Obviously the Chevy Corvette – top speed 198 mph (317 km/h) -wasn’t enough for lovers of macho American supercars, for the Corvette ZR1 appeared in 2009. Coyly described as the performance version of the Corvette’ and nicknamed ‘The Blue Devil’ during development, this fabulous flying machine has a supercharged LS9 6.2 litre small-block V8 engine delivering 638 bhp – the most powerful ever to sit in a Chevrolet.
The two-door ZR1 coupe with its sculpted cabin and unfussy styling sits up on large rear wheels, giving this streamlined star a menacing appearance even at rest, as though it just can’t wait to start chewing tarmac. Chevrolet spent years perfecting the model that represents its serious entry in the world supercar stakes. The chassis is made of aluminium and the bodywork has many carbon-fibre panels to cut weight, including the bonnet, wings, rocker extensions and splitter.
The ZR1 has a six-speed manual gearbox, limited-slip differential and an advanced MSRC (Magnetic Selective Ride Control) system that automatically adjusts the suspension during rapid starts and irons out bumps along the way. There is ABS and the huge brakes share their carbon-ceramic design with Ferrari racing cars. Corvette models over the years have been brutishly fast and often great to look at, but never by the wildest stretch of imagination have they ever been described as good all-round cars to drive.
All that changes with the ZR1. This is a great driver’s car. The engine is both docile and savage, the beast dawdles happily around town turning heads, has frightening acceleration and straight-line speed, sticks to the road like a rash when it corners and slams the occupants against their safety belts when the brakes are applied at speed. It may be the most expensive Corvette yet, but it’s the best by far.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
6.2 l (378 cid) V8
Top speed of 205 mph (331 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 3.1 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
It never hurts to be ambitious – at the ZR1’s razzmatazz launch an enthusiastic Chevrolet employee boldly announced ‘we can’t wait to take on any Porsche and we’re going to be right there with Ferrari and Lamborghini’. Time will tell!