Chevrolet has revealed its fastest production Corvette ever at the Dubai motor show this week.
Sporting a huge racing-style rear wing that wouldn’t look out of place on Le Mans sports car, the fastest 'Vette needs all of the downforce it can gather to keep it on the road. Lurking underneath the bonnet is Chevrolet’s new LT5 engine - a 6.2-litre supercharged V8 petrol boasting a staggering 563kW of power and 969Nm of torque.
Sending power to the rear wheels is the choice of either a seven-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission.
The engine sits underneath what Chevrolet calls a “halo hood” which features a carbon fibre two-piece bonnet bulge. One element of which is actually part of the intercooler cover so it moves when the engine is on, reminiscent of the ‘shaker hoods’ over old-school muscle cars.
Beyond producing a huge power output, Chevrolet engineers have tuned nearly every element of the ZR1 for maximum performance.
Helping keep the ‘Vette stuck on the road is a new front underwing which increases downforce and, on standard models, a low set rear wing that provides 70 per cent more downforce than the Corvette Z06’s aerodynamic package. The standard package is good enough to help reach a top speed of 338km/h.
But if track times are more important, an optional ZTK Performance Package brings a range of high performance extras. These include the tall, racing-style rear wing that is two-way adjustable and new Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres which replace the standard Michelin Pilot Super Sport rubber.
Executive vice president of Global Product Development, Mark Reuss, says the current crop of supercars have a new rival.
“I’ve never driven a Corvette like this before, and nobody else has either, because there’s never been one like this before,” he said. “Its unprecedented performance puts all other global supercars on notice that the ZR1 is back.”
While there has been no official confirmation from Holden that it will import Chevrolet’s sports cars, the Lion brand has promised to add a “V8-powered sports car” to Australian showrooms and it's looking likely that both the next-generation Camaro and Corvette will be available in right-hand drive.
Furthermore, Chevrolet wants the Corvette to become a global flagship sports car, in the same way the Ford Mustang expanded beyond North America with its most recent model.
The eighth generation C8 Corvette is expected to ditch its front-engine layout, putting the V8 in the middle to help the bow tie brand compete with the best European sports cars, including the Porsche 911, Ferrari 488 GTB and McLaren 720S.
In 2015, American publication Car and Driver published spy photos of a Holden Commodore Ute that it claimed was being used as a test mule for the new mid-engine Corvette.
The latest update to America’s most famous sports car has been tipped to launch at the 2018 Detroit motor show, five years after the seventh generation model launched at the same event.
Until then, the new ZR1 is unlikely to be converted to right-hand drive and offered in Australia through any official channel, but could be available through specialist conversion companies.