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Corvette ZR1 Turns in Second-Best Lightning Lap Time Ever

The 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 has proven itself as one of the greatest road-handling street cars of all time, turning in the second-quickest time in the Car & Driver Lightning Lap event, trailing only the Porsche 911 GT2 RS Weissach in the 12-year run of the magazine’s annual shootout.


The October 2018 issue of Car & Driver is currently on sale and in that magazine you will find the results for Lightning Lap 2018. This year marks the 12th year of the program and 2018 is arguably the best year to date, with the top three finishers turning in the three quickest lap times in the history of the program.

The 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS Weissach turned in the quickest lap this year with a blistering time of 2:37.8, but in second place was the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1. The C7 ZR1 recorded a best lap of 2:39.5, beating the McLaren 720S by two tenths of a second while also beating every other car in the history of the program with the exception of the aforementioned Porsche.

Beating the Higher Class
The Car & Driver Lightning Lap is broken up into five categories based on price class. Each year, the winning car is in the LL5 class, with prices over $250,000. The 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 in the in the LL4 class, including vehicles that range in price from $125,000 to $249,999. There was only one other car in the LL4 class, the 2018 Porsche 911 GT3, and with a time of 2:47, it was 7.5 seconds back of the Corvette.

In the most expensive price class, the winning Porsche 911 GT2 RS Weissach ($294,250) beat the McLaren 720S ($288,845), the Lamborghini Huracan Performante ($203,295) and the Ford GT ($453,750). The Corvette also beat the McLaren, the Lamborghini and the Ford, even though its price as tested was just $119,995.

While Chevrolet most certainly would have loved to see the new Corvette ZR1 beat everyone in the 2018 Lightning Lap proceedings, the fact that it was proven to be dollar-for-dollar the most road course-capable street car in the world is something for the company to be proud of. Really, the fact that the ZR1 beat so many pricier supercars shows what a bargain the LT5-powered Corvette is, even with a price in the six-figure range. It might be expensive, but it is literally the least expensive and second-best performing supercar in the world.

Staking Its Claim
The 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 hit the market as the most track-capable Corvette ever, but it is also being talked about as the most track-capable American road car of all time. Right now, its main competition is the now-out-of-production Dodge Viper ACR, which holds many track records around the United States while also holding the record for the quickest lap time at the Nurburgring by an American car.

The Viper ACR ran a 2:44.2 Lightning Lap back in 2016, so the 2019 Corvette ZR1’s time beats that by almost five seconds. For those wondering, the current Z06 turned in a 2:44.6 in 2015, so the new ZR1 is considerably quicker around VIR Grand Course than its supercharged stablemate.

While we are hoping to see an official time for the 2019 Corvette ZR1 at the Nurburgring in the near future, the Car & Driver Lightning Lap for the LT5-powered Vette was a whole lot quicker than the Viper’s best, so the new ZR1 appears to be making a major run at the title of American’s most track-capable road car.

Along similar lines, the Ford GT has twice been included in the Lightning Lap, turning in a best time of 2:43 in 2017, so the ZR1 is 3.5 seconds quicker than the toughest competition from Ford.

Again, the 2018 Car & Driver Lightning Lap results are available in this month’s (October 2018) issue of the magazine which was still available on local shelves this past weekend, but you can also read about it on the magazine’s website.


DeanMcManis (not verified)    October 9, 2018 - 2:31AM

Even though the base MSRP is $120K, the as tested price of this car was $141,485. But that is still a great performance bargain compared to anything else out there with this level of performance. As an interesting point even though the official times of the Lightning Lap are with the editors driving, on the same day in 2016 Chris Winkler pulled a 2:40.XX on the same track, same day, same ACR Viper, which is just a shade off of this year's impressive ZR-1's time. Similarly, earlier on the same day/track Billy Johnson got around the track in the Ford GT in 2:38.62, a couple hours before the C&D testing. The only sad note is that this Killer ZR-1's great performance will soon be overshadowed by the release of the mid-engined Corvette due out next year. Kudos to the Corvette development team for building the highest performing Corvette to date.