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Chevrolet Ups the Ante with the 2019 Corvette ZR1

Big wing and even bigger power figures

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We’ve been hearing rumors of the ZR1 name making another appearance and, as Chevrolet announced in Dubai yesterday, the rumors are true. Like the C6 ZR1, the name of the game for the 2019 C7 Corvette ZR1 is more power—a lot more power.

Chevrolet is proving the capabilities of the “new” LT platform over and over again. First it made 450 horsepower in its LT1 naturally-aspirated form, then with a supercharger the LT4 squeezed out another 200 horses. Now the big number is 755 hp in the new LT5, but unlike its namesake, this LT5 doesn’t achieve the added power via double-overhead cams. Instead, they bolted on an even bigger supercharger—by 52 percent—than the one on the LT4. But, like you’ve probably heard, you can only eke out so much power from the new directed-injected LT engines because of the limited injector size. So the workaround? Chevrolet developed a secondary port injection system to feed the engine all the fuel it will need which is not unlike what we’ve seen in various big-power tuning shops. If Chevy is happy pushing out 755 hp and 715 lb-ft of torque through the new LT5, we can’t wait to see how far it will be pushed in the aftermarket!

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ZR1s of the past were never offered with an automatic transmission but that’s not the case anymore. Chevrolet decided to give owners the option of either a seven-speed manual gearbox or the paddle-shifted eight-speed. While official acceleration numbers have yet to be seen, we’re guessing the auto will yield slightly quicker zero to sixty and quarter-mile times than the manual. So whether or not Chevy’s breaking of the manual-only ZR1 tradition is worthwhile is yet to be seen.

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If you’ve seen the photos, you’ll have noticed the addition of some pretty serious aerodynamic bits. Like the C7 Z06, there are a few aero options when you go to order your ZR1. The base car comes with a rear Low Wing which provides the highest top speed—a stunning 210 mph—while still producing 70 percent more downforce than the base aero you get on a Z06. The second option is the High Wing which Chevrolet estimates can produce a whopping 950 pounds of downforce. Both wings are tied directly into the car’s chassis which increases stability and strength—a design seen on the C7.R racecar. The high wing will be part of the ZTK Performance Package which also includes more carbon fiber, a front splitter, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 summer-only tires and specific chassis tuning. All ZR1s come with a Chevy-first and race-inspired “underwing” which also enhances downforce.

The latest supercar-challenging Corvette will be going on sale sometime next spring and while we don’t know how much it’ll cost, we’re willing to bet it’ll be well north of $100k. Better start saving!

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Photographs courtesy of Chevrolet

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