The 2019 Corvette ZR1 is Very Powerful and Very Confusing–All the Specs

Chevrolet has confirmed the Corvette ZR1 will make its official debut on November 12. 

The launch of Chevrolet’s uber ‘Vette just so happened to coincide with the publication of Car and Driver’s 750th edition in December, and the entire article recently appeared in a thread on Corvette Forum. The coincidences get even better, you see, powering the new Corvette ZR1 is Chevrolet’s kinda-new supercharged LT5 V8, which promises to kick out one horsepower for every issue of C&D ever published.  

Think of the LT5 as just an LT4+. It gets a larger supercharger, a larger throttle body, a strengthened crankshaft, and a new fuel delivery system that includes both direct and port injection. Despite sharing its name with a legendary DOHC V8 built by a boat motor company, the new LT5 still pushes rods with an old-school cam-in-block design. 

The bigger blower is capable of pushing 52% more air through than the Z06’s unit, it’s also 2.9″ taller. In fact, it’s probably the kit the Z06 should have had originally to prevent the spate of embarrassing failures, however, the taller hood height now outlaws it in Europe where it violates pedestrian crash laws.

To ensure there aren’t any heat stroke episodes on track, the ZR1 gets four additional coolers spread across the car’s nose, but the coolers are responsible for most of the car’s 140 lb weight gain over the Z06. The top mounted intercooler pack actually sticks up through the hood, for a shaker-style effect.

Gear changes will happen through the Corvette’s current, and not-very-good 7-speed manual, or GM’s ubiquitous 8-speed automatic. There are rumors packaging issues conspired to keep the new 10-speed automatic off the content list, but that remains unconfirmed. 

Allegedly, the Corvette ZR1 will willingly spit flames through its new exhaust system, which is now louder because the car won’t be heading to Europe. There’s a new spring valve in the exhaust that will be slowly forced open by exhaust pressure to linearly increase loudness, instead of the all-or-nothing effect that comes from butterfly valves. 

Not all ZR1s will come with that massive rear wing, the big pedestal wing, and shin splitting front spats will come as part of the optional ZTK package, which also brings Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires and new suspension tuning. The wing offers 10 degrees of adjustability and is capable of generating some 500 lbs of downforce, as a result, Chevy actually bolted it to the rear bumper. 

But the ZR1 is an odd car. Chevrolet admits it’s offering two aero packages so someone could take it to the country club and load their golf clubs in the back, even going so far as to call it friendlier than the Z06, which team Corvette claims is the crazier experience, for real racer types. So then why did it take so long to develop the ZR1? 

Chevrolet also describes the ZR1 as a high-powered grand tourer and a have your cake and eat it too kinda car, a place for beginners to learn and feel comfortable. Which is a supremely ironic statement when describing a $120,000 Corvette capable of 60 mph in less than three seconds, running a quarter mile in under 11 seconds, along with a 210 mph top end. 

The car will be officially unveiled on Sunday, November 12 at the Dubai Motor Show, before making its North American debut at the 2017 LA Auto Show later this month.