UPDATED - NEW IMAGES December 27, 2007 Chevrolet has announced details of the 2009 Corvette ZR1 with the promise of an American supercar that will establish new benchmarks for production-based power and performance. Coming almost two decades after the official launch of the Corvette ZR1 at the Geneva Auto Show way back in 1989, the 2009 ZR1 features a long list of specialized components that include extensive use of carbon-fiber paneling and an all-new LS9 supercharged 6.2L V-8 that's expected to punch out 620 horses (462 kW) with around 595 lb.-ft. of torque (823 Nm). Though full performance specs will not be released until the vehicle’s summer 2008 launch draws closer, predictions are that the new ZR1 will be the first production Corvette to achieve a top speed of at least 200 mph, making it the the most powerful and fastest automobile ever produced by General Motors and giving it the muscle to claim dominance over international competition like the Porsche 911 GT2, the Ferrari 599 and the Lamborghini LP640.
Highlights of the new package include a six-speed, close-ratio, race-hardened manual transmission, a new high-capacity dual-disc clutch, Magnetic Selective Ride Control with track-level suspension and suspension tuning that provides more than 1g cornering grip.
The images released so far leave no doubt that the 2009 ZR1 is a Corvette. Trademark dual tail-lights sit beneath a full-width spoiler with raised outboard sections at the rear and the extensive use of carbon-fiber, including front fenders with ZR1-specifc dual vents, roof panel, roof bow, front fascia splitter and rocker moldings with clear-coated, exposed carbon-fiber weave help keep the curb weight down to approximately 3,350 pounds (1,519 kg). There's also a distinctive carbon-fiber hood that features a raised, polycarbonate window to provide a view of the intercooler underneath.
A Head-Up Display is also included in addition to the gauge cluster with boost gauge that shows a 220-mph (370 km/h) speedometer readout. The new hand-assembled LS9 6.2L small-block engine uses a large, positive-displacement Roots-type supercharger with a new, four-lobe rotor design. It is augmented with an integrated charge cooling system that reduces inlet air temperature for maximum performance. The sixth-generation supercharger developed by Eaton helps the LS9 make big power and torque at lower rpm and carries it in a wide arc to 6,600 rpm, as it pushes enough air to help the engine maintain power through the upper levels of the rpm band. The engine incorporates processes typically seen in racing engines to produce a highly refined and precise product such as cast iron cylinder liners inserted in the aluminum block with a deck plate installed. The deck plate simulates the pressure and minute dimensional variances applied to the block when the cylinder heads are installed, ensuring a higher degree of accuracy that promotes maximum cylinder head sealing, piston ring fit and overall engine performance.
The twin-disc clutch system employs a pair of discs to spread out the engine’s torque load over a wider area. This enables tremendous clamping power when the clutch is engaged. It also dissipates heat better and extends the clutch life (in normal driving). The twin-disc system’s design enables a 25-percent reduction in inertia, thanks to smaller, 260-mm plates, corresponding to a pedal effort that is similar to the Corvette Z06’s 290-mm single-disc system.
The rear axle also is stronger in the ZR1 and features asymmetrical axle-shaft diameters that were developed after careful testing to provide optimal torque management. The axles are also mounted on a more horizontal plane that correlates with the wider width of the rear wheels and tires.
The ZR1 is built on the same aluminum-intensive chassis as the Corvette Z06 and features similar independent SLA front and rear suspensions, with aluminum upper and lower control arms. Where the ZR1 differs is the suspension tuning, which was optimized for the car’s steamroller-wide front and rear tires.
Magnetic Selective Ride Control is standard and tuned specifically for the ZR1. The system helps the rear axle remain planted during launch for smooth, hop-free acceleration. It also helps suppress axle movement when cornering on broken or uneven pavement.
The braking system features carbon-ceramic brake rotors made of a carbon-fiber-reinforced ceramic silicon carbide material. Their advantage comes in low mass and resistance to wear and heat. The vented and cross-drilled rotors on the ZR1 measure 15.5 inches (394 mm) in diameter in the front and 15 inches (380 mm) in diameter in the rear – making them among the largest carbon-ceramic rotors available on any production vehicle.
Clamping down on the high-tech rotors are six-piston front calipers and four-piston rear calipers, each painted a ZR1-exclusive blue. The front pads are equivalent in size to the largest on any production car with a single-pad design – double that of the Corvette Z06’s 70-sq.-cm. front pads.
The brakes are visible through the ZR1’s 20-spoke alloy rims that measure 19 inches in diameter in the front and 20 inches in the rear. They come standard with a bright, Sterling Silver paint finish and chrome versions are optional. The wheels are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tires developed specifically for the ZR1, measuring P285/30ZR19 in front and P335/25ZR20 in the rear.
“The king has returned,” “The new ZR1 upends the notion of what an American supercar can deliver, with performance that trumps exotics that cost two, three or four times as much – and does so with the driving ease of a daily commuter," said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. "Preliminary testing shows the ZR1 bests the highly respected Corvette Z06 in every performance category, from acceleration and braking, to cornering grip and top speed. It all boils down to the power-to-weight ratio and the ZR1’s is exceptional"
The 2009 ZR1 will be available in only two options: chrome wheels and a “luxury” package - read on for full preliminary specs released and stay tuned for updates closer to the launch.
2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
- Body styles/driveline: 2-door hatchback coupe with fixed roof; rear-wheel drive
- Construction:composite and carbon-fiber body panels, hydroformed aluminum frame with aluminum and magnesium structural and chassis components
- Manufacturing location:Bowling Green, Ky.
- 6.2L SUPERCHARGED V-8 (LS9)
- Displacement (cu in / cc): 376 / 6162
- Bore & stroke (in / mm): 4.06 x 3.62 / 103.25 x 92
- Block material:cast aluminum
- Cylinder head material: cast aluminum
- Valvetrain: overhead valve, 2 valves per cylinder
- Fuel delivery: SFI (sequential fuel injection)
- Compression ratio: 9.1:1
- Horsepower / kW: 620 / 462 (est.)
- Torque (lb-ft / Nm): 595 / 823 (est.)
- Recommended fuel:premium required
- EPA estimated fuel economy: TBD
- Transmission close-ratio six-speed manual
Chassis / Suspension
- Front: short/long arm (SLA) double wishbone, cast aluminum upper & lower control arms, transverse-mounted composite leaf spring, monotube shock absorber
- Rear: short/long arm (SLA) double wishbone, cast aluminum upper & lower control arms, transverse-mounted composite leaf spring, monotube shock absorber
- Traction control: electronic traction control; active handling (Magnetic Selective Ride Control)
- Type: front and rear power-assisted carbon-ceramic disc with 6-piston front and 4-piston rear calipers, cross-drilled rotors; ABS std.
- Rotor diameter (in / mm): front: 15.5 / 394, rear: 15 / 380
Wheels & Tires
- Wheel size: front: 19-inch x 10-inch, rear: 20-inch x 12-inch
- Tires: Michelin Pilot Sport 2 - front: P285/30ZR19, rear: P335/25ZR20
- Wheelbase (in / mm): 105.7 / 2685
- Overall length (in / mm): 176.2 / 4476
- Overall width (in / mm): 75.9 / 1928
- Overall height (in / mm): 49 / 1244
- Curb weight (lb / kg): 3350 / 1519 (est.)
- Seating capacity: 2
- Interior volume (cu ft / L): 52 / 1475 (all models)
- Headroom (in / mm): 38 / 962 (all models)
- Legroom (in / mm): 43 / 1092 (all models)
- Shoulder room (in / mm): 55 / 1397 (all models)
- Hip room (in / mm): 54 / 1371 (all models)