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.
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.