By 2009, the Chevrolet Corvette was entering the fifth year of the C6 generation’s model run, and it set the performance world ablaze with the announcement of the ZR1. This designation was previously used on special versions of the C3 and C4 Corvettes. The C3 used it as a competition upgrade package, while the C4 ZR1 was a high-performance model featuring a quad-cam engine designed by Lotus. The C6 ZR1 Corvette was a completely different beast, with performance that put America’s sports car on par with the world’s quickest and most expensive exotic cars.
Internally named “Blue Devil” (an homage to GM CEO Rick Wagoneer’s alma mater of Duke), the ZR1 was powered by a new LS9 powerplant with a target of 100 horsepower-per-liter. This supercharged 6.2-liter V8 made 638 horsepower and 595 pound-feet of torque, and that’s just the tip of the performance iceberg.
A 6-speed close-ratio manual puts the power to the rear wheels, sent through a high capacity torque-tube. The ZR1 features 19-inch front wheels and 20-inch rear wheels, wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tires (The tire maker was a developmental partner with the Corvette race team). The suspension has been revised to handle more than 1g in cornering, while massive carbon ceramic brake disks bring the ZR1 to a brisk stop with less brake degradation.
The sprint from 0-60 takes just over 3 seconds and the C6 ZR1 can hit a top speed over 200 mph. You can tell the ZR1 apart by its power dome hood, which includes a polycarbonate window so you can see the Eaton twin-scroll supercharger. The ZR1 also has a unique full-width spoiler, lower front splitter, added vents, and a carbon fiber roof.
Of the 16,956 Corvettes sold in 2009, just over 1,400 examples were ZR1s. You’ll more likely find the Corvette as the base Coupe, Convertible, or Z06. The Coupe and Convertible have a 430-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 (naturally aspirated), while the Z06 is equipped with a 7.0-liter V8 making 505 horsepower. The base Coupe represented nearly half of all ’09 ‘Vette sales, while the Convertible and Z06 were about a fifth each.