2019 Corvette ZR1 Sets New Production-Car Record At VIR

Well, it happened. We finally have our first official lap times from the most powerful production Corvette ever built and it did not disappoint—to put it lightly. The C7 ZR1 laid down a blistering 2:37.3 lap time at what many consider to be “America’s Nurburgring”, Virginia International Raceway, making it the fastest production car ever to lap the circuit.

This news comes on the heels of Ford’s GT becoming the first production vehicle ever to transcend the 2-minute-40-second mark at the famous track, posting a lap time of 2:38.6. But alas, Ford’s efforts just weren’t good enough to allow it to hold on to the production record and The King of the Hill showed the blue-oval boys how it’s done.

2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 – VIR lap record holder on Grand Course West. (Richard Prince/Chevrolet photo).

The particular ZR1 in questions was equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission and the ZTK Performance Package which ups the car’s aero with an adjustable carbon-fiber wing, front splitter with canards, and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. Obviously, the car is riding on the factory Magnetic Ride control suspension and it appears the car isn’t missing the addition of Mulitmatic spool-valve shock al la ZL1 1LE that many thought it would make its debut with.

“The Corvette ZR1’s lap record at VIR, arguably America’s most challenging road course, is a testament to its supercar status,” said Mark Reuss, executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. “On the racetrack, the ZR1 can compete with any supercar—at any price.”

A bold statement by Reuss, but not an unfounded one considering the fact that not only did the ZR1 best the Ford GT by over a full second, but it also shattered the Viper ACR’s previous record of 2:40.0. This begs the question “will the ZR1 be capable of laying down a sub-7-minute Nurburgring lap time?” The short answer, most likely. You see, the ACR—the one that lapped VIR in 2:40.0— managed a 7:01.3 around the infamous Green Hell.

At almost two seconds a lap faster than the ACR, over the span of VIR’s 4.1-mile track, this would likely translate to a much more significant difference over the Nordschleife’s considerable 12.94-mile ribbon of tarmac. While comparing the two tracks isn’t necessarily that simple, it does give us a good estimate of what the car will be like if the Chevrolet team decides to hit the Nurburgring.

With lap times like these, it’s likely that the ZR1 would have very little problem breaking into the top 5 at the Nurburgring, putting it in company with the likes of the Lamborghini Aventador LP 750-4 and Porsche 918. That’s not just supercar territory, that’s hypercar territory.

The hot shoe behind the wheel was none other than infamous GM ride and handling engineer Jim Mero who previously set a previous VIR track record in the C7 Z06 back in 2015 with a 2:41.3. Obviously, this means that the ZR1 is exactly four seconds a lap faster than its little brother. To anyone who thinks that the ZR1 is just a Z06 with a bigger blower, you couldn’t be more wrong. Mero was also responsible for setting the C6 ZR1’s astonishing 7:19.63 lap of the Nurburgring back in 2012 and would be the obvious choice to attempt it in the C7 ZR1.

Corvette vehicle dynamics engineer, Jim Mero (Richard Prince/Chevrolet photo).

We may never know what the ZR1 can do around the Nurburgring, but we do now know what it can do around VIR. Will the VIR record be enough for team Chevrolet or are they headed to Germany next to put hypercars around the world on notice? We hope the later but we’ll settle for it beating the Ford GT black and blue.

About the author

Chase Christensen

Chase Christensen hails from Salt Lake City, and grew up around high-performance GM vehicles. He took possession of his very first F-body— an ’86 Trans Am— at the age of 13 and has been wrenching ever since.
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