The timeline certainly does match and four years into the production of the 7th-generation Corvette, Chevrolet is now on the cusp of revealing their most extreme road going version yet: the ZR1. At least, that’s what this convenient leak seems to evidence of.
Stemming from the depths of the internet, specifically Corvette Blogger and latterly Corvette Forum, this is the pre-print cover of the December issue of Car and Driver magazine (people still read those?) showing off a very aggressively styled C7, replete with sticky-out carbon chin spoiler, dive planes, a carbon fibre roof, partly carbon bonnet, and a huge fixed rear spoiler. Incidentally, a lot of these, including the wing, were available on the Z06 as an optional extra.
Had this leak not have surfaced, Car and Driver might have ended up selling a lot more copies of their print edition, but then again we wouldn’t be at all surprised it also appeared as a web feature at the same time.
The subtitle for the cover story shows that the ZR1 of this generation would now produce 750 horsepower, or around 558kW, which is some 82kW more than the previous ZR1’s colossal 476kW. Engine details, or any other details for that matter, are purely speculative at this point.
That said, there are a number of ways that Chevrolet could have chosen to produce that amount of power. The most likely being simply to fit a larger displacement supercharger to the LT4 V8 used in the Z06, which already stores 1.7-litres of pressurised air. There’s certainly headroom for such measures, after all Dodge installed 2.7-litre unit on their Dodge Demon for it to generate 626kW safely enough to include a warranty.
Another option, though a lot less likely, is to have the new ZR1 resurrect the heroic 7.0-litre LS7 V8 from the previous-generation Corvette Z06, but corrupt it further via a supercharger. Judging by the added emphasis on downforce, though, Chevrolet might need to attach the widest rear tyres they can find to maintain enough mechanical grip at low speed sections of the track it most definitely was made to pulverise.
While the previous generation ZR1 could accurately be defined as a Z06 with more of everything, this time around the focus has shifted to have the different variants be more strength-specific. Like the Dodge Viper ACR, this might be the official transition of the ZR1 into a track-focused machine.
Other details to emerge include a tentative torque figure of 920Nm and an engine that, aside from the heavier duty blower, boasts a larger throttle body, high performance fuel injectors, and a stronger forged driveline.
Also, much of the current Z06’s body panels are carried over, paired with the obvious aggressive and overt new front and rear aero, and for some reason the ZR1 weighs over 60 kilograms more than the Z06. This is curious as the ZR1 would apparently use the same suspension components and brakes.
We’re very curious to see what happens with the new king of Corvettes, but from the way things are looking now, we fear it might not stray too far from a Z06 with with optional aero pack and a larger supercharger. With HSV apparently in cahoots with Chevy to bring the Camaro to Australia, is there now wiggle room Down Under for the Corvette as well?
Either way, the timing of this leak suggests that the next Corvette ZR1 could be premiering at the Detroit Motor Show in early 2018.