2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 unveiled
After years of speculation, spy photos, and rumors, General Motors has finally revealed its 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, which will be on display at the Detroit auto show in January. As expected, the ZR1 is the most powerful and most expensive Corvette model ever.
An all-new LS9 motor produces 620 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 595 pound-feet of torque at 4000 rpm. Delivering 100 horsepower per liter, the supercharged 6.2-liter V8 is mated to a close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox with a new high-capacity clutch designed for the increased power. The twin-disc 260mm design provides plenty of clamping power, while maintaining a relatively easy clutch action.
GM has not disclosed specific performance numbers, but the company admits a top speed of 200 mph is very likely. In terms of acceleration, the ZR1 will most definitely beat its Z06 counterpart, thanks to a 115-horsepower output advantage. Since the Z06 rockets to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds, it's a safe bet the ZR1 will be much closer to the 3.0 mark. Final numbers will be announced in March 2008.
"It all boils down to the power-to-weight ratio and the ZR1’s is exceptional," said Chevy's Ed Peper. "Better than the Porsche 911 GT2, the Ferrari 599 and even the Lamborghini LP640. In fact, the ZR1 is expected to be the first production Corvette to achieve a top speed of at least 200 mph."
GM used the Z06 chassis as a starting point, but further tuned the front and rear independent suspension to work with the ZR1's ultra-wide tires for increased grip. According to GM, the car achieves 1g cornering grip.
Exotic looks, exotic materials
The use of carbon fiber is pretty extensive throughout the ZR1. The wider fenders are made of the material, as are the hood, roof panel, roof bow, front fascia splitter and rocker moldings.
The roof and front fascia splitter have a raw carbon fiber appearance with a protective clear coat. The hood is painted like the rest of the car, but the underside is exposed carbon-fiber-weave for increased novelty.
Another standout feature of the hood is a clear polycarbonate "window" that provides a view of the top of the engine’s intercooler, with embossed "LS9 Supercharged" lettering.
Brakes, tires, and wheels
The ZR1 has the largest wheels ever of any production Corvette — not just in diameter, but in width also. The rims measure 20 inches in rear diameter and 19 inches up front. Rear width is a whopping 12 inches, while the front wheels are nearly as massive at 10 inches of width.
In terms of wheel finish, a bright silver paint coat is standard and a chrome version is optional.
The matching Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tires measure P285/30ZR19 in front and P335/25ZR20 in the rear. While Michelin's PS2 tires are offered on many vehicles, these were engineered specifically for the ZR1, GM says.
The car's braking system features carbon-ceramic rotors measuring 15.5 inches up front and 15 inches at the rear. GM says the rotors are so durable they should not requiring replacement for the life of the vehicle.
Squeezing the dics are six-piston front calipers and four-piston rear calipers, painted in ZR1-exclusive blue.
The ZR1 comes with GM's Magnetic Selective Ride Control (MSRC) suspension system. The MSRC shocks are automatically adjusted based on driving conditions and vehicle dynamics (cornering, braking, etc) for optimal handling. The system is adjusted every milisecond to provide sharp handling during spirited driving, and a smooth ride while cruising.
While the ZR1 is overall a more aggressive sports car than the Z06, it is actually less harsh over bumps, thanks to the MSRC technology. “The damping control of MSRC allowed for front and rear springs that have a slightly lower rate than the Z06, which enhances the car’s ride quality,” said Tadge Juechter, Corvette chief engineer.
Optional premium interior features
There is very little optional equipment on the ZR1. Aside from the aforementioned chrome wheels, the only other optional equipment is a premium interior package. The kit includes power-adjustable leather-trimmed sport seats, leather-wrapped interior elements (including the dashboard), a navigation system, and Bluetooth connectivity. The interior leather treatments are available in four colors.