GM Takes On Ferrari and Lamborghini with the 2019 Corvette ZR1
2019 Corvette ZR1

By HANNAH ELLIOTT

Last Thursday at a party in downtown Los Angeles (LA), Chevrolet unveiled the fastest Corvette ever, the 2019 Corvette ZR1.

It’s also the most powerful street car General Motors (GM) has ever produced.

The six-figure coupe comes with a 755hp V8 engine and a top speed of 210mph. That’s more powerful than even Ferrari’s US$320,000 F12 and Lamborghini’s US$422,000 (RM1.73 million) Aventador S. As many as 2,500 will be made, and pricing will start at US$119,995. A convertible version will also become available in spring 2018, which will start at US$123,995.

Chevy initially unveiled it in Dubai earlier this year, but this is the first time the car will be seen live in North America. The model is the fourth-ever iteration of the ZR1 badge, which ran intermittently in the 1970s and 1990s and early 2000s.

“The car is a move against the supercar landscape. It’s the best Chevrolet can do,” said Ron Kiino, the spokesman for GM’s corporate division. “You’re going to have those folks who do have McLarens, Ferraris and Porsches who are drawn to the car for its styling and performance.”

During a year when the LA Auto Show is dominated by primo SUVs and electric- powered concept cars, the ZR1 stands out as one of the most exciting debuts of the show.

Patriotic Power

Certainly it’s the most exciting debut from Motown at this showcase.

The ZR1 has a new, more-efficient inter- cooled supercharger system that offers 52% more displacement volume than the supercharger on the US$80,000 existing Corvette Z06. That helps the ZR1 get at least 100hp more than the Z06 as well. (For context, that’s also 300hp more than the US$55,000 standard base version of the Corvette Stingray.)

It also has the option of either a seven-speed manual or eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission. It’s the first time a ZR1 has ever come with the possibility of automatic transmission.

Motown Monster

That kind of performance directly influenced how the ZR1 looks. Most notably, it has an all-new front fascia and a special “halo” hood made from carbon fibre and with an open cut-out in the middle to show off the supercharger itself. That component is raised nearly three inches higher than in previous Corvettes as well, which adds to the visual drama and sense of aggression about the car.

Inside, the two-seater comes with Bose audio, a carbon-fibre trimmed steering wheel and competition sport seats or Napa leather-covered seats with heating and cooling systems as well.

Track-hungry buyers can also splurge on “aero packages” that come with both high and low wings that increase downforce with less drag and assist braking — both which provide for faster lap times.

The new ZTK Performance Package also includes a front splitter with carbon-fibre end caps, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 summer — only tyres, and specific chassis and Magnetic Ride Control tuning for greater cornering grip, plus the adjustable high wing.

Needless to say, those upgrades will be essential for beating those Italian supercars.

The ZR1 goes on sale Spring 2018.  Bloomberg