First a little history: The ZR1 badge (legend has it the ZR stands for Zora — as in Arkus-Duntov — Racer) was first seen on C3 Corvettes in 1970. C4-based ZR1s came in 1990 with Mercury Marine-built V8s under the hood producing a lofty (at the time) 375 hp. Then in 2009 came the C6-based car, its V8 cranking out 638 hp, good enough to make it the first production Corvette to hit 200+ mph.
Bringing us to today’s. Variable valve timing, the Eaton supercharger, bigger intercoolers and retuned direct injection all contribute to the power boost. The pushrod V8’s 755 hp makes it among the world’s most-powerful production cars: No McLaren or AMG produces that kind of oomph. The Ferrari SuperFast we recently drove in Italy has 769 hp, but that’s about it as far as mainstream cars go. Even Lamborghinis are runners up. We’ve seen spy videos of ZR1 engineers tooling around alongside Hellcats, but pffft, it has a mere 707 hp. Transmission choices by the way are a seven-speed Tremec manual transmission or GM’s eight-speed automatic. Chevrolet isn’t giving performance numbers yet but with that much power we just have to be looking at 60 mph in less than 3.0 seconds and a 210+ mph top speed.
Suspension is basically the Z06’s magnetorheological shock set up retuned to handle the power and the downforce, while the brakes are ceramic Brembos.
ZR1s arrive in dealerships this spring with prices coming closer to launch. Based on how much previous ZR1s cost we’re guessing two to three thousand a year are coming with about a $130,00 base sticker. Chevy dealers already have fat deposits aplenty. With the Viper done the ZR1, coming as both a coupe and convertible, could be the king of hill in front-engine production cars. A fitting end to what might just be the front-engine Corvette’s swan song.