On Sale: Summer 2008
Expected Pricing: About $100,000
The project hasn't exactly been a mystery. Chevrolet has been working on a high-end Corvette to slot above the Z06 as GM's hottest sports car for some time. The car has been known as the Blue Devil and the Corvette SS, but when it arrives in dealers this summer it will be the next incarnation of the ZR1.
Power will be phenomenal. GM is targeting at least 620 horsepower and 595 pound-feet of torque. The ZR1 will be capable of reaching 200 mph and cornering at better than 1 g of lateral grip.
The heart of the beast will be a supercharged version of GM's 6.2-liter V8 known as LS9. It will be the first ever supercharger in a Corvette. While the 1990-95 Corvette ZR1 used a dual-overhead cam, 32-valve V8, this engine will feature overhead valves and two valves per cylinder. The LS9's Eaton Roots-type supercharger will provide 10.5 pounds of boost and use a liquid-to-air charge intercooler. Like the Corvette Z06, the ZR1 will have a dry sump oiling system that allows for a lower center of gravity. The engine will be mated to a new Tremec six-speed manual transmission with a twin-disc clutch to better handle the LS9's torque output.
The ZR1's suspension will be much the same as in other Corvettes, but will feature thicker front and rear stabilizer bars and springs that will be slightly softer than those of the Z06. GM's Magnetic Selective Ride Control (MSRC) will be standard. MSRC is a real-time damping system that uses electronically controlled shocks filled with a fluid containing minute iron particles. When subjected to a magnetic charge, the iron particles align to provide varying degrees of damping resistance.
The brakes also represent a first. The ZR1 will use carbon ceramic rotors. Measuring 15.5 inches in diameter up front and 15 inches in the rear, the rotors will be vented and cross-drilled. GM says they save 11 pounds at each corner compared to cast iron rotors. Six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers will be used; the front brake pads will be twice the size of those found on the Z06.
Like the Z06, the ZR1 will be offered in a hatchback body style with a fixed top. The front fenders, hood, roof panel, roof bow, front fascia splitter, and rocker moldings will be made of carbon fiber. All except the top of the hood will be exposed-weave carbon fiber protected by a clear coat. The fenders will have dual ports on each side instead of the single port design of other Corvettes. The hood will have a clear polycarbonate window to show off the intercooler, which will be adorned with "LS9 SUPERCHARGED" lettering. The ZR1 will be offered in seven colors: Black, Velocity Yellow Tintcoat, Victory Red, Atomic Orange Metallic, Jetstream Blue Metallic, Blade Silver Metallic, and Cyber Gray Metallic.
Expect pricing to approach $100,000.
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