There has been a lot of speculation on the new Corvette ZR1 in the last six or seven months—perhaps too much. Here at LSX Magazine, we’re are just as guilty as anyone, but it’s hard not to speculate when intriguing new photos, sound clips, info, and renderings keep surfacing. And while we’d love to tell you that things will be different this time that would be a blatant lie—kind of like that time your parents told you they weren’t getting divorced.
But enough about painful childhood memories, new photos of the ZR1 have just emerged and they show the car without its bulky black bonnet we are used to seeing it in the wild with, and it just may be hiding a battery pack. Now, lets bask in the glory that is a nearly naked ZR1.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the recently leaked photos is the fact that we finally got a good look at the new Corvette’s rear hatch area, revealing some pretty interesting looking equipment back there.
We spoke with a few people who witnessed these cars in the wild and Chevrolet engineers were adamant that they stay clear of the rear hatch area when taking pictures of it. They also mentioned a lot of electric fan noise. Is this a hybrid system we are looking at? Or is it just merely testing equipment back there?
It seems unlikely that it is just testing equipment if Chevrolet was so vehement about keeping prying eyes away from the tech. It could also be a new form of suspension control that we’ve never seen before, but those look like battery packs to us. We know Chevrolet has the technology. Just look at the old Chevrolet Suburban hybrid. That system used an augmented transmission to implement an electric motor into the system and could easily be retrofitted to the new ZR1.
Even “Maximum” Bob Lutz has hinted that a hybrid is in Corvette’s future.
This just may be the dawning of a new age for our favorite flagship. And whether or not it has electric augmentation, it will still use one hell of an engine…we think.
For the first time ever we can now see that the ZR1 will sport what we think is eerily reminiscent of the L-88 hood from the C3 Corvette—one of the best looking hoods to ever adorn a ‘Vette. Obviously the hood serves as a heat extractor and to keep air pressure from building up under the front of the car but it just may be the best Corvette hood the General has ever designed, including the famed L-88 lid. We also must point out that the rendering we ran in a story just a few weeks ago is a dead ringer for what we are seeing here.
And while these images give us a pretty clear idea of what the actual production car will look like, we are left to wonder whether the car will sport a clear panel hewn into the hood showing off the car’s huffer like its older brother. It would make sense, especially if you take the rumor that the smaller TVS1740 supercharger was used merely to clear the stock hood of the C7 Z06—which was supposedly designed before they took the blower into account—into consideration.
This leads us to another piece of hearsay: will the new ZR1 have the next generation of Eaton supercharger on it? We got our hands on the new TVS R2650 at this year’s SEMA show and were told that the unit would not be available to the aftermarket until it had debuted on the production vehicle it was originally slate for.
This lead us to the logical conclusion that the next-gen ZR1 will, in fact, be the vehicle to take the wraps off of Eaton’s new blower, which seems more than likely considering GM’s storied history with the brand. The new 2.65-liter huffer should be capable of supporting well north of 800 horsepower—which means a new and improved direct injection system is most likely in the works to support all of it as well.
We expect the new mill will be called the LT5, which pays homage to the dual overhead cam engine found between the fenders of the ’90s ZR-1. However, we don’t think that the new engine will come with dual overhead cams like its predecessor—that leap will most likely be drawn out until the C8 Corvette.
The new bullet will likely be backed by the same 10-speed automatic transmission that debuted in the ZL1 Camaro and will offer lightening-fast shifts on par with the top PDK transmissions. Additionally, we expect the Tremec TR6070 will also be offered as an option—albeit a vastly less popular one, unfortunately.
What we are having the most trouble agreeing on is if the new flagship will come with Magnetic Ride Control or the new Multimatic shocks that we have seen pop up recently on the ZR2 Colorado and previously the fifth-gen Z/28 Camaro. Whether it comes with the Formula-1 inspired dampers or not is still yet to be seen, but it seems as if they are good enough for the Z/28 and ZR2 they should do just fine on the ZR1.
Since Chevrolet decided to adorn the new ZR1 with what some would deem an aggressive rear wing, we can safely say that the car will be substantially more track focused than the preceding generation. That would lend credence to the theory that the Multimatic shocks–which use spool valves instead of the traditional deflected disc design–will be used due to their resistance to fade and consistent performance over long distances and heavy track use.
The car can also be seen with what appears to be an adjustable front splitter with canards at each end. The front fenders are wider and the venting for the brake system appears to be enlarged substantially.
Obviously this is a much more aggressive aero package than we’ve ever seen on a Corvette and we’ve seen several different iterations of the package being used in testing. This may mean that Chevrolet will offer different aero options, which they have already done with the Z06. Either way, this range topper is shaping up to be much like the fifth-gen Z/28 was to the Camaro line with a no-holds-bared approach to speed.
Only time will tell what the ZR1 has in store for us, but we expect it to bow at this year’s Detroit Auto Show which is just a little over a month away. Will it redefine what a Corvette is and what it is capable of? We think so, and we can’t wait to find out. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.