While the new Corvette Z06 has the power and performance to effectively replace the previous ZR1, GTspirit thought it was a good idea get our hands on the fastest Corvette ever, the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 once last time. Since we’ve never driven this hardcore Corvette in the past, we were more than happy that Elite Garage was offering us one. The day was all about an amazing V8 sound, twisty Swiss B-roads and sunny weather.
A quick recap about the ZR1. The Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1, nicknamed “The Blue Devil” is a high performance version of the Corvette C6.The ZR1 was revealed exactly 5 years before the Corvette C7 at the Detroit Motor Show last year. Since its reveal, the ZR1 has won prices as 2009 Performance Car of the Year by Top Gear, Car of the Year Award by Jeremy Clarkson and many more. The ZR1 also set a time of 7:19.63 on the Nordschleife in 2012.
The LS9 engine, a supercharged 6.2litre V8, produces 638 hp at 6500 rpm and 819 Nm at 3800 rpm. That’s 135 hp more than the standard Corvette C6 Z06! On paper, that is good for 0-100km/h in 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 330 km/h. Besides many engine improvements, the transmission also has been improved over the previous-gen Z06. The ZR1’s flywheel was upgraded for better throttle response and acceleration using the 6-speed manual gearbox. The differential of the ZR1 is a limited slip unit with carbon and steel plates while the clutch upgrade is also a big improvement over the one in the Z06. All these improvements make the ZR1 about 100 kg heavier than the C6 Z06.
The ZR1 also uses a ride control system named Magnetic Selective Ride Control. This system gives you the option to drive in two different modes: Tour and Sport. The system also offers you to do launch control from a standing start. When launching, the shocks will be softened and stiffened on rebound while extra weight will be transferred to the rear for more traction. When cornering and braking, the system will adjust the shocks automatically every millisecond to provide perfect handling when needed and a smooth ride while cruising. The aluminium chassis is very similar to the Z06 but to cut weight, panels like the fenders, hood, roof and splitter are made of carbon fibre.
To bring all the power to the tarmac, Chevrolet mounted 335/25 tyres on 20 inch wheels on the rear. For stopping power, Chevrolet fitted front brake rotors which are similar to the carbon ceramic design of the Ferrari FXX. The front calipers are 6-piston units from Brembo. The rear calipers are 4-piston units in combination with carbon ceramic rotors which were originally build as front rotors of the Ferrari Enzo and also used in the BMW M3 GTS.
Like we mentioned earlier in this story, the 2010 ZR1 produces 638 hp. However, the ZR1 we drove, had 730 hp! The difference was hard to notice as we didn’t push the car to its absolute limits. When on the straights we did some fast acceleration in second and third gear… and then you feel just how immensely fast the car is. In combination with the soundtrack from the exhaust, it’s an epic experience once the throttle pedal is depressed. The stock exhaust is already pretty loud but these are almost too loud; not for your own ears but for your neighbours as well.
The traction control has to work very hard to handle all the power on the rear wheels, especially above 4000 rpm when all the torque is available. Then comes the handling. The Swiss country roads are not the best roads to test an American muscle car but we are surprised. When cruising through the twisty country roads, the handling feels excellent and better than expected! The steering feels very precise and the car stays stable through the corners.
Enough technical jib-jab, let’s talk about the looks of the Corvette ZR1. Different from the Z06, the ZR1 has blue badges, blue engine valve covers and blue brake calipers. In combination with the grey colour and the black O.Z. rims which were fitted to our test car, the car looks stunning. Our favourite feature is the polycarbonate window in the hood. This gives you a nice view of the charge cooler and the “LS9 Supercharged” lettering. Furthermore the ZR1 is fitted with a larger spoiler and functional fender vents for better engine cooling.
This particular interior contains a combination of alcantara, plastic and leather seats. The steering wheel and gear knob are fully alcantara in this specialised interior. And the skull on the steering wheel makes you feel like you are in a very dangerous car which as we found out on this special day, was very true!