A Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 set a production-car lap record on the 4.1-mile Grand Course West at Virginia International Raceway with a time of 2:37.25. This is small consolation to the beating that Corvette took at the 24 Hours of Daytona against the Ford GT in real checkered flag endurance racing.
Along with a harness bar and track seats with five-point harnesses, the basically stock ZR1 coupe was equipped with the optional paddle-shift eight-speed automatic and ZTK Performance Package, which includes an adjustable carbon-fiber High Wing, a front splitter with carbon-fiber end caps, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 summer-only tires, and specific chassis and Magnetic Ride Control tuning.
“The Corvette ZR1’s lap record at VIR, arguably America’s most challenging road course, is a testament to its supercar status,” claimed Mark Reuss, executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. “On the racetrack, the ZR1 can compete with any supercar — at any price.”
Reuss once kicked the author’s butt at a closed track in New York State. It’s surprising when the president of an auto company appears at a race track to drive a car he worked on as an engineer. It’s embarrassing, though, when he’s as fast, well frankly faster, than any hot shoe out there. I was looking at Reuss’s taillights – in the distance. (see AutoInformed on Driving the Cadillac CTS-V Coupe)
Back to the Corvette: On sale this spring, the ZR1 coupe will carry a suggested retail price of $119,995 (price includes destination charge, but excludes tax, title and other dealer fees). The ZTK Performance Package will cost $2,995.
The ZR1’s record lap at VIR was set during validation testing last this month, with vehicle dynamics engineer Jim Mero at the wheel. The car was set up per the owner’s manual’s recommended track alignment and aerodynamic settings. As part of the validation, the ZR1 was finalizing its total of 24 hours of at-limit track testing, with multiple GM Performance engineers logging laps.
“The track had been dormant since mid-December, so it was a bit slow when we started, but the conditions turned pretty quick at the end,” said Alex MacDonald, manager, Vehicle Performance. “On the heels of announcing our Z06 time of 2:39.77, the ZR1 lap time is the icing on the cake. It’s not too often you set a lap record during validation testing.”
Mucho, Macho Horsepower
The ZR1’s exclusive is rated at an SAE-certified 755 horsepower (563 kW) and 715 lb.-ft. of torque (969 Nm). The LT5 has a new, more-efficient intercooled supercharger system, along with GM’s first dual fuel-injection system, which employs primary direct injection and supplemental port injection. Compared to the supercharger system on the Corvette Z06’s LT4 engine, the LT5 employs a larger, 2.65-liter supercharger that generates more boost while spinning at a slightly slower speed. That reduces heat to help maintain a lower air intake temperature for optimal performance. Four new radiators also help manage cooling in the ZR1, which features 13 radiators in all, including circuits for engine oil, transmission and differential cooling.