2009 Corvette ZR1 - Long Live The King

Walt Thurn Jun 1, 2008 0 Comment(s)
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Even with the hood closed, the ZR1 leaves no doubt as to what lurks inthe engine bay.

The LS7's dry-sump oiling system was modified as well. "We put a secondlittle tank on the side, so in high-g maneuvers we do not uncover thepickup tube in the main tank," Winegarden explained. "As Tadge makesthis vehicle more capable, he does confront us with more oil-handlingchallenges. This extra tank allows the ZR1 to use all of its power in ahard corner.

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When it comes to bodywork, the differences between the Z06 and the ZR1are subtle. Notice the carbon-fiber roof and rocker panels. Newfrontfender vents, wheels, and a rear spoiler complete the look.

"One of the requirements that comes from the Corvette team is theability to run 24 hours on a race course. We first did this with the C5Z06 program. Tadge and his team took the ZR1 to the track, and itsuccessfully passed the 24-hour test."

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This rear view of the LS9 shows a cutaway of the blower and the twinintercoolers. The engine uses a deep-dish piston mounted on titaniumrods.

Asked about the decision to revive the car's familiar moniker, Juechterexplained, "We played around with a lot of different names. We wanted torespect the heritage of the car. If you look at the original ZR-1, ithad the best of everything-ride control, the most-powerful engine, andall of the bells and whistles we could offer. So, when we looked back atour heritage, the closest spiritual ancestor to our new car was theZR-1.

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The LS9 features a new, 11-rib serpentine belt and an Eaton twin-screwsupercharger that sits below the intercooler.

"Just like [with] the Z06-the closest spiritual ancestor to that car wasthe original '63 Z06, which was a lean, track-oriented,light-as-possible, raceoriented car. But if you had brought out a Z06 in1973, people would have wondered why, because the original car was adisaster commercially. People seem to have the same view about this newcar. However, if you go back and read the original [ZR-1's] pressreviews, they were over the top. We think this new car will get the samerave reviews, which will help enhance the whole Corvette brand."

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The ZR1 is fitted with a full-deck spoiler that was designed in a windtunnel.

Our interview concluded, we thanked Juechter and moved out of the way asthe ZR1 was driven to another location on the show floor. The exhaustwas noticeably louder than the Z06's, and no supercharger whistle wasevident. We'll have to wait until later in the year for a testdrive, butgiven the awed expressions on the faces of onlookers as it rumbled away,it was clear that the new Corvette flagship had already entered thepublic consciousness as a genuine exotic.

For now, it's safe to say that the '09 ZR1 is a worthy successor to theoriginal-and more than deserving of the unofficial honorific "King ofthe Hill."

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