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Former GM Test Driver Reveals a Lackluster C7 Corvette ZR1 Nurburgring Lap Time

Jim Mero revealed that his best lap time at the Nurburgring in the 2019 Corvette ZR1 was a 7:04, which could be why GM didn’t announce the time.


Prior to the formal introduction of the C7 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, there was lots of videos and spy shots showing the supercharged supercar rocketing around the Nurburgring in Germany. After the C6 Corvette ZR1 spent time near the top of the list for the fastest production cars to lap the 12.9-mile Nordschleife and the promise that the new ZR1 would be the most track-capable Corvette ever, it was widely expected that the testing ahead of production would come with a stunning lap time.

However, word of a record-setting lap time at the Nurburgring has never come from General Motors and based on the information shared by former test driver and in-house hot-shoe Jim Mero, there is a good reason. According to Mero, the C7 Corvette ZR1 only managed a best time of 7:04, which is well below the best times of some of the other top sports cars in the world – making this a lap time that the automaker wouldn’t want to brag about.

The Unofficial Time
I want to point out that this Nurburgring lap time did not come from General Motors, but rather, it comes from the Facebook page of a business run by former Corvette test driver and Ride/Handling engineer Jim Mero. Mero is best-known in the enthusiast world for being responsible for some of the quickest lap times in Corvette history and he was also involved in C7 ZR1 testing at the Nurburgring.

Mero has since retired and started a new business called “Jim Mero Vehicle Dynamics” and on the Facebook page for the business, there is a gallery titled “Jim's Nurburgring Lap Times”. The last picture is a red C7 ZR1 with “7:04 – Forced to start the lap on cold tires”. Mero commented on the Facebook post that he will be speaking at the National Corvette Museum this summer, at which point we will learn more about the ZR1 Ring run and why he ran on cold tires to start.

With Mero turning the quickest Nurburgring lap times by the Corvette in the past, the odds are good that he turned in the quickest lap for the C7 ZR1. If the best full lap he could turn in was a 7:04, it was the quickest lap time recorded by a Chevrolet product, but it is considerably slower than many key competitors.

For example, the current production car record at the Nurburgring is held by the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ with a time of 6:44.97 and the Porsche 911 GT2 RS is second with a time of 6:47.25. The Lamborghini Huracan Performante, the Porsche 911 GT3 RS, the Porsche 918 Spyder and the Lamborghini Aventador LP750-4 Superveloce are the other production road cars that lapped The Ring in less than 7-minutes, while the Dodge Viper ACR ran a 7:01. Those are all of the vehicles that ran quicker lap times than the time reported for the C7 ZR1 by Jim Mero.

The Viper is gone, but the Lamborghini and Porsche models are all competitors for the Corvette ZR1 in the world of the modern supercars. Although few owners of any of the cars mentioned above will go to the track and if they do, even fewer have the ability to turn record lap times, but when it comes to marketing, a 7:04 doesn’t do the new ZR1 any favors – which is likely why GM never officially announced that time.


David (not verified)    April 10, 2019 - 3:13PM

7:04 is lackluster? That’s impressive. For a car that cost a quarter of the ones that can do sub 7 minute ring times.

Ferrari4000 (not verified)    May 23, 2022 - 6:04PM

In reply to by ForTehNguyen (not verified)

The ACR has a lot more downforce and less weight. Downforce and weight are far more important when it comes to laptimes than mere power. That said, the backing the viper team had was much better than the backing that Jim Mero had. Chevy went to the nurburgring ONLY to test the ZR1, and Jim had to literally beg Chevy to let him do more 2 flat out laps. Interestingly tho, the segmented times of those laps was 6:57. Further, the Nurburgring organizers let the viper team have even more time than they had arraged in order to set that lap. Also, part of the track that the ZR1 set the 7:04 time was still wet as it was raining on the track.

NSXPrime (not verified)    April 25, 2019 - 12:27PM

Kind of sad the ZR1 didn't pull off better times

MID: Lamborghini Aventador SVJ - 6:44:97
REAR: Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro - 7:04:6
FWD: Honda Civic Type R - 7:43.80

Bob Donnan (not verified)    June 3, 2019 - 12:11PM

Patrick - I’ve been enjoying your articles since your Dad turned me onto your site last year. Hoping you’ll do some electric vehicle reviews too — I know, the awesome roar isn’t there — but the ET’s sure are. You can find my motorsports videos on YouTube as GNARLYBARK. Peace out.

Ray Moonshine (not verified)    March 7, 2020 - 11:30AM

7:04 on cold tires with an engineer driving isn't bad. If Corvette took the Nordshleife times as seriously as some, they would use a ringer. Magnusson, Rockenfeller, etc. It's just not that important.