Well, it’s all but official. The 2018 Corvette ZR1 will, in fact, carry the newly designated supercharged 6.2-liter LT5. How do we know? All-around GM late-model specialists Weapon X Motorsports revealed this morning that they discovered the LT5 while cruising the General Motors RPO code search tool. This reinforces a previous leak and gives us some new info as well.
According to the picture, the engine will have variable valve timing, Spark Ignition Direct Injection (SIDI), and will be sporting a supercharger–but there is no mention of DOHC. The supercharger in question is most likely Eaton’s new R2650 that they took the wraps off of at SEMA 2016. Eaton told us that the supercharger would not be available to the aftermarket until it debuted on the production vehicle it was destined for—and that vehicle is more than likely the new flagship ‘Vette.
What is missing, that was previously seen in leaked GM documents is the designation for dual overhead cams. We’ve long been skeptical that the LT5 would make the switch to DOHC, what with the new generation of Corvette already on its way. While we don’t know when the C8 will rear its head, we do know that such a drastic engine development program would most likely be reserved for a completely new generation of vehicle–but we could be wrong.
While this does leave us to speculation, the safe bet is that the LT5 will retain the cam-in-block design of its forebears but improve on the fuel system capacity as well as going with the larger blower. All of this will combine to produce an engine that should be well capable of 750+ horsepower. Going DOHC and putting a larger blower on the car seems a bit like overkill, but who knows.
We also expect to see the Mutlimatic shocks that the General has been installing on everything it can get its hands on to make their first Corvette debut. It would only make sense since the Multimatic shocks have now been added to both the ZL1 1LE and the Colorado ZR2—both of which are the top echelon of their range. So the thinking goes that it would only make sense that they are headed for the ZR1 as well.
At this point, the biggest mystery about the ZR1 just might be what gearbox they will decide to go with. We wouldn’t be surprised to see the 10-speed automatic finally pop up in the Corvette—frankly, we were very surprised in the first place to see it debut in a Camaro instead of the Corvette. We know from experience that the 10-speed auto is an amazing transmission and would add a lot of capability to the ZR1—though with it being so track focused, it might come only with a manual similar to the 1LE. Who knows? Either way, it will be a potent performer.
With power like that, obviously improved aero and shock technology that originated in Formula 1 racing, we could be looking at a hypercar challenger for a fraction of the money. The C7 Z06 already gives class-leading exotics a run for their money and the ZR1 might be enough to threaten the best of the best, al la Porsche 918, La Ferrari, etc.
We always felt that if the General was going to return the LT5 nomenclature to the lineup that it only made sense to pair it with the ZR1, considering the illustrious history the two share. Now, if they would just hurry up and reveal the thing.