There’s no doubt in our minds that the Corvette ZR1 is the most powerful and most successful Corvette ever. But even the best things can be improved a bit, so Chevrolet has decided to offer a few updates for the 2011 model year. On sale at a price of $109,800 ($3,000 more than the previous year), the ZR1 will be offered in two versions: a standard 1ZR and a 3ZR that adds an extra $10k to the sports car’s price.
For 2011, the ZR1 will be offered with two new exterior colors: Inferno Orange and Supersonic Blue. These colors will come with contrasting-color headlamps, an interior custom color stitching, and USB port and input jack included with navigation radio.
Under the hood there is the same LS9 supercharged 6.2 liter V-8 engine rated at 638 HP and 604 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine is backed by an upgraded, stronger six-speed manual transmission and a twin-disc clutch that provide exceptional clamping power. With a curb weight of 3,333 pounds, the Corvette ZR1 makes the 0 to 60 mph sprint in 3.4 seconds and can hit a top speed of 205 mph.
UPDATE 03/24/2011: Chevrolet has revealed a new commercial for the 2011 ZR1, and we have to say BMW and Porsche will have plenty to be embarrassed about after watching it. Ouch, that’s got to hurt. Watch the video to see what we’re talking about.
Press release after the jump.
The supercharged Corvette ZR1 is a bona fide cultural phenomenon. After entering the market in 2009, it quickly challenged – and beat – expectations on how an American supercar could stand up to the world’s premier competitors at a much lower price. In the two years since, a passionate community of enthusiasts around the globe has helped make it an instant icon in the digital age. Consider the following:
- A Google search of “Corvette ZR1” returns about 933,000 results
- A YouTube video showing a British magazine’s acceleration test of the Corvette ZR1 vs. a Porsche 911 GT2 has been viewed about 3.7 million times
- There are nearly 9,000 ZR1 photo posts on Flickr.com
- Nürburgring 7:26.4-minute record run viewed nearly 1 million times on YouTube.
With its performance and cultural credentials intact, the Corvette ZR1 enters its third year of production with minor changes aimed at broadening the personalization options for customers. That includes a pair of new exterior colors – Inferno Orange and Supersonic Blue – which brings the exterior color roster to 10; available contrasting-color headlamps, offered in Cyber Gray, Black and Blade Silver; and a new interior custom color stitching option.
It’s beneath the skin, of course, where the ZR1 earns its street cred. Highlights include:
- LS9 supercharged 6.2L V-8 rated at 638 horsepower (476 kW), and 604 lb.-ft. of torque (819 Nm)
- Six-speed, close-ratio, race-proven manual transmission
- High-capacity dual-disc clutch
- Higher-capacity and specific-diameter axle half-shafts; enhanced torque tube
- Specific suspension tuning provides more than 1g cornering grip
- Twenty-spoke 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels
- Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tires – P285/30ZR19 in front and P335/25ZR20 in the rear – developed specifically for the ZR1
- Standard Brembo carbon-ceramic, drilled disc brake rotors – 15.5-inch-diameter (394-mm) in the front and 15-inch-diameter (380-mm) in the rear
- Blue-painted brake calipers
- Standard Magnetic Selective Ride Control with track-level suspension
- Launch Control system with Performance Traction Management technology
- Wider, carbon-fiber front fenders with ZR1-specific dual ports
- Carbon-fiber hood with a raised, polycarbonate window – offering a view of the intercooler below it
- Carbon-fiber roof panel, roof bow, front fascia splitter and rocker moldings with clear-coated, visible carbon-fiber weave
- ZR1-specific full-width rear spoiler with raised outboard sections
- Specific gauge cluster with boost gauge (also displayed on the head-up display) and 220-mph (370 km/h) speedometer readout
- Curb weight of 3,333 pounds (1,512 kg).
The specialized components of the new ZR1 work harmoniously to deliver the most powerful and fastest automobile ever produced by General Motors. It has a top speed of 205 mph (330 km/h).
Supercharged LS9 engine
The supercharged LS9 6.2L small-block engine is the power behind the ZR1’s performance. A sixth-generation Eaton supercharger 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 area where supercharged performance tends to diminish. Heavy-duty and lightweight reciprocating components enable the engine’s confident high-rpm performance.
The Roots-type supercharger uses a unique, four-lobe rotor design. It is augmented with an integrated charge cooling system that reduces inlet air temperature for maximum performance.
The LS9 is hand-assembled at GM’s Performance Build Center in Wixom, Mich., and incorporates special processes typically seen in racing engines to produce a highly refined and precise product. For example, cast iron cylinder liners are inserted in the aluminum block and are finish-bored and honed 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. This ensures a higher degree of accuracy that promotes maximum cylinder head sealing, piston ring fit and overall engine performance.
Transmission and axle
The LS9 engine is backed by an upgraded, stronger six-speed manual transmission and a twin-disc clutch that provide exceptional clamping power, while maintaining an easy clutch pedal effort. ZR1-specific gearing in the transmission provides a steep first-gear ratio that helps launch the car, and top speed is achieved in sixth gear.
The twin-disc clutch system employs a pair of discs, which spread out the engine’s torque load over a wider area. This enables tremendous clamping power when the clutch is engaged, while also helping to dissipate heat better and extend the life of the clutch.
The twin-disc clutch system also contributes to the ZR1’s exceptional driving quality, with smooth and easy shifting. The twin-disc system’s design allows higher torque capacity with inertia and pedal effort similar to the Corvette Z06. It enables a 25-percent reduction in inertia, thanks to smaller, 260-mm plates; the Corvette Z06’s uses a 290-mm single-disc system.
The rear axle also is stronger in the ZR1 and features asymmetrical axle-shaft diameters – 33 mm on the right side and 40 mm on the left – that were developed after careful testing to provide optimal torque management. The axles are mounted on a more horizontal plane that correlates with the wider width of the rear wheels and tires.
Performance Traction Management
Performance Traction Management (PTM) technology is an advanced system that is part of the ZR1’s Launch Control feature, which optimizes traction for greater and more consistent on-track performance.
The PTM system holds a predetermined engine speed while the driver pushes the throttle to the floor. That allows the driver to quickly release the clutch and the system modulates engine torque 100 times per second to maximize the available traction. The system is capable of approaching a skilled driver’s best effort and repeats it consistently.
PTM also integrates the ZR1’s traction control, active handling and selective ride control systems to enhance race track driving consistency and overall performance. When full throttle is applied upon exiting a corner, it automatically manages acceleration dynamics.
Ride and handling
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’s ability to deliver a compliant ride with nearly instantaneous damping adjustments enabled engineers to develop a surprisingly supple ride quality in a supercar that still delivers cornering grip of more than 1g.
From a high-performance perspective, Magnetic Selective Ride Control 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.
Brakes, wheels and tires
Commensurate with the ZR1’s engine output is the braking system, headlined by Brembo carbon-ceramic brake rotors. Found on only a few exotics and more expensive supercars, carbon-ceramic brake rotors are made of a carbon-fiber-reinforced ceramic silicon carbide material. The advantages of these rotors are low mass and resistance to wear and heat. In fact, the rotors should never show corrosion or require replacement for the life of the vehicle, when used in normal driving.
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 brakes are visible through the ZR1’s exclusive wheels: 20-spoke alloy rims that measure 19 x 10 inches in diameter in the front and 20 x 12 inches in the rear. A Sterling Silver paint finish is standard; chrome and Competition Gray 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 ZR1 is instantly recognizable, with perhaps the most identifiable feature a raised, all-carbon-fiber hood that incorporates a clear, polycarbonate window. The window provides a view of the top of the engine’s intercooler, with the legend “LS9 SUPERCHARGED” embossed on the left and right sides, and an engine cover with the Corvette crossed flags logo debossed at the front.
The underside of the hood has a visible carbon-fiber-weave. Visible carbon-fiber is used on the roof, roof bow, rocker molding and front splitter. These exterior components are protected by a specially developed glossy, UV-resistant clear coat that resists yellowing and wear.
Widened, carbon-fiber front fenders with specific, dual lower ports; and a full-width, body-color rear spoiler incorporating the center high-mounted stop lamp are also unique to the ZR1. All of the exterior features were developed to enhance high-speed stability and driver control.
The ZR1 interior builds on the brand’s dual-cockpit heritage, with high-quality materials, craftsmanship and functionality that support the premium-quality performance. The ZR1 cabin differs from the Corvette and Corvette Z06 with the following:
- ZR1-logo sill plates
- ZR1-logo headrest embroidery
- Specific gauge cluster with “ZR1” logo on the tachometer and a 220-mph (370 km/h) readout on the speedometer
- Boost gauge added to the instrument cluster and head-up display.
The standard ZR1 (RPO 1ZR) comes with accoutrements based on the Z06, including lightweight seats and lightweight content. The uplevel interior package (RPO 3ZR) includes power-adjustable, heated and leather-trimmed sport seats (embroidered with the ZR1 logo); Bose premium audio system; navigation system; Bluetooth connectivity; power telescoping steering column; custom leather-wrapped interior available in four colors; and more.
Optional custom interior color stitching is new for 2011.
By the numbers
ZR1 models are distinguished from other Corvette models by their vehicle identification number, or VIN. Each carries a unique, identifying VIN digit, as well as a sequential build number. These identifiers make it easy to determine the build number of a specific car – information treasured by enthusiasts and collectors. For example, a ZR1 with a VIN ending in “0150” would indicate it is the 150th ZR1 built for the model year.
- Model: 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, two valves per cylinder
- Fuel delivery: SFI (sequential fuel injection)
- Compression ratio: 9.1:1
- Horsepower / kW: 638 / 476 @ 6500*
- Torque (lb-ft / Nm): 604 / 819 @ 3800*
- Recommended fuel: premium required
- EPA-estimated fuel economy (city / hwy): 14 / 20
Transmission Tremec TR6060 close-ratio six-speed manual
Gear ratios (:1):
- First: 2.29
- Second: 1.61
- Third: 1.21
- Fourth: 1.00
- Fifth: 0.81
- Sixth: 0.67
- Reverse: 3.11
- Final drive ratio: 3.42
- Front: short/long arm ( SLA) double wishbone, cast aluminum upper and lower control arms, transverse-mounted composite leaf spring, monotube shock absorber
- Rear: short/long arm ( SLA) double wishbone, cast aluminum upper and 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 four-piston rear calipers, cross-drilled rotors; ABS std.
Rotor diameter (in / mm):
- front: 15.5 / 394
- rear: 15 / 380
Brake swept area (sq in / mm):
- front: 355 / 2290
- rear: 309 / 1994
- front: 19-inch x 10-inch
- rear: 20-inch x 12-inch
- 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 / 1929
- Overall height (in / mm): 48.7 / 1236
- Curb weight (lb / kg): 3333 / 1512
- Weight distribution (% front / rear): 51 / 49
- 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)
| Model || Specifications || Price |
| Corvette ZR1 1ZR || |
- LS9 6.2L, 638-hp Supercharged V8 engine
- 205-mph test-track top speed
- Brembo® carbon ceramic brakes
- Performance Traction Management
| $109,800 |
| Corvette ZR1 3ZR || |
- Bluetooth wireless technology4 for select phones
- Heated Sport seats
- Power passenger seat
- Memory Package
- Universal Home Remote transmitter
- Bose® seven-speaker sound system with navigation
- XM Radio6 with one-year subscription
- Power-telescoping steering column
- Custom Leather-Wrapped Interior Package
- Luggage shade and parcel net
| $119,800 |
| 19" Front and 20" Rear ZR1 Competition Gray Aluminum Wheels 19" Front and 20" Rear ZR1 Competition Gray Aluminum Wheels || $395 |
| 19" Front and 20" Rear ZR1 Chrome Aluminum Wheels 19" Front and 20" Rear ZR1 Chrome Aluminum Wheels || $2,000 |
| Indoor Vehicle Cover (Dealer Installed GCA(4)) Indoor Vehicle Cover (Dealer Installed GCA(4)) || $335 |
| Pedal Cover Set (Dealer Installed GCA(4)) Pedal Cover Set || $295 |
| Audio System with CD Player and MP3 Playback Capability Audio System with CD Player and MP3 Playback Capability || Standard |
| Audio System with 6-Disc In-Dash CD Changer and MP3 Playback Capability Audio System with 6-Disc In-Dash CD Changer and MP3 Playback Capability || $395 |
| Door Sill Plates or Door Step ShieldsDoor Sill Plates or Door Step Shields || $110 |
| Spoiler KitSpoiler Kit || $310 |
| License Plate Holder - FrontLicense Plate Holder - Front || $90 |
| Door Sill Plates or Door Step ShieldsDoor Sill Plates or Door Step Shields || $55 |
| Cargo OrganizerCargo Organizer || $195 |
| Spoiler KitSpoiler Kit || $200 |
| Floor Mats - Front Carpet ReplacementsFloor Mats - Front Carpet Replacements || $69 |
| Underhood LinerUnderhood Liner || $225 |
| Floor Mat - Cargo AreaFloor Mat - Cargo Area || $120 |
| Vehicle Cover Lock PackageVehicle Cover Lock Package || $10 |
| Storage BagsStorage Bags || $115 |
| Floor Mat - Cargo AreaFloor Mat - Cargo Area || $120 |
| Visor CD-DVD HolderVisor CD-DVD Holder || $20 |
| Floor Mats - Front Carpet Replacements || $69 |
| Underhood LinerUnderhood Liner || $225 |
| Roadside Assistance PackageRoadside Assistance Package || $75 |
| Rear Bumper Fascia ProtectorRear Bumper Fascia Protector || $75 |
| Storage BagsStorage Bags || $210 |
| Door Sill Plates or Door Step Shields || $80 |