As recently as the previous generation, all of the highest performance Chevrolet Corvette packages were available only with a manual transmission, but automatic transmissions have come a long way in the past decade, resulting in many high end sports cars going to a self-shifting gearbox to offer the greatest levels of performance.
This all changed when the C7 Corvette Z06 was introduced with the 650 horsepower supercharged LT4 mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission or the 7-speed manual transmission.
More recently, the new Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 – which is powered by the same 650hp LT4 V8 as the Corvette Z06 – was introduced with the new 10-speed automatic transmission. The 10-speed ZL1 offers the greatest performance, but as of the beginning of the 2018 model year, the Z06 still comes with the 8-speed automatic. Even with the Z06 packing the 8-speed, it is expected that the new ZR1 or Zora will have the new 10-speed from the Camaro ZL1, offering an instant increase in performance over the Z06.
While there has still been no word from General Motors about the existence of a “better” Corvette, videos showing what we all believe to be the C7 ZR1 testing the Nürburgring all but prove that an automatic transmission is being tested for the next evolution in the life of the Corvette.
Automatic Corvette ZR1 at the Nürburgring
We have featured a few different videos here showing a C7 Corvette testing at the Nürburgring with heavy camouflage. Unlike the Z06, this mysterious Corvette has a huge rear wing, a more aggressive front fascia and a loud enough exhaust setup that it is required to run silences of sort on the outside of the car. In short, this is definitely not a Z06 and it definitely is a C7 Corvette, so it seems likely that this is the car which will eventually be known as the ZR1 or maybe even the Zora.
In this video, there is a point at which the Corvette accelerates towards the camera, cruises through a turn and heads off into the distance, at which point we can clearly hear an automatic transmission shift. There is really no question that this Corvette has an automatic transmission and while it could be the same 8-speed as the one in the Z06, it seems far more likely that a higher performance Corvette would have every advantage possible, including the best transmission that GM has in their arsenal right now.
This doesn’t confirm that the C7 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 will definitely have an automatic transmission when it reaches showrooms, but it confirms that an automatic is at least being tested in the next American supercar – and there doesn’t seem to be any good reason that the ZR1 wont have a lightning-quick automatic transmission.