Buff book leak gives us an early look at the baddest Chevrolet Corvette yet

Chevrolet planned a big surprise for this weekend. It released a short, dark teaser video announcing the imminent arrival of a new member of the Corvette lineup. The wait is partially over, because a photo showing the cover of Car & Driver’s December issue confirms the upcoming model is the long-awaited ZR1. We expected it would be the baddest Chevrolet Corvette built in the nameplate’s six decade-long history, and the first official photo of the beast from Bowling Green suggests we were spot on.

The ZR1 is the ultimate evolution of the current, seventh-generation Corvette. The sizable bulge on the hood hides a brand-new V8 engine with dual overhead cams that employs a supercharger to generate a massive 750 horsepower. Called LT5 internally, the eight-cylinder is most likely bolted to a 10-speed automatic transmission. We could see a six- or seven-speed manual on the list of options, too, though nothing is official at this point. Rear-wheel drive will be the only configuration offered. It is a Corvette, after all.

Chevrolet Corvette

The firepower under the hood is complemented by a ZR1-specific body kit that adds a front splitter, side skirts, and a massive wing that wouldn’t look out of place on an LMP1 race car — or as the bottom part of a bench in Central Park. We also notice special alloy wheels, cooling vents chiseled into the front bumper, and four round exhaust tips out back. Autoblog adds the hood and the roof panel are both made out of carbon fiber in order to keep weight in check. The ZR1 makes the Z06 look gentle and subdued.

Website Corvette Blogger reports the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 will make its debut at the Dubai Auto Show, which bodes well with the time frame released by Chevrolet. If you can’t make it out to the Middle East on such short notice, you’ll get the chance to check out the ZR1 on American soil in a few short weeks during the annual Los Angeles Auto Show. Pricing information will be released in the coming months, just ahead of the car’s on-sale date.

Heads-up, purists: This could be the ultimate evolution of the Corvette you know and love. Rumors backed up by leaks, spy shots, and even patent applications suggest the next-generation Corvette will go mid-engined for the first time ever. It’s already undergoing shakedown testing around Chevrolet’s headquarters, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see it in the metal in January at next year’s edition of the Detroit Auto Show.

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