Lately in the world of fast Chevrolets, it’s the long-awaited but still mysterious mid-engine Corvette that’s captured everyone’s attention. While there’s still a ton we don’t know, it’s slated to be the true exotic-killer the ‘Vette was always meant to be. But where does that leave the current king of front-engine Corvettes—the supercharged, 755 horsepower 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1?
The Mid-Engine Corvette Has Arrived At The Nürburgring
Well, I can tell you the ZR1 doesn’t have the elegance or grace of the six-figure supercars it can compete against, but it is seriously fast. After a few hot laps around the Circuit Of The Americas, I think it deserves some respect. I just wish the cockpit lived up to the example set by the engine.
The ZR1 variants pack way more power than the standard Corvette, optimized for the enthusiast who’s more concerned with lap times than the retiree who likes cruising some Georgia boulevard on a Saturday night. Chevrolet gave the supercharged V8 way more power over a standard Stingray or even the lesser Z06, added a full suite of wild aerodynamic enhancements all around, beefed up the brakes, and stiffened the suspension.
The base MSRP for the ZR1 is $118,900, and this ZR1 I tested rang up an MSRP of $142,480, loaded with several options including 3ZR premium equipment (memory seats, power lumbar and bolster seat adjustments, Napa leather-covered heated and ventilated seats, splashes of leather touches around the interior, and additional carbon fiber on the steering wheel and instrument cluster), track performance package (Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, upgraded track-focused suspension, a massive rear wing spoiler, and front splitter end caps), and competition carbon fiber sport seats.
Shoving a whopping 13 psi of supercharged boost down the LT5’s throat, the big V8 and massive blower and immediately command attention as you employ your right foot down a stretch of empty track.
Between COTA’s turns 11 and 12, down the three-quarter-mile back straight, a brave driver will hit 160 mph before standing on the brakes. The ZR1 gobbles up any straight portion of tarmac before testing the limits of your abilities once you need to mash the brakes and turn into a corner.
Sales of the Vette have been dropping, and the price is somehow going up for 2019. A ZR1 will set you back damn near $150,000, and that neighborhood is occupied by the Porsche 911 GT3, Acura NSX, Mercedes-AMG GT for only a little more cash.
With those competitors, you may not get the balls-out performance and low lap times you get from the ZR1, but you definitely get cars that are easier to live with when it comes to fit and finish, long-term enjoyment, and enjoyment both on and off track.