It’s hard to hate something that looks as beautiful as the 2012 Corvette ZR1. Okay, so that’s our opinion, but visually this beauty is not just skin deep. This is my idea of a conversation between the design team and the driver of the 2012 ZR1; for this scene it’s the Ground Control (“GC”) and the Rocket Pilot (“RP”).
GC: Are you ready for the ride of your life?! We have really set the mark with this beast of a car. Please find your way into the vehicle while we initiate the pre-flight checks. This car should closely resemble the circuit fighting heritage we have been producing to win Le Mans and other endurance racing events amount the GT class.
RP: Copy. This looks as good as a diamond on a sunny day. Carbon Flash Metallic black paint is deadly. I can’t help but noticed a number of head-turns from on-lookers as we prepare for launch. I swear this body styling could kill old people. The low front and aggressive stance really makes you wonder if it’s safe or not. Are you sure the front lip won’t get caught on the road? It looks as if the car was designed to tackle the F-22 Raptor with its angular body panels, wheel-well vents and sharp back overhang.
GC: That’s right, we studied how to produce a road going version of our race cars. The low front will provide better handling, but we advise constant attention while moving on the road. We planted the 6.2 liter LS9 aluminum block V8 at the heart to help propel this monster down any road. Keep in mind that it delivers 638 HP at 6500 rpm with 604 ft-lb of torque at 3800 rpm. So burying your foot in the gas pedal may cause some undesired results. Extra care must be given before performing the “floor-it” maneuver. …Don’t worry about aggressive corners as the dry-sump oil system will prevent the engine from oil starvation.
GC: We have also equipped this rocket with Magnetic Selective Ride Control matted to a track-level suspension, and a launch control system with Performance Traction Management (PTM) technology that optimizes traction for greater and more consistent road-going performance. We have deceleration covered with Brembo® carbon-ceramic brakes and Michelin® PS Cup tires. As a matter of fact, the vented and cross-drilled rotors on the ZR1 measure 15.5 inches (394 mm) in diameter in the front and 15 inches (380 mm) in diameter in the rear – making them among the largest carbon-ceramic rotors available on any production vehicle. Expect sharp G’s under heavy braking, so make sure you’re strapped in tightly. As for those corners these tires will help achieve a level of grip that was unheard of on our previous model.
RP: Roger. That’s not a problem. One thing I did notice is that the interior is bit different but not. I really like the look and feel of the leather three-spoke steering wheel with micro-suede shift boot. The color stitching really adds some nice pop with some color. Yet, I must report that the interior still feels somewhat the same regardless of the cosmetic enhancements.
GC: Copy. Don’t mind the interior as it does not impact the driving experience. We are working on redesigning the cabin through our next iteration, but for the time being please enjoy what we have provided.
RP: Copy. On-board instruments are showing we are all good. Positive engine temperatures and the gear box feels good as I play through the gears.
GC: Roger. Please initiate one final safety check.
RP: Copy. Systems checked… restraints tightened..
GC: Initiating launch countdown…
RP: Roger. Thanks for this opportunity.
GC: Copy that. Enjoy.
Images by: Corvette and AutoBlog Media
Engine: 6.2L SUPERCHARGED V-8 (LS9)
Displacement (cu in / cc): 376 / 6162
Bore & stroke (in / mm): 4.06 x 3.62 / 103.25 x 92
Block and Head material: cast aluminum
Compression ratio: 9.1:1 (before boost)
Horsepower / kW: 638 / 476 @ 6500
Torque (lb-ft / Nm): 604 / 819 @ 3800
Fuel: premium required
EPA-estimated fuel economy (city / hwy): 14 / 21
Transmission: Tremec TR6060 close-ratio six-speed manual
Traction control: electronic traction control; active handling (Magnetic Selective Ride Control)
Brakes: Front and rear power-assisted Brembo® carbon-ceramic disc with 6-piston front and four-piston rear calipers, cross-drilled rotors; ABS std.
Rotor diameter (in / mm): front: 15.5 / 394 rear: 15 / 380
Wheels/Tires: front: 19-inch x 10-inch rear: 20-inch x 12-inch
Tires: Michelin Pilot Sport 2
Curb weight (lb / kg): 3353 / 1521
Weight distribution (% front / rear): 51 / 49