2017 Chevrolet Corvette Zora ZR1
Since Zora Arkus Duntov joined the Corvette team and crammed a V-8 into America’s sports car in 1955, the Belgian-born engineer chased ever more interesting and dynamic ways of making the little two-door go faster than anything else on the road. Zora was obsessed with speed and performance. Aside from setting a production car record up Pikes Peak in a Corvette, taking a standing-mile record at Daytona and starting the Grand Sport racing program, Zora consistently worked on mid-engined prototypes of Corvettes during his career. Despite having a mid-engined prototype of some form for almost every generation of Corvette, there has never been a production car wearing the legendary Crossed Flags and carrying the engine behind the driver. That all looks to change soon with the rumored Corvette Zora ZR1.
This new car is rumored to use the Zora name to make it a separate model from the current Corvette family, and when it debuts it will be unveiled as an eighth-generation (C8) car. To create this new and exciting performance machine, Corvette engineers are expected to modify the current C7’s aluminum chassis for mid-ship duty, and then they should fit the car with an uprated version of the supercharged V-8 found in the new Corvette Z06. The new Zora ZR1 is expected to carry a price of more than $150k, horsepower ratings in excess of 700 ponies and a top speed well above 200 mph.
The following is a collection of rumor and personal speculation on a potential upcoming model from General Motors. The images are renderings created by our artist.
Chevrolet Corvette Zora ZR1
The new Zora ZR1 is expected to be an evolution of the C7 design. Making a mid-engine car is dramatic enough to cause most Vette owners to stroke out, GM doesn’t need to push things with a radical design. To create our exclusive render, we have moved the cockpit forward just slightly and down. The nose features that same general pointed shape and tapered edges that are familiar to current owners, but more aggressive cooling ducts, a wider track and a large front splitter add tangible performance benefits. The nose does sit slightly lower allowing for greater forward visibility, but the drop in height is minimal to maintain greater suspension travel.
The profile shows a rear cut in the nose that is reminiscent of both the LaFerrari and Porsche 918. This should cause lower pressure in the nose and force air through the ducting more efficiently. Directly in front of the door is the signature sculpting found on current cars, complete with a Stingray logo elegantly integrated into the design. Expect a production version to feature a slightly higher roofline to meet various safety regulations.
Chevrolet Corvette Zora ZR1
The rear is both the most similar and most strikingly different angle of the new Zora. The same silhouette is used, along with very similar lighting elements, but a wider track, aggressively ducted fenders and rear bumper, massive rear diffuser and small dual spoilers over each rear fender immediately separate this visually from any standard Corvette. The Corvette’s trademark, center-mounted, quad exhaust has been updated to four individual units that look like chrome canons jutting from their integrated position in the rear bumper.
By separating form the Corvette in both performance, target market and price, the interior design team should have free reign to make things far more luxurious. Expect several yards of leather, carbon fiber and Alcantara to fill the cabin. High-end technology including multiple large LCD screens and LED lighting will give the cabin the same air of quality as anything the Germans and Italians can manage.
Seats are much improved for the new C7 Corvette, but expect the Zora to improve things further, and an aggressively styled squared, steering wheel like that found many Ferrari and Lamborhgin models would seem like an obvious addition as well.
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
With 650 horsepower coming from its supercharged V-8, the current Z06 is already the most powerful production car General Motors has ever released. If the company wants its new supercar to carry the halo of the Chevrolet Chevrolet name, it will need to increase power even further. The Zora ZR1 will make use of the same engine as the Z06, but a host of tweaks and improvements should see horsepower ratings rise to around 740 horsepower and 700 pound-feet of twist. Any more power, and the Zora will run into traction issues.
The car should bow as a RWD model only, but there is talk of a potential hybrid model that uses electric motors in the nose to create an AWD setup similar to the Porsche 918. If this comes to fruition, the electric model likely won’t debut until the mid-cycle refresh.
The underpinnings of the Zora ZR1 will consist of a heavily modified version of the current Corvette platform. Considering Chevrolet was able to create a convertible version of the Z06 without adding additional bracing and strengthening, the bones should have no problem handling the stresses of a mid-engine small block with forced induction.
Transmission choices will very likely mimic the Z06 with a seven-speed manual or eight-speed automatic.
Performance targets for the Zora ZR1 should see the 0-to-60 sprint dispatched in 2.8 seconds or less with a top speed in the range of 215 to 220 mph.
Thanks to its small-block engine roots, I also would not be surprised to see a sticker that claimed 25 highway mpg from this new American supercar.
General Motors may be giving the Corvette team free reign to build a world-beating supercar, but the value proposition of the Corvette brand will still remain. The rumored price target for the Zora is in the $150,000 range. This makes it significantly cheaper than almost all of the competition. The only mid-engined car that can be had for that type of cash is an Audi R8. The Lamborghini Huracán and Ferrari 458 Speciale carry prices nearly double that expected for the Zora.
A Future In Racing
With Ford rumored to be building a new GT for a potential return to Le Mans, Porsche’s new 919 LMP1 racer, and Ferrari Ferrari’s potential LaFerrai FXX model hitting endurance tracks soon, a Zora ZR1 can give General motors a platform to contest an overall win in the world’s most famous race: the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The Corvette racing team has already seen incredible success in the lower divisions of the endurance racing ladder, and General Motors may be looking to build on that momentum with this new Zora. Can you imagine seeing a modern Ford GT and a new Chevy Zora battling wheel to wheel down the Mulsanne straight