will help them to make sure the C8 is fully “Vetted” before hitting the track.
8. New Pipes
The new LT5 engine was named to honor the 1990 ZR1. That engine was larger and more advanced than anything GM had built before, and so is the new one. With 755 horsepower on tap, the normal dual-mode exhaust was too loud. It was even banned from the holiest of holies, the ‘Ring. Spy videos show the prototypes with jerry-rigged exhaust tips aimed to the left. This was done to preserve the hearing of local wildlife and humans. With the hammer down, Chevrolet recorded 12 seconds of fire from the beast. So the ZR1 borrows the active exhaust of the CTS-V, which actively tunes how much sound the car emits
7. Two Or Three Pedals?
For the first time in ZR1 history, Chevy is offering the choice of manual or automatic transmissions. We wish the Camaro ZL1’s 10-speed would fit, but it’s simply too massive. So they took the Z06’s eight-speed automatic and beefed it up. We’re not sure who would order an automatic ZR1, any automatic bolted to this much power is living on borrowed time. Plus, the active rev-matching on the 7-speed stick will make you smile after a stressful day.
6. Downforce- 2 Flavors
To keep it glued to the pavement, buyers will have two options in aerodynamics. Standard equipment is the low wing. It offers great visibility along with a top speed over 210 mph. The big wing makes 950 lbs of downforce, at the expense of limiting your ability to put your junk in the trunk.
5. Big Blower
Every supercharged engine in the US has a blower made by Eaton Corporation. Aftermarket tuners are quick to embrace Eaton’s latest designs, and that is how some shops are making over 1,000 horsepower and stay emissions legal. Technology is a two-way street, so the aftermarket’s insistence on going bigger has allowed automakers to do the same. The 2.65-liter blower on the ZR1 moves 52% more air than the Z06, and it is 3″ taller than anything before it. A normal hood wouldn’t work, so the supercharger pokes through the hood with its own carbon fiber cover.
4. Got Intake?
To feed the big blower, the throttle body is a whopping 95mm in diameter. Let that sink in. The intake is larger than your exhaust. It is capable of ingesting 1,450 cubic feet of air per minute. That means it could probably suck reflectors from the asphalt or satellites out of orbit.
3. Widest ‘Vette Yet
Another milestone in Corvette history is the massive tires needed to keep the ZR1 glued to the road. If you opt for the ZTK performance package, you will have Michelin PS Cup 2 rubber measuring 285/30/19 front and 335/25/20 rear. A 25 series sidewall- what is the world coming to?
2. ZR1 Version 4.0
Many people remember the Z6 ZR1, it was also a supercharged 6.2 liter V8 with big power. But you might not realize that 2019 is actually the 4th generation of the ZR1. It began as a C3 option aimed at racing back in 1970. It was designed by Corvette’s Chief Engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov, who had a curious habit of including “Z” on many high-performance Chevys. His other noteworthy accomplishments are the Camaro Z28, the aluminum 427 engine (ZL1), and the first endurance racing Corvette, the 1963 Z06.
As mentioned above, the new ZR1 offers 755 horsepower. It also makes 715 lb-ft of torque across most of the tachometer. Taking a quick glance at the world’s best automotive website, we quickly get a feel for the prices of exotic cars for sale. Shameless plugs aside, the Corvette ZR1 has a starting price of $123,995. It is a fraction of the cost of competitors, and that has been Chevrolet’s goal since 1953. We wish we could spill the beans about the C8, but good things are worth the wait. Happy New Year’s, we’ll see you in 2018.
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