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Thanks to the Hellcat Hemi Challenger, GM Needs a C7 Corvette ZR1

When the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 was introduced, GM said that there were no plans for a ZR1 since the new Z06 was the fastest Vette ever, but with the introduction of the new Hellcat Hemi-powered Dodge Challenger, GM will need a new ZR1 to pull ahead in the ongoing horsepower war.


The 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 was unveiled at the 2014 North American International Auto Show as the most track capable Corvette of all time. Helping to prove that point is a new supercharged LT4 V8 that was promised in January to deliver at least 625 horsepower and at least 635lb-ft of torque. We found out last month that the 2015 Z06 will actually come with official figures of 650 horsepower and 650lb-ft of torque – so not only is the C7 Z06 the most track capable Corvette of all time, it is also the most powerful GM road car ever.

With those very tall claims in mind, it didn’t come as much of a surprise when the word surfaced that General Motors had no plans to build a ZR1 version of the 2014-2015 Corvette. After all, the 2015 Z06 is everything that the C6 ZR1 was and much more so there really didn’t seem to be any reason for GM to need to roll out an even more powerful Corvette – until this past Tuesday.

The Hellcat Steals GM’s Thunder>
Around 4pm EST on Tuesday July 1st, the Chrysler Group announced that their new 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat would pack a whopping 707 horsepower and 650lb-ft of torque. Those numbers make the supercharged Challenger the most powerful American muscle car of all time thanks to the most powerful production road-going V8 of all time AND being the most powerful American production car ever. Prior to the Hellcat numbers being announced, the only competition for the C7 Corvette Z06 to be the most powerful American production car on the market was the 2014 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang – a vehicle which is officially out of production. With the GT500 out of the way, GM surely expected that the most powerful and most track capable Corvette ever would also be the most powerful American production car in the current market…but the Hellcat put an end to any immediate bragging rights for the blown Corvette.

Sure, the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is somewhere in the area of a thousand pounds lighter so while the Challenger Hellcat has a bunch more power, it will likely be slower than the Corvette in almost any racing venue. However, the American horsepower battle is more than who is just the fastest or quickest so being able to brag of having the most powerful American car on the market is a big deal for Chrysler and it would be an equally big deal for General Motors.

The C7 Corvette ZR1 Would Be Very Strong and Very, Very Light
Should General Motors opt to take a shot at claiming the title of the most powerful American production car, it would obviously have to provide more than the 707 horsepower that Challenger SRT Hellcat owners will enjoy. Realistically, coming up with a road ready engine that would produce somewhere in the area of 710 horsepower shouldn’t be all that hard for the high performance engine engineers at General Motors. Take the LT4, add some engine volume, jam a little more air through the supercharger and you would most likely have an engine that will allow the Corvette to win the latest battle in the American horsepower war. It seems doable and honestly, this is something that I fully expect to see in the next few years but if GM does roll out a ZR1, I expect it to be far more than just an engine upgrade on the current Z06.

The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat
The 2015 Dodge Challenger 392 Hemi Scat Pack Shaker
The Debut of the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

I imagine that the advantages of the C7 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 would only start with the 710+ horsepower engine and the even bigger story would be chassis and body refinements that would afford the new ZR1 a power to weight ratio that would compete with literally any sports car sold in the world. An entire body made from lightweight carbon fiber, interior components also made from more carbon fiber and a chassis comprised mainly of lightweight magnesium would take the already low curb weight of the 2015 Z06 and take it to shocking levels – the likes of which we have only ever seen in the world’s most expensive exotics…but from a Corvette.

This ultra lightweight direction mated with a blown V8 delivering more than 710 horsepower would allow a C7 Corvette ZR1 to be the most powerful American production car ever, the highest performance American production car ever and – most significantly – a supercar that would easily go toe to toe with the best from Lamborghini, Ferrari or any other European supercar builder.


Paul E (not verified)    July 4, 2014 - 12:12PM

In 1972 I had 1970 Dodge Charger RT 440 Magnum It was a Sled! my motto since then has been "Your first Chrysler will be your last Chrysler"

David (not verified)    July 4, 2014 - 4:47PM

In reply to by Paul E (not verified)

My first Chrysler was a '68 charger, in 1979, still have her ! B5 blue, black vinyl roof, bumble bee stripe and yeah..426 hemi. Fun car. Appraised value, $96000.00.
A Hellcat will be joining her soon.
Your " motto " has been your loss. That " sled " you used to own would be worth a small fortune now !
Kicking yourself yet ?

David (not verified)    July 4, 2014 - 12:38PM

I swear if we put the corvette moniker on a kia, you guys would still fall over yourselves praising it.

Caveman (not verified)    July 4, 2014 - 3:46PM

I dream of the day the release the C7 ZR1. If our creative team from GM wants to design and build a modern supercar to compete with the Porsche 918, Ferrari la Ferrari and the McLaren P1 instead of a simple Mopar muscle car they need to think hybrid. Couple a supercharged LTX with a pair of electric motors at the front wheels and you could be near 1000hp with superbike 0-60 times. It will take some talented engineering, but THAT is what makes the next ZR1 worth waiting for.

Ben Ryder (not verified)    November 10, 2014 - 6:39AM

In reply to by Caveman (not verified)

For a start you say LaFerrari by itself, as it is already given that it is a ferrari.
And Corvette will never compete with those 3 hybrids as those are super prestigous, very expensive limited supercars. There are only limited numbers and at high prices. Corvette makes its sports cars (and supercars in the case of the ZR1) by the thousands and prices it to be very affordable. Corvettes are made to be affordable so many people can actually buy them (which equals profit). Corvettes aren't designed to be made at 1000 or so max with half a million dollar prices.

SummerSlam (not verified)    July 4, 2014 - 9:38PM

Inside sources have informed me that the Hellcat's 707 HP are actually "tuned down" numbers.
Years ago when the HEMI first emerged in the 300C, an aggressive tune and larger air intake was producing 700 HP numbers. One engineer at our plant had an SRT and dynoed 900 HP with the same method plus larger injectors & fuel pump.
Power to weight ratio may get the advantage in the end...should be fun to see when they hit the track.

justrin (not verified)    July 5, 2014 - 3:57PM

yea, how did the C6 z06 take the shelby GT500? it had 505 HP while the shelby had 662 +... remember the Z06 will run circles around the hellcat in straight line, track, and handling. why? because its balance, weight, Grip generation/G pull, Braking force, Roll performance, and not to mention WEIGHT... so with a better z06 and a ton more power... im sure the just like the last z06 it won't have a problem taking out a cheap dodge.

not to mention the challenger (not hell cat) is still slower then the BASE C6 corvette... lol sad.

MOPAR OR NO CAR (not verified)    July 5, 2014 - 10:39PM

In reply to by justrin (not verified)

Hey genius, the challenger is built to compete with the mustang and camaro. Our Viper has
And will continue to dominate your corvette. And those "cheap dodges" are muscle cars. As in a performance car for the working American man

Terry Taylor (not verified)    September 8, 2014 - 4:18PM

In reply to by MOPAR OR NO CAR (not verified)

That Cheap Dodge engine is put together with great engineering and assembly of premium robust parts for long life and performance. I dream that the Viper has this engine with about 750 horsepower & 750 torque.where but in America and at Mopar can you get such a powerful muscle car for so little. $60 grand is not change but in todays 500 to 750 horsepower range its the lowest price muscle you can get.

Allan (not verified)    July 5, 2014 - 5:14PM

GM Needs to take a page out of John Hennesey's Book and do some tweaks before starting production to regain there title.

Nick (not verified)    July 8, 2014 - 4:31AM

They just need to give the corvette c7 a dual clutch transmission and say the hell with your HP. Or just turn up the lt4 a little more. or offer the extra HP in the zo7 package.

MattyG (not verified)    July 9, 2014 - 2:01PM

You GM guys can talk all you want. My current 392 can blow away any camaro and corvette. I'm pushing around 650 horse now, can you imagine another 57 ponies. Keep dreaning GM. Ralph Gilles for president.

Dvsd91 (not verified)    July 29, 2014 - 12:26PM

Really. I think GM needs to fix 30 million recalls of vehicles that kill people before they make a 700+ HP car. Stop whining GM fans. MOPAR OR NO CAR!!!

Greg Z06-1 (not verified)    August 31, 2014 - 4:03AM

The new Viper is STILL a joke. The new Italian Chrysler Motor Company builds much better cars. Hell Ima GM guy through and through and would buy a Mopar in a New York ,minute before a blue oval. Ford doesn't have the $$$ to develop a car now like the C7 Z06. Face it mopar fans. Your muscle cars are hillbilly old fart cars. Your new 'halo" Viper which I have driven is a joke. The old ACR IS NOT A STREET CAR. So the C6 ZR-1 wins that battle of the "ring". GM will and has the most $$$$ to make a ZR-1 or easily bump the C7 Z06 to well over 707 BHP. Its a supercar NOT a musclecar ala challenger Hellcat. Like putting lipstick on a pig. It is top heavy, sure it is all like every mopar with a blower old school straight line, handles like shit, its a drifter. ZL-1 destoys it on a track and a Z/28 equals a c6Z06 on the ring. SHelby isn't even made anymore and they were never made for handling, always yestertech with Ford and their "drink the purplr kool-aid" marketing which is nauseating already.. and BTW everyone knows with the aftermarket and dyno tuners can make any car faster than stock. All you need is tons of $$$.. Stock is for NON performance car people. There is no North American car with build quality and looks/performance that match a C7 period. The Z06 is rumoured by GM to have run a 10.8-10.9 1/4... I will just say the Z06 for the draggers out there will hit 9's easier and quicker than the H- cats.. Hellcat I have heard anywhere from 11.4-11.7 on its skinny 9.5" rims and puny tires.. which is impressive.. different strokes for all I guess. Just FACT, and I do like mopars soo anyway.....

CJ (not verified)    September 1, 2014 - 7:30PM

I'm not going to sit here and bicker back an forth about what car is better. Instead, I'm going to be grateful the muscle car era is reborn. Between the culture and cars of the 50's, 60's, and 70's, I always told my dad he grew up in the best generation in the US. I'm loving the fact these cars are being produced, and it'll be over soon enough with.

fury (not verified)    September 1, 2014 - 8:59PM

there is no reason for a zr1. the new z06 will destroy everything. not to mention the hellcat hhaha only ran a 12.1