The 2019 Corvette ZR1 is the fastest Corvette ever made, and with an MSRP of $ 121,995, it is also the costliest Corvette ever made. Now, is the ZR1 well worth the cash, and might it sustain with supercars of the modern-day?
Corvette ZR1 Engine and Transmission
Under the massive hood of the ZR1 is a 6.2 liter supercharged V8 dubbed the LT 5.
It’s exceptionally comparable in structure to the ZO6’s LT. However, the blower is 52 % bigger.
The brand new 6.2-liter blower was massive, so they utterly redesign the hood to suit it. To maintain the quantity of gas required at a full load, ZR1 has direct injection to complement it with port injection. The result’s an enormous 755 horsepower, 715 pound-feet of torque, and a max speed of 212 mph.
If you equip your ZR1 with the optional ZTK package, you’ll get Pilot Sport cup 2’s instead of pilot SuperSports for more grip. You also get a retuned magnetic ride suspension with 30% higher spring rates in the front and 13% higher spring rates in the rear.
It also gives you a massive carbon fiber front splitter and the higher carbon fiber rear wing, generating up to 950 pounds of downforce at its new top speed of 202 mph. Note the difference of 10 mph because of the extra drag caused by the downforce.
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The ZR1 has two transmission options, a 7-speed manual fitted and an 8-speed automatic.
A lot of people have been referencing the seven minutes and 12 second Nurburgring lap time. The ZR1 did set a 7:12 Nurburgring time that would be pretty embarrassing because the new generation GT3 RS with 235 less horsepower than the ZR1 just did it at 6:56.
However, that is not the case for the ZR1 due to recorded unofficially by bystanders on the roadside with personal measuring equipment.
There’s no way to know if there was traffic, raining, or snowing on the other side of the track. They were testing the ZR1 setting benchmarks, and they weren’t going all-out for the lap time.
Considering the new Viper ACR was able to do it in the low seven minutes, you’ll believe if the ZR1 is undoubtedly capable of a sub-seven-minute Nurburgring lap time.
You have a newly designed quad-tip exhaust that makes ZR1 the loudest Corvette ever made. When the exhaust is heated, and up to temperature, it shoots massive blue flames under full load.
It’s not the kind of flames where you accelerate and let off the gas, and then it shoots a flash for a couple of seconds. It’s different because when you’re flat out in the ZR1, it fires a blue flame the entire time you’re on the gas like some rocket ship.
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You’ll notice the wing is a little bit small for the ultimate track Corvette because it’s one of two downforce options that Chevy calls the “low wing.”
The other one is the high wing, which produces 60% more downforce than the present ZO6 with the same drag levels, and it’s also fully adjustable up to 5 degrees.
If you look at the rear window on the ZR1, it’s made up of a ton of tiny Corvette logos that forms a beautiful gradient. But did they have to do that in the rear window? No! But it is pretty cool.
The front fascia on the ZR1 has three air intakes instead of one. That helps feed air over the newly added radiators.
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There are four additional radiators over the ZO6 for a total of thirteen heat exchangers, and that’s three more than a Bugatti Chiron has.
The cooling was a significant issue on the ZO6 when it was first released, but Chevy didn’t want to make the same mistake again.
The previous generation ZR1 featured a clear polycarbonate window in the hood so that you could see the supercharger. But they didn’t do that with the new ZR1 because the powertrain sits 3-inches higher than any other Corvette.
As an engineering challenge, developing a hood that fits over the supercharger and doesn’t completely obstruct the driver’s view was quite tricky.
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On the side of the ZR1, you’ll notice the massive wheel arches, half an inch wider than the ZO6 to help incorporate the full 10.5-inch front wheel, 285 section tires on the front, 335’s outback with Michelin pilot SuperSports is enough to tame 755 horsepower.
The side profile of the ZR1 looks very similar to the ZO6 but minus the large carbon fiber vent on the side.
2019 Corvette ZR1 Interior
The interior of the ZR1 feels very similar to ZO6. It’s familiar yet still upscale and classy. You’ve got a plethora of carbon fiber, Alcantara leather, and you can tell that Chevy considered criticism with the C6 generation as they’ve radically improved the interior for the C7.
There are two trim options for the interior of the ZR1. You have the 1ZR package and the 3ZR package. The 3Zr being the more expensive scale version. It comes with heated and ventilated seats, a custom leather interior, and a ten-speaker Bose sound system.
Even you got a camera in the front that allows you to see exactly where the curb is so that you don’t smash the front bumper of your ZR1 into a curb. It also comes with PDR, a standard, and a few other options as well.
With the 3ZR package, you also get 11 interior color choices instead of just one in the base package, and you have tons of space in the back like all Corvettes.
The ZR1 is fitted with the optional competition seats, they grip you in place a lot better, and they look a lot nicer than the standard GT seats.
The Cargo Space
You’ll love the fact that ZR1 is a full-fledged supercar, yet you can also carry around a lot of luggage. You have 15 cubic feet of space. Let’s compare to the GT3 RS, another car close to ZR1 in its competition on the track. The GT3 RS only has 4.4 cubic feet of space, not even close to ZR1.
How to describe the driving experience of the ZR1 with one word? Brutal! It’s the sound or the acceleration, and everything about the ZR1 is intense and raw.
Standard on the ZR1 is a magnetic ride suspension that scans the road every single millisecond and can make corrections in as little as 15 milliseconds to ensure the suspension is set up optimally for the conditions ahead.
You have three different driving modes in the ZR1 that can be selected via a toggle in the center area. You’ve got “tour”, “sport”, and “track” mode. There used to be two additional modes, “wet” and “eco,” on the ZO66, but you don’t need that on the ZR1.
There are also four different exhaust settings: Tour, Sport, Track, and stealth mode. The driving modes are customizable, changing the throttle response, steering effort, and suspension layout, but the actual dash display is customizable. You’re able to link them or make it independent of what mode you’re select.
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The track mode has a lovely horizontal display where the tachometer revs this way. The rest looked like standard circular tachometers. There’s a brilliant heads-up display that has three different settings with varying amounts of information from what gear you’re in, rpm, as well as speed. You’ll like the track setting with all the performance data on that.
If you are having driven a ton of automatic ZO6, they have a lackluster paddle response. When you leave it in automatic mode, sure, it up-shifts and down-shifts pretty quick. But having a car and that level of performance, when you click the paddle, there’s a significant delay in down-shifts, which is just disappointing.
So, no matter what, you should get your ZR1 with a manual. Sure it’s 755 horsepower and rear-wheel drive, but the manual is a handful. You might be a little slower in the quarter-mile and around the track than the automatic-equipped car, but there’s no denying it’s a heck of a lot more fun.
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You might notice on the steering wheel itself if there are paddles mounted behind it. But what the pedals do if you in a manual car? Well, both of them activate automatic rev-matching.
The steering feels in the ZR1 are fantastic. It’s nice and heavy. It feels precise and direct, making the ZR1 feel agile and easy to dance around the track.
It set the Virginia International Raceway lap record going around the track 1.4 seconds faster than the new Ford GT. That’s a tremendous victory for Chevy, especially considering the Ford GT with options is closer to $500,000 or four times more than a ZR1, and this car is faster in every measurable statistic.
What about acceleration statistics? Well, as you’d imagine, with the car that weighs 3,500 pounds, 755 horsepower, they’re pretty crazy. 0-60 happens in a face-ripping 2.85 seconds and the quarter-mile in 10.6 at 134 mph, which is high speed. How does that compare to its more expensive foreign rivals? Well, the Ferrari 488 does 0-60 in 2.7 seconds a little bit faster, and it does the quarter-mile in an identical 10.6 at 135 mph.
What’s insane is the ZR1 offered in convertible form? If you live in California, you want limitless headroom, and the weather isn’t a concern. You can get it in a convertible ZR1, and the top can retract at speeds up to 30 mph.
Does it make sense to get a full-fledged track performance monster as a convertible? Not necessarily, but some people might want that.
Although it’s nothing new, another cool feature is the Performance Data Recorder (PDR), which comes standard with the 3zr package. That gives you the ability to record lap times with data, audio, and a visual through a camera mounted on the back of the rear-view mirror.
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There’s also a dedicated interior microphone for the PDR system as well, but you’ll love the valet mode. When you put the PDR system in valet mode, it records all around in the front of the car, and you can see what’s happening outside, and it also records the audio inside.
2019 Corvette ZR1 is just an incredible machine, and this is like the most potent production car you can buy with a manual transmission. The only potential vehicle that could have more power than this is the new GT500. But you’d rather have this one because you can lap a track and go crazy fast in a straight line.
Ryan Daniel is a car enthusiast, and he has years of experience in the automotive field as an engineer. Now he is also active as an automobile blogger and member of the auto community.