Sunday, March 27, 2022

2009 Corvette ZR1: The Era’s Most Pinnacle American Sports Car

2009 Corvette ZR-1


Corvette ZR1 Comeback


Corvette has always made a big splash with their Z-Series sports cars. Badass Vettes such as the ZO6, ZR1, and the ZL1 would receive more power and torque, handling capabilities, and all-around upgrades for better track performance than any other vehicle General Motors was pushing on the market at the time (expectation '14 and '15 Camaro Z28). 

Chatter started around 2007 about a new version of the ZR1, a ZR1 that would be so performance packed it would give it a supercar status that would have its name mentioned in the likes of Ferrari, Porsche, and Lamborghini. 

This first 2009 ZR1 was auctioned off for a Million bucks to a one, Dave Ressler. He is also the owner of the oldest known Corvette in existence, #003. 



6.2-liter LS9


Motor and Transmission

6.2-liter LS9 aluminum V8 with a Twin Vortices Series supercharger and a top-loaded intercooler is what powers the ZR1. Hand-built in Wixom, Mi., this powerhouse motor puts out 638 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 604-lb.ft. of torque at 3800 RPMs.

Sure, nowadays there are some stout performers that make more horsepower and torque, but not 13 years ago. 

Controlling all this power is easy with a close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox and a high-capacity, high-performance clutch that makes anyone sitting in the driver's seat feel like they are driving a professionally-built race car. 

Performance Stats

This General Motors engine and transmission combination is responsible for the staggering numbers that it puts down while going in a straight line. This ZR1 gets from 0-60 in 3.4-seconds while reaching 100 mph in a matter of 7-seconds. The Corvette has no problem covering the quarter-mile in 11.3 seconds at 131 mph. With a top speed of 200 mph, without a doubt, this was the most capable, powerful Corvette put into production.  

Frame and Suspension

The ZR1 comes standard with an aluminum frame structure that weighs in at a mere 138 pounds. This frame is the exact frame that is used on the C6.R race car, giving it a power-to-weight ratio of 5.2 pounds per horsepower. 


The aluminum frame rides on a Magnetic Selective Ride Control suspension. The Magnetic Ride Control was the most sophisticated suspension of its kind. This ride control system gives the driver two different driving modes to select, Sport ride-control, which is ideal for the racetrack, and a Touring mode, which is ideal for everyday driving. These modes can be easily switched back-and-forth in the cockpit by the driver with just a push of a button. This may not seem like much of a wow factor today, but back in 2009, this convenience was just starting to become a top technology on American vehicles. 

Tires

With all that power and such a capable suspension, you have to have some way of keeping the tires and wheels sticking to the ground, and in this department, GM spares no expense. When testing the Corvette at the Virginia International Raceway, the stock Michelin tires were eventually replaced with a set of Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires. With this change, the ZR1 was able to shred a considerable amount of time off of each lap. And that’s when the decision was made, the Michelins that performed the best would come on the best Corvette ever produced.


Corvette ZR-1 Wheels

Braking

You can't have a vehicle with all that power and ability without having an effective way of stopping it. So massive Brembo Carbon Ceramic 15-inch front and 15.5-inch rear vented cross-drilled rotors were added. These rotors can withstand heat of 1000-degrees celsius before warping. The brake system includes six-piston calipers in the front and four-piston calipers in the rear. When this system all works together, it creates the stopping power that you would need for a 200 mph supercar.


Corvettes First Super Car


The Looks Of A Supercar

With a wider stance than the average Vette, the ZR1 is designed to take corners better and get around the track faster. Sporting 19x10-inch wheels in the front and 20x12-inch wheels in the back, the look of the ZR1 says nothing but supercar. All buyers would have had the option to choose the color of the wheels, which include a bright silver coated finish, a deep black coated finish, or a chrome finish. All three colors look great, depending on the look you are trying to achieve. There are nine color options for the exterior finish, all of which are in an exotic tint helping give the ZR1 the supercar look that Corvette is ultimately after. The spoiler on the back is both functional and proportional-looking, and the see-through carbon fiber hood really makes a supercar statement.


Interior Options For The ZR1

Corvette ZR-1 Cockpit
When it comes to the interior, the ZR1 comes with an abundance of options and colors. The buyer was able to request almost everything from the steering wheel to the door panels be wrapped in rich leather. They would also have the option of different model-specific badges to be placed about the inside of the vehicle. Power adjustable heated leather seats with microfiber inserts could be purchased for a better day-to-day driving experience. Corvette also offered a package called the 3ZR. This package included a nine-speaker Bose system, Bluetooth wireless technology, a head-up display, and a SiriusXM satellite radio, all designed for a more convenient and exciting driving experience.

Price Tag And Gas Mileage

With supercar looks, supercar power, and track times to match, this ZR1 puts otherworldly supercars to shame when you compare price tags to performance. When brand new, the MSRP price tag was $112,000.00, which was much cheaper than a higher-powered Farria, Lambo, or a Porsche at the time. The ZR1 also rated very high in gas mileage for a 2009 sports car. With an EPA-estimated 14 city/20 highway mpg, the Corvette did better than most vehicles with that size engine. 


The best thing about the ZR1 is for the first time ever, Americans that were in the market for a supercar cloud finally buy an American-built supercar, minus the outrageous cost of maintenance, luxury tax, and everything else that comes along with owning an overseas supercar.  


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Friday, March 11, 2022

The 2001 Corvette Z06: The First Modern Day Z06

 

2002 Corvette Z06

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know about the extremely potent 2023 Corvette Z06 that is on its way to the market sometime in late 2022. If you want to read about that, just look up any automotive website on the web and you can find out everything you know or you can go to this ride-along video/article with top engineers on the project, written by me for Muscle Cars & Trucks (C8 Corvette Z06 Engineers Share Untold Details On New Supercar: Video.


1963 Corvette Z06

1963 Corvette Z06

Since we all should know everything about the new Corvette Z06, I decided that we should take a look back at the birth of the first modern Corvette Z06. But first, let's take a short look at the birth of the very first Z06. 

The first Z06 became available in 1963 and there were only 199 produced and sold. These Corvette Z06's sole purpose was to be sold for road course racing. They came with a 327 cu.in. (5.4-liter) engine, four-speed transmission, a beefed-up suspension, a massive brake system upgrade that included dual master cylinders, and an optional 36.5 US gal (138 l; 30 imp gal) tank.

The thing about these C2 Corvette Z06s was you didn't just go to the dealership and buy one, you had to know someone who knew what boxes to check in the order form if you wanted one of these race-ready (RPO Z06) Corvettes, and just like the 2001 Corvette Z06, you didn't get many luxuries with the car, it was truly for going fast. 


2001 Corvette Z06


2021 Corvette Z06

This Corvette was built to surprise and dominate the market. The Z06 was designed for the track and pushed the boundaries of what was really possible from a production car that could drive to the track, make better times than its competition, and drive back home with the air conditioning kicking and the radio blasting. 

Basic Spec:

  • 5.7-liter LS6 V8
  • 6-speed manual
  • 385 horsepower and 385 lb-ft of torque
  • New FE4 Suspension (four-wheel independent suspension)
  • Bose speaker system
  • Leather bucket seats
  • 17" front and 18” rear rims wrapped in Goodyear Eagle F1 SC tires
  • Hardtop only
  • Brake coolers
  • Curb weight: 3,118 lbs.

  • Gas Mileage: 17 city / 26 highway

Z06 Engine Corvette

Engine And Transmission

The LS6 is essentially a more powerful version of Corvette's LS1 V8. The LS6 engine upgrades start with a redesigned intake manifold with better flowing internal passageways. Reengineered cylinder heads create more flow through the intake and exhaust valves, and the combustion chambers were redesigned to reduce valve shrouding.

All these upgrades led to a higher compression ratio which then led to a redesigned thin-walled cast-iron exhaust manifold system to provide a smoother exit for the combustion escape.

Of course, all this extra flow wouldn’t be worth much without a redesigned camshaft. So a beefier cam was installed by Corvette engineers with more valve overlap and greater valve lift. Chrome-vanadium-steel valve springs and stronger pistons cast from a more durable alloy were implicated in the engine’s design for toughness. And finally, the LS6 was engineered with windows cast into the internal crankcase walls to help air retreat from the underside of the burning hot pistons.

This new engine setup gave the New Corvette Z06 385 horsepower at 6,000 RPMs and 385 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 RPMs, and a redline RPM of 6,500. In between all the power and the rear wheels was a beefed-up clutch (with lighter pedal effort), a larger-diameter driveshaft, and a revised six-speed manual transaxle. This new M12 gearbox was introduced with shooter 1st, 2nd, and 3rd gears to better utilize the new higher-revving LS6. All gears were 10-16 percent shorter except for the 4th gear which remained the same.

Corvette Suspension

2001 Corvette Z06 Suspension

More power always means more changes all around. To accommodate the power of the LS6, Corvette went with a new FE4 suspension that included revised shock calibrations, a stiffer rear transverse leaf spring setup, and stiffer anti-roll bars for the front and rear.

To add ground support, each corner of the Vette receives 1-inch wider tires, bringing them up to 9.5-inch wide in the front and 10.5-inch wide in the back. New custom light-weight 10-spoke wheels were wrapped in Goodyear F1 Eagle tires: 265/40ZR-17s in the front and 295/35ZR-18s rears. The F1 Eagle SC tires were designed with more flexible sidewalls achieved by doing away with the famous run-flat tire design. This permitted a half-degree more negative camber to keep the tread flatter during hard cornering for track use.

To prove the Corvette was built for business, engineers found places around the car where they could shave pounds off the curb weight. Helping save weight was the deletion of the run-flat tire design, mufflers were made from Titanium, and the windshield and rear glass were all lightened to help bring the Corvette’s curb weight down to 3,118 pounds, that's 38 pounds lighter than its original form. A lot of weight was saved in the Titanium mufflers alone, but the weight of the new suspension offset the weight-saving by a lot.  

2001 Cobra R

Step Aside Cobra R

The Cobra R was making some big waves at the track. Performance numbers were pretty impressive, and the Corvette Z06 was Chevrolet's answer to those performance numbers.

The Cobra R and the Z06 were pretty close in performance numbers at the time (numbers for Z06 below). The Cobra R turned numbers out of its 5.4-liter that looked a little like this: 385 horsepower and 385 lb.-ft. of torque (the same as the Z06), 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds, a quarter-mile time of 13.2 (Ford tested) and 12.9 (Motor Trend tested) with a top speed of 170-mph, and stops from 60-0 in 127-feet.

Although the numbers were somewhat close, the Corvette beat out the Cobra R in other places. The Cobra R lacked air conditioning, an audio system, rear seats, sound dampening, and cruise control. The Corvette also lacked a back seat, but that's because it was never meant to have one, it wasn't a compromise. Also, because of the limited number of Cobra Rs that were built, the sticker price showed $55,5ish, but you couldn't buy one for under $75,000. The Corvette Z06 stuck pretty close to its price tag of just under $50,000 without a lot of limited edition inflation.

2001 Corvette Z06

Let's Go Over Some 2001 Corvette Z06 Numbers 

The 2001 Corvette Z06's proof of superiority is in the numbers. A 0-60-mph time is recorded at 4.3 seconds, and a 70-mph to 0 stop takes only 152-feet. In a quarter-mile sprint, the Corvette can cover it in 12.7 seconds at 113-mph. Hitting a 150-mph will only take you 28 seconds total, while a top speed of 170-mph is easily manageable. Although the top speed does suffer a little bit as the C5 Vettes will hit 175-mph, but that's because of the Z06 closer transmission clutch gear ratios. 

Hitting corners is another place where the Corvette Z06 shows no mercy to its competitors. Pulling .98 Gs in and out of corners is just what this sports car does, and that actually beats out all other sports cars out of there including the Viper GTS and the Ferrari 360 Modena, which are above the Corvette Z06s price bracket by a lot. 


Racing Z06 Corvette

Z06 Performance Built

Making sure everything was performance built was what this Corvette was all about, even both the dual mesh grilles in the front and the rear brake coolers in front of the rear wheel wells are completely functional. 

The 2001 Corvette Z06 is just like the new Z06s, although classified as a sports car, they perform like a supercar compared to their competition.