The Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 is an absolute mental machine


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HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAWTF! …this car is absolutely mental . . . #corvette #zr1 #chevy #corvettezr1 #hooniverse #hooniversethings

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This thing is basically Dethklok… the car.
I’ve just wrapped up a wonderful week with the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, and it’s ruined the notion of raw speed for anything else I’m set to drive. How is it capable of doing so? The 6.2-liter aluminum V8 sitting out in the snout joins forces with a supercharger and it’s a marriage that’s good for 755 horsepower and 715 pound-feet of torque. And all of that whoosh, thrust, and grunt is sent through a seven-speed manual gearbox on out to the rear wheels.

[Disclaimer: Chevy tossed me the keys to a gassed-up ZR1. I had big plans for video and some photos… then I got a cold, followed by a sinus infection. So that didn’t happen. This article is happening in its place.]
The C7 Corvette is a wonderful driver’s car. At every level, it’s an enjoyable sports car that can be driven easily on a daily basis and enjoyed on a race track. The ZR1 is no exception here, but the daily drivability will net you speeding tickets and the on-track stuff could result in brand-new lap records anywhere you go. When I say this thing is fast, it’s wildly so. And yet it’s still comfortable when you’re in traffic on the freeway. Or running to the store for groceries. Or, the most likely event, heading back to the gas station for more fuel.
On the outside, this Vette is not subtle. That large rear wing at the back? It works in concert with the snow plow of a front splitter to create real, usable downforce on a road course. It also lets every other car on the street know that you’re not one to toyed with in tests of stoplight-to-stoplight shenanigans. The exhaust helps in this space too. Set the car in either Sport or Track and all four pipes bellow a downright ridiculous song. It’s as loud as the wing is high.
Every angle of movement is revealed through finally honed instruments. The steering is quick and properly weighted. Throttle response is immediate and power is put to pavement thanks to a set of 335-series rear tires. Tucked behind the front wheels sit a set of 15.5-inch vented discs and the rears use 15.3-inch discs, so you stop very quickly, very consistently. Finally, the magnetically damped suspension keeps the action planted yet still compliant, which is how you can enjoy driving to the track, on the track, and then home from the track.
Is it expensive? Yes, of course it is. This is a laser-focused Corvette ZR1 with 755 horsepower. The base price is a bit over $120,000 and the version I tested is likely sitting between $130,000 and $140,000. For as much car as you’re getting, however, that’s a damn bargain. During Car and Driver’s 2018 Lightning Lap testing, the Corvette ZR1 was the second fastest of an incredibly fast crew of cars. It bested the McLaren 720S, Lamborghini Huracan Performante, Ford GT, and the Porsche 911 GT3. The only car faster was the Porsche 911 GT2 RS Weissach, and that car costs $330,000.
With this ZR1, Corvette has truly created a monster. The styling is hilariously over the top. The exhaust note is worthy of a chuckle every time you fire up the engine. And the raw straight line and corner speed is life altering. 
Tonight we ride on clouds of fire
We’re damned by gods our deaths conspired
We fear no mortals in these worlds
The gift we give you is your soul

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9 responses to “The Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 is an absolute mental machine”

  1. Manxman Avatar

    I love Corvettes and from the time I built my first Revelle model of the C1 I lusted after them. I love the fact that Chevy engineers have highly developed a pushrod engine (with a few misguided experiments with OHC) to rub in the faces of the European snobbery (I’m talking to you Jeremy Clarkson). Yes, the ZedR1 (mocking Clarkson here) is a fantastic machine and I envy Jeff for his chance to experience the thrill of driving it. Since I can’t afford a new Vette I’ve been trolling CL for a suitable C4. Stiff ride, you say. Yes, but I’m not going to do any trans-cons. I agree with all the negatives of the C4 and it is, in fact, these negatives that even Corvette clubs disown this generation. Which is why they are cheap. Unfortunately, it was the C4 platform where Chevy engineers went all European flagship car on us, straying away from the simple yet powerful combination of big engine and raw power, a muscle sports car if you will. Not in the suspension which is a beautiful thing, indeed, with transverse leaf springs and elegant forged alloy wishbones. (Clarkson pause) It was the electronics. The 80’s dashboard was ugly and overly complicated and even with the redesign in the early 90’s it got even more complicated. There is literally a button for every function in the car and it is this plethora of buttons and switches that control every aspect of the Vette that causes me pause from pulling the trigger on a 94-96 C4. Corvette, why didn’t you make a dash with the simplicity of a MG-B? or even my late model Kia Soul. If I wanted a electrical/electronic mess that will begin failing like the fall of Rome I would buy a 96 BMW 7 series or a 90’s Mercedes 600S. Or a flood write-off Audi. Why not make a true driver’s car with minimal electronics and maximum raw power and great handling. Analog (looking) Smith type guages with simple controls. But, I’m not in Kansas anymore (movie reference for you youngsters) and it isn’t 1964. So, carry on Corvette and make your awesome, but complicated, Eruro-killers (not actually killers, that would be mental) with the best value per bhp (2 bhp per cubic inch is mental!) and I’ll dust off my Revelle C1 and dream of watching the Cunningham and Camoradi Corvettes roar around the Sarthe circuit in 1960. I still envy you, Jeff.

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      1. Manxman Avatar

        Put it on the top of my list of cars to buy when I win the lottery.

    2. Turbobrick Avatar

      I pulled the trigger on a dirt cheap LT1 powered C4 because the opportunity came at the right time. While I am enjoying mine, and I specifically wanted a C4, I will admit that a C5 is a better fit for most people as they’re cheaper to run, easier to live with and drive better. Also don’t buy a Corvette if you have a thin skin, people get weird about them.
      The late C4 jet fighter cockpit layout is pretty cool actually. The real problem with design is the targa top that management insisted on despite the car being designed to have a T-top to begin with.

  2. Zentropy Avatar

    I’m getting old, apparently. I had to google “Dethklok”.

    1. Manxman Avatar

      You aren’t getting old until you don’t care about any cars built after 2006. Wait, that’s me.

  3. SlowJoeCrow Avatar

    I love the analogy, so will we get a Nathan Explosion signature edition?
    Seriously, I appreciate the technical achievement of super cars but I don’t see the point of spending all that money on something that can only reach its full potential at 100mph. I ‘d rather have something smaller, lighter and cheaper that I work hard at 50 mph.

  4. outback_ute Avatar

    This Holden Torana has a tuned LSA from the old ZR1, probably weighs about the same too. Bloke did a lap time only 3% faster than me today around the new Tailem Bend circuit, I was running a fairly tame 302.