Car and Driver We Drive the 755-HP 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1!

755 horsepower and a prayer in the wind.

The Turn 11 and 12 complex at Road Atlanta, the final sequence of corners of one of North America’s greatest natural-terrain road-racing circuits, is no place for waffling commitment. A blind, plunging dive into a high-speed right-hand sweeper that leads onto the front straightaway, it has an intimidatingly narrow exit (and a looming concrete barrier) that makes for a sobering test of internal fortitude. Feeling out both it and the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1’s 755 horsepower is a bit like learning to juggle with live hand grenades. But Chevy’s pinnacle of front-engine Corvette evolution is a benevolent monster on the track. Respect its power and the ZR1 doesn’t flinch under duress or nervously protest midcorner commands. With its radical aero addenda pressing the car into the pavement at speed and working in concert with sticky Michelin tires and an array of clever electronics, the mightiest of C7 Corvettes shines the brightest at the edge of its performance envelope.

The Elements

Formal introductions and prototype ridealongs behind us, this is our first proper dance with the fourth-generation ZR1. Building upon the already hard-core Corvette Z06 with its optional Stage 3 performance upgrade, the ZR1 features menacing front bodywork that has been punched out and cut to ribbons to allow 40 percent more cooling air to reach the engine and drivetrain (there are 13 heat exchangers onboard in total). The ankle-chopping front splitter, including a racing-derived airfoil underneath that routes air up through the vented hood, helps the ZR1 generate more downforce than its sibling yet with less aerodynamic drag, as does a pedestal-mounted carbon-fiber rear wing mounted directly to the chassis.

The $2995 ZTK Track Performance package fitted to the targa models we drove (a convertible ZR1 also is available) goes a step further by adding a much bigger adjustable wing, removable end caps for the front splitter, specific tuning for the standard magnetorheological dampers, and Z06-spec Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 near-slick tires in place of the standard Michelin Pilot Super Sports (285/30ZR-19s in front, 335/25ZR-20s in back). Chevy claims ZTK-equipped cars produce 950 pounds of downforce at the ZR1’s 200-plus-mph top speed, considerably more than the Stage 3 Z06, which, due to its parachute-like rear deck spoiler, tops out about 25 mph slower.

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