Officially announced in a GM press release, the Corvette ZR1 or “Blue Devil”, is General Motor’s fastest, most expensive Corvette for the 2009 model year. With a $100,000 price tag, the ZR1 has the most powerful engine available for everyday driving or recreational use. The 376 cubic inch, 6.2 liter, LS9 V8 engine delivers 638 horsepower and 604 lb-ft. of torque; which allows the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 to go from 0 to 60 in 3.5 seconds. Each Corvette LS9 engine is hand-built at GM’s Performance Build Center. Additionally, the ZR1 has a maximum speed of 205 miles per hour and is marketed as the most fuel-efficient engine for engines classified as having 600 horsepower or greater.
The premise of the LS9 engine was to design a reliable, low-maintenance engine. Thanks to the new positive-displacement supercharger, designers achieved their goal by manufacturing an engine that is quieter and more fuel-efficient than previous Corvette models. Moreover, the engine’s new features calls for a large displacement and four-rotor design to diversify the 2.3 liter supercharger and allow it to have more power at lower rpm’s. On the other hand, when running at high rpm’s, maximum air intake is achieved by super-cooling air inducted into the integrated cooling system. External features of the cooling system include a raised hood, complete with a poly-carbonate window, which allows external viewing of the engine when the hood is closed.
Other features on the ZR1 include a 6-speed manual transmission, carbon-fiber body, and larger tires. This helps to assist the ZR1 to have a fuel economy of 24 mpg (highway). The ZR1’s improvements over previous Corvette models include wider fenders, better protected carbon-fiber roof panels, and new moldings. The only downside to all of the new changes in the ZR1 is that it is much heavier than the Z06, due to the new supercharged engine. However, unlike the Z06, the ZR1 offers a much better braking ability, thanks to larger and stronger brakes, and the larger and wider tires assist with greater traction control. The chrome-spoke wheels are 19” in the front and 20” in the rear, and are dressed in Michelin Sport tires.
When manufactured, the ZR1 will be available in seven colors: Atomic Orange Metallic, Black, Blade Silver Metallic, Cyber Gray Metallic, Jetstream Blue Metallic Tintcoat, Velocity Yellow Tintcoat and Victory Red. Elements of blue will be featured on all ZR1’s engines, brake calipers and interior door badges, hence its nickname “Blue Devil”. Optional chrome wheels and a luxury package are available as upgrades.
The 2009 Corvette ZR1 is available in dealers late summer 2008.