Chevrolet officially announced the 2009 Corvette ZR1 – an American supercar that not only establishes new benchmarks for production-based power and performance, but challenges global competitors with a world-beating driving experience that also comes with a world-beating price of entry.
“The king has returned,” said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. “The new ZR1 upends the notion of what an American supercar can deliver, with performance that trumps exotics that cost two, three or four times as much – and does so with the driving ease of a daily commuter.”
The specialized components of the new ZR1 work harmoniously to deliver the most powerful and fastest automobile ever produced by General Motors. Performance estimates will be announced closer to vehicle’s summer 2008 launch.
“Preliminary testing shows the ZR1 bests the highly respected Corvette Z06 in every performance category, from acceleration and braking, to cornering grip and top speed,” said Peper. “It all boils down to the power-to-weight ratio and the ZR1’s is exceptional – better than the Porsche 911 GT2, the Ferrari 599 and even the Lamborghini LP640. In fact, the ZR1 is expected to be the first production Corvette to achieve a top speed of at least 200 mph.”
Supercharged LS9 engine
The new LS9 6.2L small-block engine is the phenomenal power plant the supports the Corvette ZR1’s performance capability. The enabler of the LS9’s phenomenal performance and refinement is a large, positive-displacement Roots-type supercharger with a new, four-lobe rotor design. It is augmented with an integrated charge cooling system that reduces inlet air temperature for maximum performance.
A sixth-generation supercharger developed by Eaton helps the LS9 make big power and torque at lower rpm and carries it in a wide arc to 6,600 rpm, as it pushes enough air to help the engine maintain power through the upper levels of the rpm band – the area where supercharged performance tends to diminish. Heavy-duty and lightweight reciprocating components enable the engine’s confident high-rpm performance.
The LS9 is hand-assembled at GM’s Performance Build Center and incorporates specialty processes typically seen in racing engines to produce a highly refined and precise product. For example, cast iron cylinder liners are inserted in the aluminum block and are finish-bored and honed with a deck plate installed. The deck plate simulates the pressure and minute dimensional variances applied to the block when the cylinder heads are installed, ensuring a higher degree of accuracy that promotes maximum cylinder head sealing, piston ring fit and overall engine performance.