Ripping the ‘Ring: Stock ZR1 Laps Nürburgring in 7:26.4
By: Tadge J. Juechter
Corvette Chief Engineer
I know many people have been very interested in how fast the ZR1 would be at the Ring…
Most car enthusiasts are quite familiar with the Nürburgring. Built in the 1920’s near Cologne, Germany, “the Ring” is considered to be the toughest and most challenging race track in the world.
Over the last two weeks, we have been doing our final tuning and testing there before we start ZR1 production cars. This morning (Friday June 27), General Motors development engineer Jim Mero drove the Corvette ZR1 around the Nürburgring in a time of 7:26.4.
Jim commented after the lap that conditions were good except for a strong headwind down the main straight and that the lap was solid, but he felt there were a few places he could have gone faster.
The car was bone stock with the exception of the communications and safety equipment. The tires were production Michelin Pilot Sport 2’s. These tires have been developed specifically for the ZR1 and will have impressive wet traction and wear (tread wear rating = 220), in addition to excellent dry road holding. Chassis alignment and vehicle height were set to factory specs. Likewise, the engine calibrations were absolutely stock, emissions compliant and the car ran on pump (not racing) fuel. The vehicle was exactly like the cars that will be built in Bowling Green, Kentucky and sold around the world later this summer.
Despite posting one of the fastest times ever run by a production car, Nürburgring lap times were not an over-riding priority in the development of the ZR1. The truth is, if the only priority was speed at the ring, the car would not be very pleasant to drive on American roads. The ZR1 is an incredibly capable track machine, but unlike most ultra-high performance cars, it is very easy to live with on a daily basis.
The timed lap was run with a rolling start, a departure from our previous practice of standing starts. This is more aligned with current industry practice. The lap was electronically timed and confirmed with two hand-held stopwatches. An in-car video will be posted when the engineering team returns from Germany. Look for it the week of July 7!