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Corvette ZR1 Supertest: What can the most powerful Corvette of all time do?

Rossen Gargolov
Corvette ZR1 Supertest
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Even if from a certain age it is hardly appropriate to press your nose against windows because something is behind the panes Hides interesting or even suggestive things. So the attraction of wanting to get intimate contact with the stimulating things in life will certainly hardly decrease over the years. Whether in the test of the C orvette ZR1 the object behind the pane is received with horror or enthusiasm, however - as in many other cases - depends entirely on the ideological point of view of the viewer.

Look, I'm not ashamed of anything

The viewing hatch in the meter-long carbon hood of the Corvette ZR1 is actually a statement in itself - one with the clear message: Look here, I'm ashamed of you nothing and stand one hundred percent by what I represent, perform and use. The graphic design of the engine cover, which is translucent behind the window, leaves no doubt that this is something big and huge in an eight-cylinder configuration. If there is one type of engine that will serve as one of the most striking examples of the archetype of the internal combustion engine in later decades, then it is this American icon: Of course, the test candidate is also a large-volume V8 engine with a single camshaft underneath and the minimum equipment of two valves per cylinder - one for the intake tract, a second for the exhaust, that's enough for the Corvette ZR1.

V8 engine with 105 HP per liter displacement

The structure of this engine, steeped in history, in the current version, however, belies the fact that the The simple configuration of the eight-cylinder is difficult to reconcile with what - as former Chancellor Kohl once put it - comes out of the back. A bumper engine is hardly entitled to a liter output of 105 hp, at least according to the European understanding of effort and result. The so far most powerful V8 from the same company was presented with an impressive 73.2 hp per liter displacement (test Corvette Z06).647 hp in the Corvette ZR1 is an increase of 26 percent compared to the seven-liter Z06 engine and develops 819 Newton meters at 3,800 rpm (Z06: 637 Nm at 4,800 rpm).

Against the background of the history of the development of this type of engine, these numbers sound almost as aloof as if the representation of power and torque were the result of an irrational magic trick. The 90-degree V-engine in the test candidate is not even the small block installed in the Corvette Z06 with eight by almost 900 cubic centimeters of individual displacement, but one with just 6,162 cm³ working volume. That's almost cute by American standards. Since no methanol or similar high-percentage from the drag strip is used here, the derivation of the service package must be different. What does not explicitly appear in the shop window in the Corvette ZR1 bonnet is the external pressure medium, which breathes into the eight-cylinder, which is moderately compressed with 9.1: 1, an important operating medium in an amount that makes the liberal power development possible in the first place: oxygen, that is in high doses. But don't breathe: the Eaton compressor, driven by a wide toothed belt, pressurizes the still can-sized combustion chambers with 0.72 bar.

It goes without saying that the interior of this all-aluminum engine hardly bears any resemblance to its starting point, the Corvette C6 engine. The Corvette ZR1 engine therefore works despite the conceptual similarities with its ancestral line as a veritable redesign. One that is assembled by hand by specially trained fitters using heavy-duty titanium connecting rods and sequential injection in the specially set up performance center in Wixom, Michigan. With 2.3 liters of air per revolution, the type R2300 screw compressor actually shovels so much oxygen into the combustion chambers that the test crew gasps when they perform to the full.

Corvette ZR1 sprints in 11.4 seconds to 200 km /h

Even if it sounds flat: The column of numbers listed in the measurement results of the Supertest does not fully reflect the exciting act of acceleration. Missing the factory specification (3.6 seconds) when sprinting up to 100 km /h in the test can be dismissed as a small blemish, because the difference (0.4 seconds) is easy to justify and its significance in practice is almost zero. At least the distance to the 512 hp Corvette Z06 (here you come to the super test of the Corvette Z06) is maintained, as the comparison of the numbers for the sprint up to 200 km /h shows: 11.4 seconds for the Corvette ZR1 are 13.6 Seconds for the Corvette Z06 opposite. And that despite the unfortunate weight difference of almost 100 kilograms, theunfortunately at the expense of the current top model.

Anyone who has ever had to prove their sensitivity in the accelerator and clutch pedal when accelerating a Corvette ZR1 knows about this highly precarious test: When the clutch is engaged, one millimeter too much on the accelerator pedal has little more than blue smoke after the start, brand Michelin, according to. If, on the other hand, the clutch is misused for too long as a diplomatic mediator between the grandiose torque on the one hand and the maximum transmission forces of the drive wheels, which have not been extremely wide for nothing, on the other, there is the risk of the irrepressible greed and greediness of the completely pitiless torque in this regard - Suspend monsters from engine. Who wants to risk that?

Top speed of an incredible 330 km /h

In complete contrast to what is considered to be typical American proof of performance, namely the stubborn performance orgy that is aimed at the imaginary point at the end of the straight the new Corvette ZR1 - like the Z06 before it - a range of services that goes far beyond that. We do not have to go into more detail at this point on the excellent cruiser qualities that still exist. They are set, even if the Corvette ZR1 is always closed at the start. The realistic chance of defying the resistance with the omnipotence of the 647 hp engine up to a speed of fabulous 330 km /h may be conducive to peace of mind - but it should rarely be considered as a practical everyday option. Both - the casual cruising at 80 km /h or the Vmax excursion beyond 300 km /h - is not half as successful in its effect on the happiness gene as the show that the ZR1 pulls off in the more demanding numbers.

Corvette ZR1 laps the Nürburgring in 7.38 minutes

As in the test, being able to burn over the Nordschleife of the Nürburgring in 7.38 minutes or enjoying the small circuit in Hockenheim in 1:09.7 minutes makes its or exciting explosiveness than listening to the babbling of the V8 at 80 km /h or the angry hurricane of the airstream at 330 km /h. As for the driving behavior of the Corvette ZR1, which now weighs 1,533 kilograms with a full tank, a somewhat more ambivalent picture emerges than in the previous individual test against the background of the broad supertest spectrum. On smooth slopes - such as in Hockenheim - still in an exemplary manner and with a firmly established, reliable driving program on the road, the top Corvette announces itself under the influence of the forces caused by the uneven road surface, as is evident, for example, on the up-and-down track of the Nordschleife step to their acceptance threshold. Whether it is the setup of the adaptive chassis that works with two selectable characteristics (sport and comfort) or whether it is minimally towards the front axleShifted weight distribution disturbs harmony in the border area, is difficult to define.

Perhaps it is simply due to the extra weight that the Corvette ZR1 has to give up some of the imperturbability, calmness and reliability in the border area, with which it was still at its first test appearance in Hockenheim could inspire so much. The steering, which works extremely directly around the central position, meets even more perfect conditions in terms of its transmission options with the even wider front tires (285/30 ZR 19). But it is precisely this almost exaggerated directness that causes the nervous driving behavior at high speed under the influence of the wheels, which also move strongly in the vertical direction. This inevitably has a counterproductive effect on the lines. The lever with which incidents of this kind could possibly be eliminated is called aerodynamics. Against the background of their dramatic performance, the front-engined athlete would certainly be dazzled if the lift values ​​measured in the wind tunnel on both axles were further minimized, or better: converted into downforce.

Corvette ZR1 with a bizarre air jump on the Nordschleife

At one of the key points on the Nordschleife, namely where the relief is greatest (approach to Quiddelbacher Höhe), the Corvette ZR1 shows a readiness to fly that can take on unusual forms for a land-based vehicle. The tricky thing about it: The axles do not evenly lose contact with the ground - which could be managed during landing - but only the rear axle, which is less heavily loaded and also has a slight lift. The recipe to tackle the extremely fast right-hand curve that follows shortly afterwards towards the airfield from a - shall we - concentrated rest phase and from the correct separation point is hardly possible after such a bizarre jump in the air.

The Corvette ZR1 is actually one of the most striking examples of the fact that, in the league of these extremely powerful super sports cars, significant progress in driving dynamics will no longer be achievable in the future if aerodynamic issues are not given greater consideration. As the test shows, it is no longer enough to improve performance. As the Michelin Pilot Sport ZP of the Corvette prove, the tires have now also reached a standard that, provided that they are acceptable on the road, no significant increase can be expected. Ultimately, even in the brake sector, it was possible to formulate a quality at an outstanding level. With a braking distance of only 32.2 meters from 100 km /h you have to be careful not to get hit from behind. What the Corvette ZR1's ability to accelerate, especially on winding roadsis concerned, there is of course no risk in this regard.

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