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2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 First Drive: Keep Your Cool?

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Wisdom, Justice, moderation. These three words are the motto of the state of Georgia, where General Motors gave us our first crack on the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, the strongest Vette ever created by the Bow Tie brand. The Z06 is already crazy with 650 horsepower, so we have to ask ourselves: Is there a sense of wisdom or moderation if you give the C7 ZR1 more than 700 hp?

Yes, you read that correctly. The big and sparkling ZR1 catapults the Corvette into the exclusive group of cars that deliver at least 700 hp, and not just under the guidance. The 2019 Corvette ZR1 is equipped with 755 hp and not only surpasses the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, but also the McLaren 720S, the Lamborghini Aventador S, the Ferrari 488 Pista and the Porsche 911 GT2 RS. Torque is rated at a thunderous 715 lb-ft. This puts the ZR1 at 105 hp and 65 lb-ft ahead of the Z06, while outperforming the LS9-powered C6 ZR1 with 117 hp and 111 lb-ft. In short, the ZR1 delivers a right foot of American justice.

Before the chauffeurs started on a clear, perfect day at Road Atlanta, they led us through a series of track presentations to train us on what makes up the ZR1. We learn that the ZR1's LT5 engine essentially begins as the Corvette Z06's LT4 6.2-liter V-8 supercharger, and revises with stronger innards and a new 2.65-liter Eaton TVS-Roots supercharger becomes. The larger blower has a whopping 52 percent more displacement than the LT4. Immense power requires immense amounts of fuel. Therefore, the LT5 offers a port injection to complement the existing direct injection, a first for General Motors. And the system for deactivating the fuel nipple cylinder used in other Corvettes? Banned from the ZR1

After more presentations on brakes, tires, aerodynamics , and design, it's finally time to drive. Chevy guides us wisely to Corvette Grand Sports to familiarize himself with the 12 corners of Road Atlanta. After making some fast-paced warm-ups in the unbeaten Vette, we're back in the pit lane to find a row of rumbling ZR1s lined up and ready for lead follow sessions. It's time to meet the beast. Initially, the experience of the driver's seat of the ZR1 is not significantly different from that of a regular stingray. The feeling of the cabin is familiar, as well as all switchgear and materials. The view from the windshield is in order despite the large loader bulge, which protrudes from the hood. The high wing is hardly noticeable from the rearview mirror.

"The ZR1 will accelerate much faster," our driver warned us through our walkie-talkies. "They come from the Grand Sport, so basically you're gaining more than 200 horsepower, it's a monster, so please wait."

He was not kidding. The first round with the ZR1 was a blur, mostly I recalibrated my right foot to be more careful with the go pedal. Fortunately, Road Atlanta's long tarmac after Turn 7 proved to be a perfect place to unleash the fury of the LT5. Reaching 100 miles per hour in the ZR1 happens quickly. At 140 mph, the LT5 still pulls hard, and the exhaust gas at full throttle is alarmingly loud. Our main driver is in a Z06 and hovering at 150 mph long before the breakpoint, but the ZR1 could have easily reached 160 mph if we slowed down later. Chevy claims a 0-60 time as fast as 2.9 seconds, and we see no reason to doubt that number.

As we return to this rear straight and its dramatic plunge into the braking zone, the ZR1 presents another of its strengths-stopping. There is a lot of bite and the pedal feel is excellent. We have not seen any signs of fading, which has helped us attack the 12 corners of Road Atlanta with more speed and confidence. The ZR1 Brembo carbon ceramic brake system is similar to the Z06, but has improved front rotors that absorb more heat. The same applies to the front brake pads

As our group becomes more familiar with the track, we begin to attack Turn 4 and the Esses at higher speeds. The fast steering of the Corvette shines on this track as well as the enormous grip of the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2, which is part of the optional ZTK performance package. (Pilot Super Sports is standard.) The tires P285 / 30ZR19 front and P335 / 25ZR20 rear are the same size as the Z06; However, the 10.5-inch wide front wheel of the ZR1 is half an inch wider than the Z06 to improve cornering stiffness.

As the sunset approaches, journalists cycle faster through lap times, giving the ZR1 little time to rest. Every test car stayed cool. ZR1 temp management was a priority for the Corvette engineers, and their care seems to have paid off. The radiator grille and front bumper support have been redesigned to increase airflow to the engine by 41 percent. There are now a total of 13 heat exchangers (12 with the seven-speed manual), four more than on a Z06. Chevy also notes that the LT5 blower rotates at a maximum of 15,860 rpm (about 5,000 rpm slower than the LT4) and the revised intercooler emits twice as much heat as the LT4.

Most laps were made with the Performance Traction Management system set to Sport 1 or 2, which provided just enough nanny intervention to keep us out of trouble without being overly intrusive. Despite the added weight in front of the larger compressor and the cooling hardware, the ZR1 felt remarkably balanced by the relatively fast turns 1 and 10. PTM (together with the electronic limited slip differential) has undoubtedly made its impact here.

How is the ZR1 without the nannies? Coincidentally, the development team of Corvette engaged Motor Trend 's pro racer Randy Pobst for his contribution to the ZR1 ahead of the media campaign. He told us some of his traction-off observations, including how the rear tires struggle for power under the grip – a common mistake he had with the C7 Corvette. "It's a little unconventional, especially with the slower and sharper turns," he noted. Without the safety net of PTM, you really have to resist the urge to go too fast and too aggressively into the gas, no matter if you are coming out of a bend or driving straight ahead.

Pobst was a fan of the automatic's quick and gentle gear shifts, saying it seemed more prudent than the manual-trim car. He gave high marks to the magnetorheological damper calibrations of the ZR1, which seemed very similar to the Z06 specifications (with the Z07 performance package).

"The best corners for the ZR1 were the fastest, showing the effectiveness of the considerable downforce," noted Pobst. "And great brakes – Chevrolet really knows how to brake."

The ZR1 is already rolling into customers' garages, which will not be disappointed by its $ 122,095 bid for the coupe and $ 126,095 for the convertible. That's $ 30,515 more expensive than a comparable Corvette Z06 with the Z07 package. Keep in mind that cars that match the performance and performance of the ZR1 are easily priced twice or even three times as much. The 720S, for example, starts at around $ 290,000, while the Aventador S blows over $ 400,000. The ZR1 is more daring and wilder than these polished Europeans, but most Corvette fanatics would not want it otherwise.

A Big Side of the Wings

If you plan to put your ZR1 on track (and I hope many of you do), then choosing the ZTK Performance Package is a breeze. And at $ 2,995, it's a relative bargain. In addition to the more adhesive Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires and increased suspension rates, you get a full Aero kit that lets you place the ZR1 on fast straights and turns.

The high rear wing (officially called Track Track) steals much of the headlights, but the front underwing is just as important. The front underwing made of carbon fiber sits flush with the chassis and thus provides for downforce, but no resistance. The manually adjustable carbon rear wing is bolted to the frame and works with the rear spoiler. Combined, the rear and front wings offer 950 pounds of downforce at 202 mph (the top speed for high-wing ZR1s). Chevy also made a great effort to give style to the rear wing by imitating design features of the C7's wing.

If the speed of the straight line is more your thing then you need the low "road wing". The Corvette took advantage of the street wing, as they reached the top speed of 212 km / h on a slope in Papenburg.

2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
BASE PRICE $ 122,095- $ 126,095
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front engine, RWD, 2-pass, 2-door, convertible
ENGINE 6.2 L / 755 -hp / 715-lb-ft supercharged OHV 16-valve V-8
TRANSMISSION 7-speed manual, 8-speed car
CURB WEIGHT (F / R DIST) 3,600 – 3650 lb (mfr)
WHEELBASE 106.7 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 179.8 x 77.4 x 48.5-48.7
0-60 MPH [19659135] 2.8-3.0 sec ( MT est)
EPA CITY / HWY / COOL FUEL ECON 12-13 / 19-20 / 15 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY / HWY 259-281 / 165-177 kWh / 100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.26-1.35 lb / mile
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