The 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 feels like a rocket mounted by the highest bidder

The 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 feels like a rocket mounted by the highest bidder

Lately in the world of fast Chevrolets, it is the long-awaited but mysterious central motor Corvette that has caught everyone's attention. While there is still a lot we don't know, it's programmed to be the true exotic killer that ‘Vette should always have been. But where does that leave the current King of the Corvettes with a front engine: the supercharged Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 of 755 horsepower 2019?

Well, I can tell you that the ZR1 does not have the elegance or grace of the six-figure supercars with which it can compete, but it is very fast. After some hot laps around the Circuit of the Americas, I think it deserves some respect. I just want the cabin to live up to the example set by the engine.

(Full disclosure: Jalopnik was not invited to the ZR1 launch event a long time ago, but Kurt's friend here came forward and bought one. And hit him in COTA. How nice.)

What is it?


The Corvette ZR1 has been around since the C3 generation of 1969, where it served as a much stealthier package, but the C7 2019 model is the most extreme version yet.

The ZR1 variants have much more power than the standard Corvette, optimized for the enthusiast who is more worried about lap times than the retiree who likes to ride a Georgia boulevard on a Saturday night. Chevrolet gave the supercharged V8 more power over a standard Stingray or even the smaller Z06, added a complete set of wild aerodynamic improvements, reinforced brakes and hardened the suspension.

Numbers that matter

The Corvette ZR1 is mainly an update on the C7 Z06 also supercharged, with several performance additions to that already great car that had a robust supercharged V8 of 640 HP, a rigid chassis and robust brakes that can withstand a race.

The 6.2-liter supercharged V8 of the ZR1 includes 755 HP and 715 lb-ft of torque, and much of that blow is thanks to the Eaton supercharger that has a larger displacement, 2.6 liters to be exact, than some passenger car engines. .

Although the ZR1 is the baddest Vette you can buy today, it is still heavier than the Z06, Chevy says its weight is 3,560 pounds, due to all the additional liquids and cooling needs. When you want to step on the gear, Chevrolet says the ZR1 will go from 0-60 mph in 2.85 seconds on its way to a top speed of 211 mph.

Those are crazy numbers, because the car is crazy fast.

The base MSRP for the ZR1 is $ 118,900, and this ZR1 I tested reached a suggested price of $ 142,480, loaded with several options that include 3ZR premium equipment (memory seats, lumbar adjustments and booster seats, heated seats and Napa leather covered ventilation, splashes of leather touches around the interior and additional carbon fiber on the steering wheel and instrument cluster), track performance package (Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, improved track-focused suspension, a massive spoiler of the rear wing and front covers of the front splitter), and competitive carbon fiber sports seats.

Around the track

If you buy a ZR1 and don't take it to the track, you are wasting your money.

My friends from the Edge Addicts Track Rats group allowed me to tour the Circuit of the Americas, a track with which I am lucky to be familiar, and I made exceptional use of the time provided on an excessively pleasant December day.

The Corvette ZR1 has a lot of improvements centered on the track on the Z06, including doubling the number of fuel injectors, a much more aerodynamic grip and because many owners of C7 Z06 discussed heat absorption problems, Chevrolet added even more fluid and coolant parts than in the Z06 review.

Pushing a whopping 13 psi boost supercharged through the throat of the LT5, the large V8 and the massive blower and immediately draw attention while using your right foot along an empty track stretch.

Between curves 11 and 12 of COTA, down the straight three quarters of a mile, a brave driver will reach 160 mph before stepping on the brakes. The ZR1 swallows any straight portion of asphalt before testing your skill limits once you need to squeeze the brakes and turn in a corner.

Once you need to reduce the speed, the huge Brembo six-piston front calipers are pressed onto the 394mm carbon brake rotors, and the four-piston rear calipers bite the 390mm rear discs. The feedback was perfectly balanced and consistent throughout my session. The brakes turned after lap when passing speeds of over 140 mph to 40 mph on COTA turn 1 and easily over 150 before braking for turn 12.

However, you have to exercise ZR1. I found myself putting more work on the upper part of the body on the steering wheel of this car than on anything else I had driven on a track in the last two years. That large rear wing certainly seemed to help keep the rear planted through any quick sweeper, but it practically consumes any aspect of rear visibility the Corvette may have had.

GM doubling the size of the safe fuel injector helps you go faster, but shit, this car is thirsty when you run it hard. I was easily dropping a third of the 18.5 gallon tank of the ZR1 during each 25-minute session I spent on the track. EPA estimates indicate that the ZR1 gets 13/19/15 MPG in the city, highway and combined, respectively, but when it does a follow-up day, it is sinking into single-digit territory.

For crazy people like me, the Performance Data Recorder comes standard on the ZR1 (also available on Cadillac V models) and provides dozens of data points with respect to lap times, steering angle, acceleration and brake input, G loads, gear and speed selection. If you download the complementary Cosworth application, you can obtain data and analysis to review on your personal computer.

Pleasant surprises

The sense of rotation and direction is remarkably easy and predictable. The huge 285/30/19 front and 335/25/20 rear Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s definitely help the ZR1 grab and bite in the corners, and Chevrolet definitely got the updated magnetic suspension. I fully expected the ZR1 to be a little disturbed around the bumps of the Circuit of America, but the car handled its weight well even when the road got a little dangerous.

Everything that moves around COTA in the medium to low range of 2: 20 is fast, and the ZR1 is easily found in that group. The ZR1 is as fast as a McLaren 675LT here, and a couple of seconds faster than a 911 GT3 RS, which is impressive for a car that costs much, much less and comes from the brand that also brings us the Trax.

Because there is so much power under the hood, it is not difficult for an average driver to get a decent lap time on a track. If you are not trying to find your best personal record back, it is remarkably easy to drive the ZR1 quickly. GM has made this car easy to drive reasonably fast, but it must have some skills to make the most of it.

The supercharged V8 should sound rude, and the LT5 of ZR1 is no exception. The fan groans as the momentum increases, and the rumble of the escape note on the reverse is more American than a slice of apple pie with a simple Kraft on top. Paired with a PBR.

What is weak?

Although it has made great quality leaps since the bailouts, Chevrolet is not yet known for having the best fit and finish. But in a $ 140,000 car, I expected more here. You get the same type of switches, buttons and ornaments that you get in a Malibu or Traverse and I can't hear anyone making excuses for that in a halo car. Even with the 3ZR cropping option checked, interior appointments don't have much to brag about.

The Corvette Stingray base has an initial price of less than $ 60,000, and you can say that Chevrolet includes a lot of performance in that price. I would like him to do something to distinguish the ZR1 from your basic Vette inside, apart from some finishing pieces. Compared to a new Mercedes-AMG or Porsche, which you can definitely get at this price point, GM's cabin feels a bit bland.

I tilt the scale to 190 pounds, and measure 5 feet 11 inches. Competition seats may seem sporty and lightweight, but they seem to be designed for heavier drivers. I was having to prepare with the steering wheel and my left food stuck in the dead pedal to keep me in place in the most difficult corners. Harnesses are needed if you really want to remain still in these seats during a track day.

The paint finish is not excellent and, in good light, I noticed that the hood seems to have a different black tone than the rest of the body panels. The owner of this car also noticed. Making sure we weren't crazy, we looked at the yellow car of a fellow ZR1 in the COTA paddock, and his hood was also a lighter shade. I understand that Chevy gave the ZR1 a carbon fiber hood, but the paint should not look so different from one panel to another.

The hood is also much higher than the Z06 and blocks any visibility on the right front fender. It is better that you know any right vertex around a track, because there is no way you can see it from the windshield.

The owner of this ZR1 added a custom gearshift, which was a good update, and was super direct.



118,900 and more • $ 142,480 as tested


A lot of speed for what you spend, but the complete package is not perfect


755 hp • 715 LB-FT

Vette sales have been going down, and the price is somehow going up for 2019. A ZR1 will cost you about $ 150,000, and that neighborhood is occupied by the Porsche 911 GT3, Acura NSX, Mercedes-AMG GT for just a little More effective.

With those competitors, you may not get the ball performance and the low lap times you get from the ZR1, but you definitely get cars that are easier to live with when it comes to fit and finish, enjoy long term and enjoy both on and off the track.

The ZR1 is fast as hell in any condition, and it is wonderful on a race track. But it still seems that Chevrolet has failed to manufacture an elite halo car here. The central engine Corvette that we continue to listen to will have to be a much more complete package to compete with other supercars at all levels.

I imagine that many American workers at the Bowling Green, Kentucky, plant will hate me for this, but I would spend my $ 150,000 elsewhere.

(Correction: This publication was edited incorrectly to say that the ZR1 fuel injectors doubled in size, when they actually doubled the amount as originally written. The ZR1 has direct injection and secondary port injectors, the latter of which adds additional fuel under a heavy load).

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