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Old 08-29-2008, 02:10 PM   #1
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Car and Driver Drives the ZR-1 at GM's MCR test track

Quote:
2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 - First Drive Review

A car nobody needs hits a track nobody knows for a ride nobody will forget.



Just past the curve in which Bruce McLaren bought it, and right before the corner where Niki Lauda had his face burned off, we *realize the truth: General Motors must still be mad about our review of the 1980 Olds Omega Brougham. The company is trying to kill us.

Back in 2004, GM rolled the last steaming clod of asphalt onto its Milford Road Course (MRC), a 2.9-mile handling circuit at the company’s proving grounds an hour northwest of Detroit. The “Lutzring,” as employees have dubbed it in honor of GM’s meat-eating vice-chairman, Robert Lutz, plunges 135 feet from hilltop to trough and was pieced together like bathroom plumbing from some of the more treacherous corners in motor*sports. The 20 elbows, kinks, and blind whoop-de-dos are crowned by the 45-degree banked “Toilet Bowl,” which resembles the Nürburgring’s Karussell and which has already had its guardrails replaced at least twice. Only 16 of GM’s 266,000 employees are permitted to drive the MRC.

Naturally, a man-eating track you’ve never seen before is just the place you want to be in a 638-hp Corvette you’ve never driven before.

Speaking of Corvettes, our February 2008 cover story on the new supercharged ZR1 all but supplied you with blueprints to build your own. Hoping to squeeze the slavering media like ripe kumquats for more ink, GM invited us to the Lutzring for a brief half-day nibble of the $105,000 ZR1 before the full feast of testing commences this fall. Obviously, the gambit worked.

The track’s nefarious reputation notwithstanding, the ZR1 is just the aluminum-frame, carbon-fiber-paneled, balsa-wood-floored Corvette Z06 with afterburners, right? Which means it will be a little vague in the steering and a bit floppy at the apex but basically fun and, above all, safe. Turn up the A/C, tune in the XM, and let the electronics make us heroes on a track where something like 265,984 people dare not tread.

Certainly, the ZR1’s cockpit has the familiar Bat Cave atmosphere of the regular Corvette, except for the manifold-pressure gauge where the voltage meter normally lives. That, and the carbon-fiber hood’s window, which lets you watch the engine twitch in rhythm to the gas pedal. So far, so what?

Then, while exiting the pits on our first lap, the ZR1’s 6.2-liter LS9 V-8 suddenly cracked the heavens with a feral wolf call. The accelerative g’s rolled into us like the breakers of a Category Five, and breathing became strangely difficult. Uh-oh.

Turn One of the Lutzring starts as a long, seemingly predictable sweeper. Then it kinks inward, then jerks straight, then suddenly cramps in again before lurching up a blind hill that death-drops the car into a ditch. After that you’re tossed over another blind crest with a negative camber pitched to slide the Corvette sideways into next Christmas. Assuming the car doesn’t go airborne.

In the ensuing Toilet Bowl, there were safety cones—which we scattered, ingesting some and dragging others to the next turn, which looked suspiciously like the patch that claimed Jimmy Clark. Then our first lap got uglier. There were screams.

Here’s what we learned: The ZR1 is about as suitable for a Lutzring virgin as an alcohol-fueled Funny Car is for driver’s ed.
We also learned that the ZR1’s mufflers are smaller and their flaps slam open earlier than a Z06’s, waking the dead from Milford to Sleetmute. And the LS9’s accelerative violence will be terrifying to anyone who hasn’t saddled up a Tomahawk cruise missile. Many passengers will simply freak out. Even engineers who’ve done thousands of miles in ZR1s stiffened up and went for the handholds when we floored it (okay, maybe it was just us).

Exactly 170 pounds heavier than the Z06—most recently, 3180 pounds on our scale—the ZR1, GM claims, will knock big, hairy 10ths off the 505-hp Z06’s times. GM also says the ZR1 will rip to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds, to 100 mph in 7.0 seconds, and through the quarter-mile in 11.3 seconds at 131 mph. It’ll go 205 mph and pull 1.05 g on a skidpad.

We don’t doubt it. Uh-uh. No sir.

Vague? Floppy? Here, too, the ZR1 seems to stride past the Z06. To help suck up the steering flex, engineers replaced an aluminum steering-column shaft with a stiffer steel link, a change for all ’09 Corvettes. There are also ZR1-specific bushing changes in the suspension, as well as a new variable-ratio steering rack that enlivens the response.

But perhaps the most credit for the ZR1’s feistier helm should go to the Michelin *Pilot Sport PS2 run-flats. In comparative tire tests during the ZR1’s development, GM engineers say they were “blown away” by the Michelins. We felt a breeze, too. The ZR1’s steering still doesn’t have the leanness or data-bit flow of a Porsche 911’s, but placing and holding the nose where it’s needed is easier and takes less guesswork and prayer. Tail twitch is more control*lable, and the Brembo carbon-ceramic rotors (15.5 inches front, 15.0 rear) and monoblock calipers have the familiar, progressive bite of iron brakes without much danger of fade or shimmy.

On a pizza-pocked public road, the ZR1 rumbles more quietly on its wider tires and shows less body heaving and impact crash than the Z06. An early “Attaboy!” seems in order for the Magnetic Selective Ride Control, the system of fast-as-electrons variable shock absorbers that costs $1995 on the base Corvette, is not available on the Z06, and comes standard on ZR1s. One cool nuance: On hard launches, the computer turns rear rebound to zero to hold the back end down for better traction. Yet, flip as we might, we couldn’t tell much difference between the ZR1’s sport and touring settings.

The double-plate clutch is light, just an undetectable few ounces stiffer than the Z06’s, GM confirms. Rollouts and upshifts happen with doughy smoothness. A long throttle pedal puts the Hulk trigger toward the back, so you can cruise lazily in the ZR1 through town returning perhaps 20 mpg. (GM boasts that the ZR1 is the thriftiest 600-hp car on the market, so back off, Greenpeace!)

All this Ferrari-stomping power and Z06-shaming refinement comes in two basic flavors, order code 1ZR for $105,000 (including the $1700 gas-guzzler levy) and the 3ZR for $10,000 more. The latter adds a Bose sound system, navigation, and a leather dash wrap. Chrome wheels ($2000), extra-cost paint ($300 to $750), and Corvette museum delivery ($490) are the only other options. GM figures it can build 1800 copies a year if the current worm-eaten market will take them.

A few years ago GM management wondered what a $100,000 Corvette would be like. You have the answer. If only they had thought up a similar trick for the Omega Brougham.

Oops.
Quote:
PROJECTED FUEL ECONOMY (MFR’S EST):
EPA city driving: 14 mpg
EPA highway driving: 20 mpg

not bad for 600 hp^^
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Old 08-29-2008, 02:19 PM   #2
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That was a fun read.
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Old 08-29-2008, 02:25 PM   #3
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haha indeed. only 16 of 266K. dayumm!!!. i like how people who test drive the car still get the chillss
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Old 09-01-2008, 03:53 PM   #4
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I get the impression that the ZR1 might be fast.
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Old 09-01-2008, 04:15 PM   #5
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THE ZR1 IS AWESOME AND WILL GIVE EVEN THE FORD GT A RUN FOR ITS MONEY
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Old 09-01-2008, 04:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gladiatoro View Post
THE ZR1 IS AWESOME AND WILL GIVE EVEN THE FORD GT A RUN FOR ITS MONEY
A run for it's money? the ZR1 will blow the doors off a GT!!
( Especially considering the fact that they don't make GT's anymore...)
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Old 09-01-2008, 06:24 PM   #7
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The beat the GT... so I'm pretty sure the ZR1 makes the GT want to kill itself... oh wait... it's already dead!!!
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Old 09-01-2008, 07:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gladiatoro View Post
THE ZR1 IS AWESOME AND WILL GIVE EVEN THE FORD GT A RUN FOR ITS MONEY
heck, the Z06 already did that.
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Old 09-01-2008, 07:08 PM   #9
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I thought I said that??? Just messin' with ya DGthe3
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Old 09-02-2008, 01:01 PM   #10
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Actually the FORD GT corners better due to a MID ENGINE layout which is considered the ultimate layout for SUPERCARS having a perfect balance front to rear, 0 to 60 real close 3.4 for the ZR1 and the FORD GT 3.4 depending on driver of course , 1/4 mile ford gt 11.7 ZR1 11.3 but TOP SPEED the GT wins at 212 mph insane , with the ZR1 coming in at 205 mph (car and driver) so NO the ZR1 doesn't kill it sorry plus the GT looks pretty damn good too...

Last edited by gladiatoro; 09-02-2008 at 01:57 PM.
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Old 09-02-2008, 02:53 PM   #11
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Theoretically the GT should corner better. If you look at objective handling tests and lap times, the Z06 outdoes the GT. Sorry, man. It's fact. If you rely on car and driver, the Z06 does beat the GT. They did their lightning lap test of both cars. The Z06 was the first to break the 3 minute mark. The GT came close, but didn't.

Acceleration from 0-60 is a very finnicky measurement because so many factors come into play. This is also why it's such a great objective performance measurement. They tie in the 0-60 (and I must remind you that sources aren't the same so they could very well differ) but a lot of that comes down to grip off the line.

The Z06 has been quoted at 3.4 seconds 0-60 by some sources so to say that it doesn't meet the GTs performance is silly.

http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/...6+page-17.html

http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/...e+page-11.html

^ Proof. The Z06 gave the GT a run for it's money and then some. The ZR1 will only do better. Cornering is one aspect of performance, but with the ZR1s 640hp, it'll have quite a bit more power and torque which will help it in the straights compounding on the areas where the Z06 already matched it.

When I hear some people compare two cars in terms of 0-60 and 1/4mile times it makes me realize how futile some of this bench racing is. The GT does 0-60 in 3.4 seconds so it's clearly better than the Corvette. Silly.
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Old 09-02-2008, 03:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gladiatoro View Post
Actually the FORD GT corners better due to a MID ENGINE layout which is considered the ultimate layout for SUPERCARS having a perfect balance front to rear, 0 to 60 real close 3.4 for the ZR1 and the FORD GT 3.4 depending on driver of course , 1/4 mile ford gt 11.7 ZR1 11.3 but TOP SPEED the GT wins at 212 mph insane , with the ZR1 coming in at 205 mph (car and driver) so NO the ZR1 doesn't kill it sorry plus the GT looks pretty damn good too...
actually a 50/50 weight distribution is ideal for cornering because it loads the outside tires evenly. the zr-1 is closer to that mark with a 52/48 distribution while the GT sports 43/57, so the ford has better layout for acceleration but not in the lateral g's area that the ZR-1 has. as for the 0-60? there will be people beating that number... like you said about the GT, depending on driver and course. wait untill some real drivers get behind the wheel, i wouldnt be surprised if the ZR-1 broke into 10s on a good day. last but not least that top speed is acheived by a car with smaller tires. those tires create resistance which is part of the top speed culprit. a BMW M5 without speed limiter will run 210+ mph, slap on 275s on that car and it cant break 195. the corvette is running on some massive tires whereas the GT has modest 235s up front. once again a sacrifice that is made for superior handling to the GT. dont get me wrong the GT is a GREAT car, but its a discontinued product for more money that doesnt put down the goods like the ZR-1.
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Old 09-02-2008, 06:06 PM   #13
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all good points I just think the FORD GT looks SEXIER and more EXOTIC than the ZR1 , mid engine cars tend to to that to me lol.. even if it is just a little bit outclassed but you have to remember the GT was developed years ago and technology keeps moving ahead so of course the ZR1 is a bit quicker a little better lateral g's etc.. it's just the nature of the beast . What the GT does have is heritage and pedigree going way back to the racing GT 40s , my choice would be the FORD GT , now if I could only afford it lol...
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Old 09-02-2008, 06:22 PM   #14
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The Z06 was in production when the GT was. But yes, the GT does have heritage. Not to mention it's nearly identical to the original GT40. I hear it's a very satisfying and rewarding car to drive. I've heard less good things about some Corvette's. So it has that going for it. Great car and beautiful to boot.
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