2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 is a car everyone was waiting for. Powered by the most powerful production engine ever from General Motors, it is the fastest production car GM has built. The power behind this car is its powerful engine, the supercharged 6.2L LS9 small-block V-8. GM Powertrain wants to milk 100 hp from every liter in this V8, that takes the power from this engine to 620hp and delivers a torque of 823Nm.
The engine clearly outshines the car when we speak on the topic, though the car itself is worth admiration as well. LS9 has a large positive-displacement Roots-type supercharger along with an integrated charge cooling system. Transmission remains six-speed manual.
ZR1 is expected to be the first Corvette that can touch the top speed of 200mph, the meter in the gauge cluster though, shows readings upto 220mph. The fastest Corvette rolls on exclusive wheels, 20 spoke alloy rims with 19-inch diameter for the front and 20-inch diameter in the rear. Exteriors of the car are equally impressive with the carbon-fiber hood leaving place for a clear, polycarbonate window that gives a top-view of the powerful engine's intercooler.
The roof, roof bow, rocker molding and front splitter are made of exposed Carbon fiber that is covered by a specially developed, glossy UV- resistant clear coat that resists against yellowing and wear. Interiors are as impressive. The ZR1 logo finds place on the sill plates, headrest embroidery and on the tachometer. Boost gauge has been added to the instrument cluster and Head-Up Display. All ZR1 models will also carry a unique, identifying VIN, as well as sequential build number.
Interiors for the base model are much like those on the Z06, but there is an uplevel interior package that adds unique, power-adjustable and leather-trimmed sport seats (embroidered with the ZR1 logo); custom, leather-wrapped interior available in four colors; navigation system, Bluetooth connectivity and more. The car will reach dealerships by summer next year. Scroll down for image gallery and excerpts from GM's Press Release.
The ZR1's basic stats:
* All-new LS9 supercharged 6.2L V-8 targeted at producing at least 100 horsepower per liter, or 620 horsepower (462 kW), and approximately 595 lb.-ft. of torque (823 Nm)
* Six-speed, close-ratio, race-hardened manual transmission
* New, high-capacity dual-disc clutch
* Higher-capacity and specific-diameter axle half-shafts; enhanced torque tube
* Specific suspension tuning provides more than 1g cornering grip
* Twenty-spoke 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels
* Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tires - P285/30ZR19 in front and P335/25ZR20 in the rear - developed specifically for the ZR1
* Standard carbon-ceramic, drilled disc brake rotors - 15.5-inch-diameter (394-mm) in the front and 15-inch-diameter (380-mm) in the rear
* Larger brake calipers with substantially increased pad area
* Standard Magnetic Selective Ride Control with track-level suspension
* Wider, carbon-fiber front fenders with ZR1-specific dual vents
* Carbon-fiber hood with a raised, polycarbonate window - offering a view of the intercooler below it
* Carbon-fiber roof panel, roof bow, front fascia splitter and rocker moldings with clear-coated, exposed carbon-fiber weave
* ZR1-specific full-width rear spoiler with raised outboard sections
* Specific gauge cluster with boost gauge (also displayed on the head-up display) and 220-mph (370 km/h) speedometer readout
* Only two options: chrome wheels and a 'luxury' package
* Curb weight of approximately 3,350 pounds (1,519 kg)
The specialized components of the new ZR1 work harmoniously to deliver the most powerful and fastest automobile ever produced by General Motors. Performance estimates will be announced closer to vehicle's summer 2008 launch.
'Preliminary testing shows the ZR1 builds on the highly respected Corvette Z06 in every performance category, from acceleration and braking, to cornering grip and top speed,' said Peper. 'It all boils down to the power-to-weight ratio and the ZR1's is exceptional - better than the Porsche 911 GT2, the Ferrari 599 and even the Lamborghini LP640. In fact, the ZR1 is expected to be the first production Corvette to achieve a top speed of at least 200 mph.'
Supercharged LS9 engine
The new LS9 6.2L small-block engine is the power plant the supports the ZR1's performance capability. The enabler of the LS9's performance and refinement is a large, positive-displacement Roots-type supercharger with a new, four-lobe rotor design. It is augmented with an integrated charge cooling system that reduces inlet air temperature for maximum performance.
A sixth-generation supercharger developed by Eaton helps the LS9 make big power and torque at lower rpm and carries it in a wide arc to 6,600 rpm, as it pushes enough air to help the engine maintain power through the upper levels of the rpm band - the area where supercharged performance tends to diminish. Heavy-duty and lightweight reciprocating components enable the engine's confident high-rpm performance.
The LS9 is hand-assembled at GM's Performance Build Center, in Wixom, Mich., and incorporates specialty processes typically seen in racing engines to produce a highly refined and precise product. For example, cast iron cylinder liners are inserted in the aluminum block and are finish-bored and honed with a deck plate installed. The deck plate simulates the pressure and minute dimensional variances applied to the block when the cylinder heads are installed, ensuring a higher degree of accuracy that promotes maximum cylinder head sealing, piston ring fit and overall engine performance.
More than just its tremendous peak horsepower and torque numbers, the supercharged LS9 makes big power at lower rpm and carries it in a wide arc to 6,600 rpm. GM Powertrain testing shows the engine makes approximately 300 horsepower (224 kW) at 3,000 rpm and nearly 320 lb.-ft. of torque (434 Nm) at only 1,000 rpm. Torque tops 585 lb.-ft. (793 Nm) at about the 4,000-rpm mark, while horsepower peaks at 6,500 rpm. The engine produces 90 percent of peak torque from 2,600 rpm to 6,000 rpm.
Heavy-duty and lightweight reciprocating components enable the engine's confident high-rpm performance, while the large-displacement Eaton supercharger pushes enough air to help the engine maintain power through the upper levels of the rpm band.
'The sixth-generation design of the supercharger expands the 'sweet zone' of the compressor's effectiveness, broadening it to help make power lower in the rpm band,' said Ron Meegan, assistant chief engineer. 'To put it simply, the low-end torque is amazing.'
The LS9 is assembled by hand at GM's Performance Build Center, a unique, small-volume engine production facility in Wixom, Mich., that also builds the Corvette Z06's LS7 engine and other high-performance GM production engines.
Cylinder block and reciprocating assembly details
The LS9's aluminum cylinder block features steel, six-bolt main bearing caps, with enlarged vent windows in the second and third bulkheads for enhanced bay to bay breathing. Cast iron cylinder liners - measuring 4.06 inches (103.25 mm) in bore diameter - are inserted in the aluminum block and they are finish-bored and honed with a deck plate installed. The deck plate simulates the pressure and minute dimensional variances applied to the block when the cylinder heads are installed, ensuring a higher degree of accuracy that promotes maximum cylinder head sealing, piston ring fit and overall engine performance.
Nestled inside the cylinder block is a forged steel crankshaft that delivers the LS9's 3.62-inch (92 mm) stroke. It features a smaller-diameter ignition-triggering reluctor wheel and a nine-bolt flange - the outer face of the crankshaft on which the flywheel is mounted - that provides more clamping strength. Other non-supercharged 6.2L engines, such as the base Corvette's LS3, have a six-bolt flange. A torsional damper mounted to the front of the crankshaft features a keyway and friction washer, which also is designed to support the engine's high loads.
Attached to the crankshaft is a set of titanium connecting rods and forged aluminum pistons, which, when combined with the cylinder heads, delivers a 9.1:1 compression ratio. This combination is extremely durable and lightweight, enabling the LS9's high-rpm capability.