It Looks as Though the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Has Indeed Killed the ZR1
The 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 was introduced as the most track capable Corvette of all time and should that be the case, it will have to beat out the C6 ZR1. The 2015 Corvette Z06 has a supercharged V8 with “at least” 625hp and 635lb-ft of torque while the 2013 Corvette ZR1 had a supercharged V8 with 624hp and 604lb-ft of torque. The 2015 Corvette Z06 uses an ultra lightweight chassis and body design with Brembo carbon ceramic brakes and GM’s Magnetic Selective Ride Control suspension package while the 2013 Corvette ZR1 also relied on an ultra lightweight chassis and body design with the Brembo carbon stoppers and the high tech suspension system. The 2015 Corvette Z06 has body bits that make it more aggressive looking and more aerodynamic than the “normal” Corvette of similar models years – which was also true of the 2013 ZR1. Finally, while pricing has not been announced, it is expected that the C7 Z06 will carry a similar $100k+ price tag to that of the C6 ZR1 and Corvette engineer Tadge Juechter told Autoblog that if you can afford the old ZR1, you will be able to afford the new Z06. In short, the 2015 Z06 is pretty much everything that the 2013 ZR1 was but the injection of ever fresher technology should allow the new C7 Z06 to outrun the C6 ZR1 around a race track.
With all of that in mind, the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 effectively removes the need for the ZR1 in the Chevy lineup. It could be argued that there is always room for an even higher performance supercar but when you consider the fact that the C6 ZR1 was one of the best performing cars in the world and the Z06 is promised to be even better on the race track – GM really doesn’t need a higher performance Corvette right now. After all, since the C6 ZR1 handily beat most of the (far more expensive) supercars in the world and the C7 Z06 is supposed to beat the C6 ZR1…the Z06 will likely also beat all of those high priced European supercars. If the Z06 will beat pretty much everything on the market today, there is really no good reason for GM to go through the cost and development efforts to build a car that is better than the new Z06.
Once the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 hits the market it is very likely to be a more popular model than the outgoing ZR1 for a variety of reasons. There is the obvious point that the Z06 will outperform the ZR1 so those looking to go fast will have no problem accepting a super-Corvette named the Z06 rather than one named the ZR1. Next, while pricing is purely speculative, the C7 Z06 might cost a touch less than the ZR1. The 2013 ZR1 started around $113k while the Z06 was around $38,000 less. The new Z06 is expected to tickle the six figure mark – and that makes perfect sense considering the similarities in performance with the C6 ZR1 – but it could be a couple thousand less than the outgoing ZR1. Finally, the new 8-speed automatic transmission will make the ZR1 more accessible to those who aren’t coordinated enough to deal with a clutch pedal. The C6 Z06 and ZR1 were both offered strictly with a proper manual transmission but with the relative incompetence of many high priced sports car buyers (you know…the Paris Hilton types) along with the advancements in automatic transmission technology – the C7 Z06 will offer a self-shifting gearbox that won’t compromise performance while still allowing the unfortunately uncoordinated to enjoy this new super-Corvette as well.
In the end, the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 will likely be better than the C6 ZR1 in every measure of performance while being accessible to more drivers due to the new automatic transmission and maybe even a lower price…so there is no need for the automaker to develop a C7 ZR1.
At least not right now.