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Up Next: The C8 Corvette ZR1

C7 C8 Corvette ZR1 2019 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030

GM engineers were recently caught field testing camouflaged, bagged up prototypes of a future C8 Corvette. From its wide body style, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2R tires, and center-exit exhaust, one would assume that it’s just an old mule of a Corvette Z06. Except, it isn’t. It’s the 2025 C8 Corvette ZR1 supercar, and spy photos confirm a few details that MC&T had originally, exclusively reported a year ago. Recognizable prototypes of the ZR1 were also spotted in the wild back in 2022, as well.

2025/2026 Corvette ZR1: Details

Indeed, the C8 Corvette ZR1 will look similar to the Z06, but there will be notable differences. These include an air extractor in the front of the car in place of a storage area, similar to the C8 Corvette Z06 GT3.R, pictured at the bottom of this article. This should both cut out unnecessary weight, as well as improve downforce for added high speed stability and improved front end grip during corner entry on the road course. Moreover, larger front fascia air intakes and pronounced chin spoiler will help separate the ZR1 from the Z06 in design, while also aiding in both downforce and cooling. We could also see a new wheel design with the 2025 Corvette ZR1.

2023 2024 2025 2026 C8 Corvette Z06 ZR1 Zora Center Exit Exhuast
The C8 Corvette Z06, ZR1 and Zora will all share a center-exit exhaust.

Secondly, even as the ZR1 features a center-mounted exhaust like its little brother, on the other side of the pipe work is a DOHC V8 engine that’s based on the LT6 architecture found in the 670 hp Z06, but features a pair of turbochargers to crank up the output closer to 900 horsepower. An absolutely absurd amount. Per MC&T intelligence, this engine is known as the LT7. It will also maintain its 5.5L displacement, but will swap out the high-revving flat-plane crankshaft in place of a more traditional cross-plane crank for better balancing and durability. Along with the extra power, the cross-plane twin-turbo V8 formula will give the C8 Corvette ZR1 a notably different personality than the screaming, howling LT6 found in the Z06.

Like all other C8 variants, an 8-speed Tremec DCT will send power directly to the rear wheels in mere milliseconds.

The ZR1 is to be the ultimate rear-wheel-drive Corvette, and likely be one of the last future C8 Corvette variants to be powered exclusively by an internal combustion engine. Ahead of the C8 ZR1, there’s the Zora hybrid hypercar expected, as well as an electric Corvette sedan in the not-too-distant future.

C8 Corvette GT3 front air extractor
Image copyright Steven Pham, Muscle Cars & Trucks.

Written by Manoli Katakis

Muscle Cars & Trucks was founded by Manoli Katakis - an automotive media veteran that has been covering the latest car news since 2009. His journalism has uncovered dozens of major product changes, updates, plans, and cancellations long before automakers were ready to make things official.

Some highlights over the years of his reporting include the uncovering of the Zora trademark before anybody else reported on the coming of a mid-engine Corvette, as well as the dead-accurate reporting of the coming of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, two years before it hit the market, and even before the debut of the concept vehicle. This type of reporting has immediately continued here, with reports of the original seventh-generation Camaro plans being shelved, as well as what's in store for the Chevrolet Silverado.

Some of his work can be found on massive automotive media outlets, such as Motor1. He also has been a guest on the 910AM Radio Station with Detroit News auto critic Henry Payne, as well as the enthusiast-oriented Camaro Show podcast.

Over the years, Manoli has interviewed various automotive industry titans, leaders, and people that make things happen otherwise. These include figureheads such as GM CEO Mary Barra, GM President Mark Reuss, automotive aftermarket icon Ken Lingenfelter, Dodge firebrand Tim Kuniskis, along with various chief engineers of vehicles such as the Ford F-150 & Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro & Corvette, and many more.

At MC&T, Manoli is taking his journalism expertise, deeply planted sources, driving abilities, and automotive industry knowledge to new levels, covering more vehicles and brands than ever before. This is the place where you will continue to read groundbreaking stories about American performance vehicles, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles. Here is where you’ll also read insights and quotes from various automotive subject matter experts on the latest relevant products, as well as some of the latest official news from their manufacturers.

Fun facts: he also once beat Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner in an autocross with a Chevrolet Bolt EV. The biggest vehicle he’s ever driven is a John Deere mining truck. Besides a go-kart, the smallest vehicle he’s driven has been a Hyundai i10. He’s also spent time in the cockpit of various American performance vehicle icons, including the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Dodge Challenger Demon, and Ford Mustang GT350R. He has reviewed dozens of trucks, SUVs, and performance vehicles over the years.

One of his favorite new vehicles on the market today happens to be the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. He is also a card carrying member of the Sports Car Club of America, and regularly participates in Detroit Region autocross events.

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