The Corvette ZR1 – A Supercar Bargain

The Chevrolet Corvette C06 ZR1 is an immense car, american muscle with intelligence. Headline figures are 638bhp, 604lbf-ft torque, 0-60mph in 3.3s, 205mph top speed and a supercharged 6.2L V8. During 2008 it gained the Nurburgring production car lap record at 7 minutes 26.4 seconds. A record which has since been eclipsed, but what’s incredible about this time is that the Ferrari Enzo is less than a second quicker than the ZR1 over the whole 12.9 mile Nordschleife circuit. And this is where my article begins.

The Corvette ZR1 is the most underrated modern supercar on the market. Despite its Ferrari Enzo baiting engine output (638bhp vs 651bhp and 604lb-ft vs 458lb-ft) and its almost identical Nurburgring track time, it really isn’t regarded in the same league as the Enzo. Understandably you can’t say a American supercharged V8 is ever going to outclass a Italian exotic V12, but at least it should get credit for getting over 90% of the experience. The other reason why the ZR1 is underrated is because even die hard Corvette fans look down at the ZR1, as its engine is based on the “lesser” LS3 V8 block rather than the larger output LS7 which is found in the Corvette Z06.

And this is where the intelligent side kicks in, Chevrolet built a supercar from the ground up. “Lesser” but lightweight engine strapped to a supercharger, Aluminium chassis, Carbon fibre body parts (roof, bonnet, bumpers), Carbon Ceramic brakes and magnetic selective dampers. This is a huge leap for a company like Chevrolet, to incorporate all the latest technology and ideas into a car that came out in 2009. The real coup was selling the ZR1 with a basic price of around $110,000 (£69,000).

With used Corvette ZR1 prices falling below $75,000 and the sterling exchange rate remaining strong against the dollar, it makes a fantastic personal import opportunity. A low mileage 1 owner ZR1 can be imported into the UK for less than £65,000 with all import and shipping charges included. With Ferrari Enzo prices now reaching £1,000,000 this is a sensational supercar bargain.

The Corvette ZR1 has all the supercar traits, impractical storage, heavy on fuel, low ground clearance and regular detailed maintenance  (although the ZR1 will be very cheap versus an Enzo). The ZR1 is not suited to driving everyday, it does have a harsh and unforgiving ride, and also a habit of being very tail happy, even with electronic aids enabled. But remember, this is a 640bhp rear wheel drive car that weighs 1550kg, making it a featherweight. The ZR1 is not designed to be an easy car to drive, just like the Porsche 911 GT2, it should be driven with respect and intelligence, otherwise it will punish you. This final observation highlights to me why this car is a true supercar. The supercars of the 80’s like the Countach and F40 will not rescue you if you make a mistake like most modern cars will. It takes real thought to drive them fast and real drivers skill. I believe the same is true about the Corvette ZR1. Take a look at the video below comparing it to the Audi R8 V10.

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