Testing for the upcoming C8 Corvette ZR1 has it its apex, as a recent sighting has placed a prototype for the forthcoming supercar making its laps around the legendary Nürburgring. Firstly, the covers masking the aerodynamic body have come off, showcasing intakes, vents and extractors currently not present on supercar-beating C8 Corvette Z06. Second, the videos confirm what we have originally reported on nearly two years ago: the C8 Corvette ZR1 is turbocharged.
We can only hope Corvette ZR1 engineers can grab an official lap time while they’re out there.
C8 Corvette ZR1 Nürburgring Test: Details
The videos, posted by Corvette Blogger, and CarSpyMedia, offer plenty of angles for viewers to see the car in action, complete with the high wing, center exhaust, and a pretty gnarly-looking hood scoop at the front. We can also see the car’s widebody design, which is present on the Z06 and E-Ray, measuring 3 inches wider than that of the Stingray.
As for the engine that the C8 Corvette ZR1 will be sporting, it’s something to get excited about, as it will be a higher-output variant of the LT6 engine with two turbochargers. This 5.5L TTV8 engine will be known as the LT7. This top-shelf V8 will stand as the most powerful V8 engine that GM has ever put in a production car (but will sell you even more powerful hardware in the form of the 1,004 hp, 10.4L ZZ632 crate engine), with output expected to be around 850-900 horsepower. And yes, despite the twin-turbos, which will likely lead to a lower rev limit, as well as a lower compression ratio, it’s evident from the videos that the LT7 will keep the flat-plane crankshaft, foregoing the rotational balance and robustness of a cross-plane. The upside is that it will keep that exotic car exhaust tone that so many people love on the Z06. Couple that with the whirling spools of the turbos, and we’ve got ourselves an intoxicating soundtrack from the new Corvette ZR1. Like all other C8 variants, the engine will be mated to an 8-speed Tremec DCT that will send power directly to the rear wheels in milliseconds.
Seeing the C8 Corvette ZR1 taking on the ‘Ring also gives us a chance to talk about the other critical performance aspects of the car. We can expect to see the base C8 ZR1 fitted with the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires on the base model, which is the tire that comes standard on the Z06. However, customers will likely be able to upgrade to a more performance-focused set of rubber with Pilot Sport Cup 2R tires, as seen on the Z06 with the track-dominating Z07 package. That should provide optimal grip for the vehicle when taking on corners at high speeds.
The updated bodywork will make it easy for car spotters to tell apart the C8 Corvette ZR1 from the Z06, too. Just aft of the main side vents is a smaller duct that appears to add extra airflow, be it to the rear extractors, or to the rear brakes. There’s also a massive NACA duct up front, like the Corvette Z06 GT3.R, allowing helping that nose stick to the asphalt as the supercar powers around the tarmac at speed. This likely also means that new ZR1 will not have a front storage compartment, or it’s severely reduced.
2025 Corvette ZR1 Price, Production And Release Timeline
Based on how far along the car is in testing, the C8 Corvette ZR1 is set to begin production as a 2025 model year vehicle next fall, and will be built exclusively at the GM Bowling Green Assembly plant. Because of its mass-produced nature, this world-beating supercar is likely to cost a fraction of a Porsche 911 GT2 RS, and/or McLaren 750S. It could also show the upcoming Ford Mustang GTD a thing or two, as well.
The 2025 Corvette ZR1 would also enter the market as a bit of a white space vehicle, as it would severely overpower the aforementioned McLaren and Porsche, as well as the Ferrari 296 GTB. You’d have to reach real deep into the pocket book to find something more potent, like an Aston Martin Valhalla, Ferrari SF90 Stradale, or Lamborghini Revuelto. And those are all hybrids, where GM is leaving that on the table for now.
The Last Pure V8 Corvette?
While the advent of the C8 Corvette ZR1 is something to be excited about, its arrival will also bring and end to something. That’s because the new ZR1 is expected to be the very last C8 Corvette variant that won’t feature any form of electrification to its powertrain. After this is expected to be GM’s first hypercar, the Zora, which is expected to deliver over 1,000 horsepower thanks to the power of the LT7 and the assistance of a hybrid electric system that we currently see on the 2024 Corvette E-Ray. That also means all-wheel-drive for incredible launches and 0-60 times, and the power boost needed to cross the four-figure mark.
Beyond the hybrid Zora hypercar, there’s an all-electric Corvette in the works. Except this one has four doors, and is targeting Teslas and Porsche Taycans. The future C9 Corvette has been speculated to be purely electric, but with a waning consumer appetite for BEVs, that ambition could be scaled back to something akin to the E-Ray. As time marches on, we’ll await to see just what kind of bell tolls for the Corvette.