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2018-3-1 | Chevy New Roads Magazine

Meet the ZR1: Corvette’s Street-smart Supercar

The usual supercar sacrifices don’t apply here. Turning a stock sports car into something truly ready for the track typically starts with cutting out creature comforts in the name of reducing weight. Even the first great track-ready production Corvettes got the diet treatment. When you checked the RPO ZR-1 box in 1970, you got a 370-horsepower, high-compression, 350-cu.-in. V8 and heavy-duty transmission, suspension, and brakes, but lost the taller top gear for easier cruising and even the radio in the dash. Fast-forward to today, and there’s no reason to compromise. The proof is the baddest, fastest, most powerful production Corvette ever made: the 2019 ZR1.

 

The mission brief for this car was simple, but daunting, says Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter. Chevrolet wanted a Corvette that would be capable of both ferocious race car performance and docile everyday driving. 

 

It wanted to add, not subtract.

 

“This car represents a new performance benchmark for us,” says Juechter, who unveiled the ZR1 with Chevrolet director of design for performance cars Tom Peters in Dubai in November. “It’s the king of Corvette performance—performance among the most elite cars in the world—while also delivering daily drivability.”

 

On paper, there’s no dispute. The raw numbers almost read like typos.

 

The ZR1’s LT5 small block shares the same basic engine architecture as the power plant in the current Z06, but modifications to the ZR1’s supercharger and throttle body make this hand-assembled 6.2-liter generate 755 horsepower and 715 lb.-ft. of torque (compared to “only” 650 hp and 650 lb.-ft. for the Z06). The most powerful engine in Chevrolet’s history is good for a top speed of up to 212 miles per hour on the track.

 

That kind of thrust could make it easy to leave the pavement without some serious grip. The available ZTK Performance Package takes care of that. It adds specific chassis tuning, carbon fiber end caps on the front splitter, and an adjustable high wing mounted directly to the chassis that provides 950 pounds of downforce at top speed for Michelin® Sport Cup 2 summer-only tires. And all ZR1 models incorporate a racing-derived front underwing that makes the entire front of the ZR1 a downforce control surface.

 

Simply put, the ZR1 has limits few people who drive it will likely be able to challenge. But with the available big-brained performance traction management system keeping all that power pointed in the right direction, you’ll have good fun trying.

ZR1 is a milestone for the marque, and for some, simply owning it will be its own reward. But there’s still something to be said for actually being able to use a car day-to-day to drive to work or pick up something from the store. That’s the result of ditching heavy materials instead of creature comforts, like the available heated and vented Napa leather seating surfaces and a Bose® audio system that’s engineered to deliver crystal-clear tunes if your playlist includes more than the small block symphony under the hood.

 

Indulgences like these are right at home in ZR1 because weight is offset by the extensive use of carbon fiber. “The ZR1 has the most carbon fiber components ever in a Corvette,” says Peters. “Beautifully integrated, providing lighter weight, strength, and aesthetic that’s needed for it to be a world-class supercar.”

 

Track devotees will probably stick with the standard seven-speed manual transmission, but you can get an optional eight-speed automatic mated to paddle shifters and blend smoothly with commuter traffic—as much as that’s possible in a thundering, track-ready street car with a carbon fiber engine cover bulging from the hood.

 

The carbon fiber cap covers the massive intercooler on the top of the engine, and the hood actually cuts away to reveal it—a form of “function-driven sculpture,” Peters calls it (because of the increased size, the supercharger needed to be moved up and out of the “V” in the engine). Close the iconic forward-hinging hood around it and you can still see the top of the engine pulsate from the driver’s seat when you get on the accelerator. The four settings on the quad-tipped exhaust system let you decide just how many other drivers you want to feel your presence—from none to everybody within a quarter mile.

 

It’s fast, luxurious, technologically advanced, and it draws a crowd with its looks. The 2019 ZR1 is simply the production Corvette with the most. 

 

STORY: MATTHEW RUDY

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  • Read the vehicle Owner’s Manual for important feature limitations and information.

     

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    Read the vehicle Owner’s Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • To avoid the risk of injury, never use Recovery Hooks to tow a vehicle. For more information, see the Recovery Hooks section of your Owner's Manual.

  • Chevrolet Infotainment System functionality varies by model. Full functionality requires compatible Bluetooth and smartphone, and USB connectivity for some devices.

  • Go to my.chevrolet.com/learnAbout/bluetooth to find out which phones are compatible with the vehicle. Full Bluetooth feature functionality varies by device, model and software version.

  • Vehicle user interface is a product of Apple and its terms and privacy statements apply. Requires compatible iPhone and data plan rates apply. Apple CarPlay is a trademark of Apple Inc. Siri, iPhone and Apple Music are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

  • Vehicle user interface is a product of Google and its terms and privacy statements apply. Requires the Android Auto app on Google Play and an Android compatible smartphone running Android™ 5.0 or higher. Data plan rates apply. Android Auto is a trademark of Google LLC.

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  • Premier shown seats seven. Standard on L, LS. Available on LT.

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  • Chevrolet Infotainment System functionality varies by model. Full functionality requires compatible Bluetooth and smartphone, and USB connectivity for some devices.

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  • Always use safety belts and child restraints. Children are safer when properly secured in a rear seat in the appropriate child restraint. See the Owner’s Manual for more information. 

  • Read the vehicle Owner's Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Chevrolet Infotainment System functionality varies by model. Full functionality requires compatible Bluetooth and smartphone, and USB connectivity for some devices.

  • Chevrolet Infotainment System functionality varies by model. Full functionality requires compatible Bluetooth and smartphone, and USB connectivity for some devices. Map Coverage available in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada.

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  • Requires available 3.6L engine and Trailering Package. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the Trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow

  • Requires available 3.6L engine and Trailering Package. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the Trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow

  • Requires available 3.6L engine and Trailering Package. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the Trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • Chevy Safety Assist: Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert, Front Pedestrian Braking, Following Distance Indicator and IntelliBeam. Read the vehicle Owner’s Manual for more important feature limitations and information.

  • Vehicle user interface is a product of Apple and its terms and privacy statements apply. Requires compatible iPhone and data plan rates apply. Apple CarPlay is a trademark of Apple Inc. Siri, iPhone and Apple Music are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

  • Vehicle user interface is a product of Google and its terms and privacy statements apply. Requires the Android Auto app on Google Play and an Android compatible smartphone running Android 5.0 or higher. Data plan rates apply. Android, Android Auto, Google, Google Play and other marks are trademarks of Google LLC.

  • Read the vehicle Owner's Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Always use safety belts and child restraints. Children are safer when properly secured in a rear seat in the appropriate child restraint. See the Owner’s Manual for more information.  

  • Vehicle user interface is a product of Google and its terms and privacy statements apply. Requires the Android Auto app on Google Play and an Android compatible smartphone running Android 5.0 or higher. Data plan rates apply. Android Auto is a trademark of Google LLC.

  • Vehicle user interface is a product of Apple and its terms and privacy statements apply. Requires compatible iPhone and data plan rates apply. Apple CarPlay is a trademark of Apple Inc. Siri, iPhone and Apple Music are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

  • Always use seat belts and child restraints. Children are safer when properly secured in a rear seat in the appropriate child restraint. See your vehicle Owner’s Manual for more information.

  • Read the vehicle Owner's Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Standard on Extended Cab and 2WD Crew Cab Short Box models.

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  • Available on Extended Cab models.

  • Available on Crew Cab models.

  • Equipment from independent suppliers is not covered by the GM New Vehicle Limited Warranty. GM is not responsible for the safety or quality of independent supplier alterations.

  • Always use seat belts and child restraints.  Children are safer when properly secured in a rear seat in the appropriate child restraint.  See the Owner's Manual for more information.

  • Read the vehicles Owner's Manual for more important feature limitations and information.

  • Chevrolet Infotainment 3 System functionality varies by model. Full functionality requires compatible Bluetooth and smartphone, and USB connectivity for some devices.

  • The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price excludes destination freight charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment. Click here to see all Chevrolet vehicles' destination freight charges.

  • Includes Automatic Emergency Braking, Front Pedestrian Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert, IntelliBeam, and Following Distance Indicator. Read the vehicle Owner’s Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Vehicle user interface is a product of Apple and its terms and privacy statements apply. Requires compatible iPhone and data plan rates apply. Apple CarPlay, iPhone, Siri and Apple Music are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

  • Vehicle user interface is a product of Google and its terms and privacy statements apply. Requires the Android Auto app on Google Play and a compatible AndroidTM smartphone. Data plan rates apply. You can check which smartphones are compatible at g.co/androidauto/requirements. Android Auto is a trademark of Google LLC.

  • Read the vehicle Owner's Manual for more important feature limitations and information.

  • Chevrolet Infotainment System functionality varies by model. Full functionality requires compatible Bluetooth and smartphone, and USB connectivity for some devices.

  • Requires available Trailering Package.  Maximum trailering ratings are intended for comparison purposes only. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The trailering capacity of your specific vehicle may vary. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can trailer.

  • Safety or driver assistance features are no substitute for the driver's responsibility to operate the vehicle in a safe manner. Read the vehicle Owner's Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Standard on all Traverse trims: Chevy Safety Assist includes Automatic Emergency Braking, Front Pedestrian Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert, IntelliBeam and Following Distance Indicator. Safety or driver assistance features are no substitute for the driver's responsibility to operate the vehicle in a safe manner. Read the vehicle Owner’s Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Vehicle user interface is a product of Apple and its terms and privacy statements apply. Requires compatible iPhone and data plan rates apply. Apple CarPlay, iPhone, Siri and Apple Music are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. 

  • Vehicle user interface is a product of Google and its terms and privacy statements apply. Requires the Android Auto app on Google Play and a compatible Android smartphone. Data plan rates apply. You can check which smartphones are compatible at g.co/androidauto/requirements. Android, Google Play and Android Auto are trademarks of Google LLC.

  • Safety or driver assistance features are no substitute for the driver's responsibility to operate the vehicle in a safe manner. Read the vehicle Owner’s Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Standard on all Traverse trims: Chevy Safety Assist includes Automatic Emergency Braking, Front Pedestrian Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert, IntelliBeam and Following Distance Indicator. Safety or driver assistance features are no substitute for the driver's responsibility to operate the vehicle in a safe manner. Read the vehicle Owner’s Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Safety or driver assistance features are no substitute for the driver's responsibility to operate the vehicle in a safe manner. Read the vehicle Owner’s Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Standard on all Traverse trims: Chevy Safety Assist includes Automatic Emergency Braking, Front Pedestrian Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert, IntelliBeam and Following Distance Indicator. Safety or driver assistance features are no substitute for the driver's responsibility to operate the vehicle in a safe manner. Read the vehicle Owner’s Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Leather-appointed seating surfaces in front and second rows; third row is vinyl-covered.

  • Standard on all Traverse trims: Chevy Safety Assist includes Automatic Emergency Braking, Front Pedestrian Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert, IntelliBeam and Following Distance Indicator. Safety or driver assistance features are no substitute for the driver's responsibility to operate the vehicle in a safe manner. Read the vehicle Owner’s Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Safety or driver assistance features are no substitute for the driver's responsibility to operate the vehicle in a safe manner. Read the vehicle Owner’s Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Standard on all Traverse trims: Chevy Safety Assist includes Automatic Emergency Braking, Front Pedestrian Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert, IntelliBeam and Following Distance Indicator. Safety or driver assistance features are no substitute for the driver's responsibility to operate the vehicle in a safe manner. Read the vehicle Owner’s Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Leather-appointed seating surfaces in front and second rows; third row is vinyl-covered.

  • Chevrolet Infotainment System functionality varies by model. Full functionality requires compatible Bluetooth and smartphone, and USB connectivity for some devices.

  • Connected Navigation and Real-time Points of Interest (POI) only available on properly equipped vehicles. Requires paid plan or trial. Map coverage available in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. Visit onstar.com for details and limitations.

  • Safety or driver assistance features are no substitute for the driver's responsibility to operate the vehicle in a safe manner. Read the vehicle Owner’s Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Safety or driver assistance features are no substitute for the driver's responsibility to operate the vehicle in a safe manner. Read the vehicle Owner’s Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Standard on all Traverse trims: Chevy Safety Assist includes Automatic Emergency Braking, Front Pedestrian Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert, IntelliBeam and Following Distance Indicator. Safety or driver assistance features are no substitute for the driver's responsibility to operate the vehicle in a safe manner. Read the vehicle Owner’s Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Safety or driver assistance features are no substitute for the driver's responsibility to operate the vehicle in a safe manner. Read the vehicle Owner’s Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Vehicle user interface is a product of Google, and its terms and privacy statements apply. Requires the Android Auto app on Google Play and a compatible Android™ smartphone. Data plan rates apply. You can check which smartphones are compatible at g.co/androidauto/requirements. Android Auto is a trademark of Google LLC.

  • The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price excludes destination freight charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment. Click here to see all Chevrolet vehicles’ destination freight charges.

  • Always use seat belts and child restraints. Children are safer when properly secured in a rear seat in the appropriate child restraint. See your vehicle Owner’s Manual for more information.

  • Chevrolet Infotainment System functionality varies by model. Full functionality requires compatible Bluetooth and smartphone, and USB connectivity for some devices.

  • Safety or driver assistance features are no substitute for the driver's responsibility to operate the vehicle in a safe manner. Read the vehicle Owner's Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Do not use summer-only tires in winter conditions, as it would adversely affect vehicle safety, performance and durability. Use only GM-approved tire and wheel combinations. Unapproved combinations may change the vehicle’s performance characteristics. For important tire and wheel information, go to my.chevrolet.com/learnAbout/chevrolettires or see your dealer.

  • Chevrolet Infotainment System functionality varies by model. Full functionality requires compatible Bluetooth and smartphone, and USB connectivity for some devices.

  • Safety or driver assistance features are no substitute for the driver’s responsibility to operate the vehicle in a safe manner. Read the vehicle Owner’s Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Chevrolet Infotainment System functionality varies by model. Full functionality requires compatible Bluetooth and smartphone, and USB connectivity for some devices. Connected Navigation and Real-time Points of Interest (POI) only available on properly equipped vehicles. Requires paid plan or trial. Map coverage available in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. Visit onstar.com for details and limitations.

  • The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price excludes destination freight charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment. Click here to see all Chevrolet vehicles’ destination freight charge.

  • Safety or driver assistance features are no substitute for the driver’s responsibility to operate the vehicle in a safe manner.  Read the vehicle’s Owner’s Manual for important feature limitations and information. Some camera views require available accessory camera and installation.  Not compatible with all trailers.  See your dealer for details.

  • Safety or driver assistance features are no substitute for the driver’s responsibility to operate the vehicle in a safe manner. Read the vehicle’s owner’s manual for more important feature limitations and information.

  • Standard on Extended Cab and 2WD Crew Cab Short Box models.

  • Standard on 2WD Crew Cab Long Box and 4WD Crew Cab models.

  • Available on Extended Cab models.

  • Available on Crew Cab models.

  • The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price excludes destination freight charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment. Click here to see all Chevrolet vehicles' destination freight charges.

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