2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 is already proving it’s the real deal

The 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 may not be on sale yet, but it’s already proving its performance credentials. The monster ‘Vette set a lap record for production cars on the Grand West Course at Virginia International Raceway, lapping the 4.1-mile course in 2 minutes, 37.25 seconds, and beating rival Ford’s GT supercar.

The record-setting car was equipped with a harness bar, racing seats, and five-point harnesses for safety, but was otherwise stock. The car was a ZR1 coupe (a convertible will be available as well) with the eight-speed automatic transmission (Chevy will also offer a seven-speed manual) and ZTK Performance Package. The package adds a larger carbon fiber rear-wing spoiler, front splitter, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 summer tires, and special suspension tuning.

The ZR1 is powered by a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 that produces a titanic 755 horsepower and 715 pound-feet of torque. Chevy claims the supercharger is more efficient than any of its previous systems. The ZR1 also boasts 13 radiators to keep everything cool during aggressive driving.

At VIR, all of this came together in a supercar-stomping show of force. The ZR1 beat the lap record set just days before by the Ford GT, a purebred supercar that costs around $450,000 (the ZR1 starts at $122,990 with the ZTK package). The Chevy lapped the track 1:37 seconds faster than the Ford. The new lap record was set a few days after Ford GTs beat Corvettes in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, so you could say Chevy got itself a little payback.

Besides beating eternal rival Ford, the ZR1 topped the Dodge Viper ACR’s 2:40.02 lap time. In a clear demonstration of what 150 more horsepower and more aggressive aerodynamic aids can do, the ZR1 also obliterated the 2:39.77 time of the Z06, the previous top-dog Corvette. Not bad for a car with an automatic transmission.

If today’s Corvette is this quick around a track, we can only imagine what the rumored mid-engined ‘Vette will be like. Moving the engine from the front to the middle of the car offers numerous performance benefits, which is why Ferrari, Lamborghini, and McLaren like to do it. But considering the blistering speed of the ZR1 (not to mention the Z06), does Chevy even need to bother with a mid-engined Corvette?

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