As the most potent Corvette ever made, the 2012 ZR1 oozes performance. From the supercharged 6.2L LS9 V8 and six-speed manual transmission with a high-capacity clutch, to the Magnetic Selective Ride Control suspension system and new Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires, the ZR1 can compete with exotic supercars with much higher price tags. So, when we saw that the ZR1 won the Lightning Lap test done by Car & Driver this year, we weren’t surprised. Hat tip to CorvetteBlogger for the news.
For the last six years, Car & Driver has been taking cars out to Virginia International Raceway (VIR)’s Grand West Course to see which ones will be able to perform the best on the 4.1-mile track. The Nurburgring-style test is called the Lighting Lap and puts competing cars through an array of turns, elevation changes and long straights. Just like a Nurburgring time of 8 minutes or less, a faster time than 3 minutes at VIR is enormously impressive.
The rules of the competition are simple. Cars compete in classes (LL1-LL4) based on their price range. All cars must be unmodified but are requested to possess the sportiest options offered. Vehicles are all weighed in with a full gas tank to avoid discrepancies and tire pressure is checked and set to the factory cold-inflate values every morning before testing. Cars are then driven by a number of different drivers multiple times while data is collected with predictive lap timing and GPS-based Racelogic VBOXs so that the most accurate lap times can be determined.
This year, the 2012 Corvette ZR1 was up against some of the LL3 class’s biggest competitors and still managed to come out ahead with a lap time of just 2 minutes and 50.7 seconds. The BMW Z4 sDRIVE35is (3:10.4), Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe (3:06.3), Lotus Evora S (3:05.3), Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG (3:04.9), Porsche Cayman R (3:03.9) and even the Nissan GT-R (2:53.2) couldn’t keep up. This isn’t surprising since the 3,363 pound, 638 horsepower Corvette has a power-to-weight ratio of one pony per 5.3 pounds.
Only a pair of Moslers and a Viper ACR have been faster than the 2012 ZR1 in the Lightning Lap track test. Considering the ACR and Moslers are lightly-disguised race cars with little driving forgiveness and even smaller amounts of creature comforts, the 2012 ZR1 seems to be of the highest standard for streetable performance cars.