Chevrolet Didn’t Always Plan To Make A C7 Corvette ZR1

Chevrolet has admitted that it didn’t always intend on creating a ZR1 variant of the C7-generation Corvette.

During an interview with GM Authority, Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter said the C7 was created in a rush and the carmaker never looked far enough ahead to envisage a track-focused variant with over 750 hp on tap and some over-the-top aerodynamic aids.

“We don’t always do a ZR1 every generation of Corvette… we weren’t looking that far ahead. We did the C7 in a panic coming out of bankruptcy, with the C6 being long in the tooth.

“We weren’t focused on the whole lifecycle. Just get the standard car and the Z06 out there, because we needed something to replace the C6. That was kind of our mindset through the development of the architecture,” Juechter admitted.

Although Chevrolet didn’t plan on making a ZR1 from the moment of the C7’s inception, it did start to ponder the possibility after introducing the 650 hp Z06.

“When we introduced the Z06, we left it all on the field. We couldn’t think of anything we could do to make this car better than it is. That was true at the time, but a couple years later, we started working on some ideas. What could we do to actually up our game even more?” he said.

Thanks to its potent LT5 supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine, chassis modifications, and aerodynamic elements, the Corvette ZR1 has the potential to be an absolute animal on a track. In fact, Juechter recently told members of the media that the company will aim to clock a sub-7-minute lap at the Nurburgring in 2018.


  • SteersUright

    Sitting inside the C7, it definitely feels like a rush-job as the interior quality is pretty horrid for a car that hovers around $65k+. I guess this is the Porsche 996 equivalent for Corvettes. After the 996 came the beautiful 997, so hopefully that means the C8 will finally have proper interior quality that rivals the best in its class.

    • Matt

      The corvette has sat in an interesting class arguably since it’s creation as it’s always been sold as (& often did) the best bang for the buck in a sports car. You want supercar performance or do you want a luxury interior? This has been the dichotomy for the vette in many ways.
      The c7s interior is league’s above the c6. Yes it’s not Porsche quality/fit & finish but it’s very close to in terms of quality inside to say the f type ($59k for the four cylinder) or an m4 ($66k) vs the stingray @ $55k.

      The zr1 is imo really for those who want a vette that’s low volume production or the best vette out there(2000 units @ least for the 1st year). I think gm knows this as they set the zr1 price arguably alot higher over the $80k zo6 (as they did the c6zr1)

      Yes I can only hope the ME vette will finally equal to Porsche inside without the price hike some think it’ll take to build. There’s gonna be two new dohc engines for the c8. During the first year while the c7 remains a model, gm is building 9000 (4.2L) & 5000(5.5L) units respecfully of the 2 ME models along with 14k units of the c7 for the 2019 year & 14k units of the 6.3 ohc in the ME. (=42k units)

      In 2016 a total of 40.6k vettes were produced of which 65% were the base/base convertible.

      if gm prices the base midengine vette into the $100k+, then they will be playing in another league (which has so many great cars in it now) & it’ll need to prove it belongs in part by it’s quality inside.

      • Status

        Nothing from GM says the C7 will remain in production when the C8 debuts. There haven’t been any major plant upgrades to accommodate two factory lines of both cars, so there is little to suggest that keeping the C7 going is likely to happen. These stories are born from a deep-seated resistance to the fact that the C8 is going to a be mid-rear engined car instead of being yet another front-mid.

        • Matt

          The gm papers that got out a week or two ago does correspond to keeping the c7 for a few more years along with the c8. In the doc, “corvette y1” relates to the c7, “corvette y2” relating to the c8. Y1 being around until the model through 2021. The doc has projections through 2024 which y2 goes all the way through.
          The plant was expanded in 2015, originally stated for paint/450,000sqft but in 2016 through sat pics showed 870,000sqft expansion.

  • JBsC6

    The c7 is awesome. With crazy performance of the stingray, the z06 and now the zr1. I think the interior is awesome as well.

  • Vassilis

    I do remember them saying a ZR1 wasn’t in their plans when the Z06 was introduced.

  • Tumbi Mtika

    But they did. So I don’t care.

  • brn

    Given the stunning performance of the Z06, I was surprised that they continued onto the ZR1. It’s kinda reached the point of absurdity (not in a bad way).

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