First Look: Chevy Lifts Veil Off the Corvette ZR1 in Dubai

The “King Kong” Corvette is the fastest, most powerful version ever…but more is in store.

by on Nov.13, 2017

At 755 hp and with a top speed of 755, the 2019 ZR1 is the fastest, most powerful Corvette ever.

The Corvette rumor mill has been buzzing at an intense pace in recent months, with something big expected to come out before the end of the year. And so it has. Though the big news isn’t the long-awaited, mid-engine Vette, the C7 variant making its debut at the Dubai Motor Show is the fastest and most powerful Corvette ever.

The 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 comes as close as ever to giving foreign supercar brands like Aston Martin, Ferrari and Lamborghini a real run for the money – and, indeed, at $130,000, this 755 horsepower King Kong Corvette is a veritable bargain.

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“Its unprecedented performance puts all other global supercars on notice that the ZR1 is back,” said Mark Reuss, executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain, during the ZR1’s Dubai, Dubai Debut.

Why Dubai? Well, it’s not just an oasis in the middle of some of the world’s largest desert terrain, the show has become a mecca for performance models and performance car fans. Among other models debuting in Dubai is the truly jaw-dropping and neck-snapping Devel Sixteen, a hand-built monster delivering 5,000 horsepower and topping out somewhere north of 310 miles per hour.

(Click Here to check out the Devel Sixteen.)

2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 - Dubai Debut

Okay, so the Corvette ZR1 isn’t in that territory. Neither is the Bugatti Chiron, nor the new Hennessey Venom F5, for that matter. But Chevrolet has nothing to apologize for when it comes to what chief designer Tom Peters is calling “a beautiful beast.”

Set to go on sale next spring, the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 makes a big leap from the current top-performing version of the C7 line, the 650 hp Z06. Its supercharged 6.2-liter LT5 V-8 churns out a solid 755 hp and 715 pound-feet of torque.

By the numbers, Chevy is hinting at a 0-60 time in the high two second range and the quarter mile in the mid-10s. Not quite Dodge Demon numbers, but this beast isn’t designed primarily for the drag strip. It’s said to be a real road course performer, and its top speed of 210 mph blows away anything out of the domestic stable save for the Ford GT, rated at 216 mph.

The LT5 is an impressive and versatile piece of engineering, and Chevy had reason to be proud of what it delivered with the Z06, but it is seriously upping its game for the ZR1. Its 2.65-liter Eaton supercharger, for one thing, is 52% bigger than the blower box on the Z06. The eight-banger also gets a new dual direct/port injection system that both enhances performance and delivers a cleaner burn. These days, you can’t think about acceleration without worrying about fuel economy and emissions.

Chevy offers ZR1 buyers a standard wing, but a track-adjustable High Wing is also available.

The block itself adopts such performance-enhancing touches as dry sump lubrication and an upgraded camshaft. As you’d expect, the system generates massive amounts of heat, so there are four separate radiators and 13 total heat-exchange units.

The big V-8, meanwhile, is paired with either a seven-speed manual gearbox or – for the first time on a ZR1 – an eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters. (The 10-speed in the Stingray and Z06 simply couldn’t fit.)

Visually, you’re not going to have trouble telling theZR1 apart from a Z06, never mind the base Stingray. There’s that massive new wing, for one thing. Make that “wings.” There’s a fair bit of customization a buyer can opt for, and in standard configuration the King Kong Corvette comes with a fixed low wing that increases downforce about 70% over the Z06 wing.

With the optional ZTK performance package you get a High Wing that that can be adjusted by up to 5 degrees for individual tracks. It generates a maximum 950 pounds of downforce. Both wings are tied to the ZR1 chassis, much like the C7.R race car, to ensure maximum stability. With or without the ZTK there’s a first-ever front underwing, as well.

The hood drops the clear panel used to show off the supercharger on the last-gen ZR1.

Another quick giveaway is the ZR1’s carbon fiber hood that features that helps cover an engine three inches taller than what’s powering the Z06. The nose of the ZR1, meanwhile, has been heavily redesigned to provide additional airflow for the engine and cooling systems.

(Live from Tokyo! Click Here for TDB coverage of the biennial auto show.)

As for the suspension, the 3524-pound performance monster gets a beefed-up version of the magnetic ride control system found on other C7 models. It relies on a continuously variable damping technology based on magnetorheological fluids, a system so precise and solid even Ferrari is now using it.

The ZTK package, incidentally, adds a front splitter and carbon fiber end caps and gives the magnetic ride control system a track tuning. It comes with the Sport Cup 2 version of Michelin’s sticky Pilot Sports Cup tires.

And if you’re still not sure your new Vette will stand out enough, “The Corvette ZR1 introduced today also debuted a dynamic, available Sebring Orange Design Package,” Chevy noted. “Centered on its Sebring Orange Tintcoat exterior color, the package also includes orange brake calipers, orange rocker and splitter accent stripes, orange seat belts, orange interior stitching and unique, bronze aluminum interior trim.

(Buh-bye Dodge Viper. Click Here for a post-mortem.)

Inside: details like a carbon fiber-trimmed steering wheel highlight the 2019 Corvette ZR1.

Inside, the ZR1 also adds some more elegant touches to the familiar C7 cabin, including carbon fiber trim and either competition sports seats or Napa leather heated and cooled seats. For the track, there’s a Performance Data Recorder. There’s also a premium grade Bose audio package for savoring the moments when you’re just cruising down the highway.

Even being the fastest and most powerful Corvette ever introduced, the rumor mill seems only to be amping up the noise. And for good reason. For anyone who still doubts that the Vette is a truly world-class sports car Chevy is getting ready to roll out the C8, the long-awaited mid-engine model that is being referred to internally as the Zora, after Corvette’s brilliant first chief engineer, Zora-Artus Duntov. We’re still waiting for final details but considering what Chevy has done with the 2019 ZR1, the numbers are likely to be awe-inspiring.

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One Response to “First Look: Chevy Lifts Veil Off the Corvette ZR1 in Dubai”

  1. JAE says:

    As per your 1st picture caption “…755 hp and a top speed of 755, the 2019 ZR1…”. That’s not only hauling the bacon it’s smoking it too lol.

    Per your 2nd picture, at first glance it apes the Ferrari F430 with the huge nostrils.