Is this why Ford said it wasn't interested in chasing lap records?
Chevrolet has taken some notes from Koenigsegg it seems. Barely one week after Ford touted its production-car lap record at Virginia International Raceway with the Ford GT, the crosstown rivals sent the new Corvette ZR1 to the track and upstaged the Blue Oval with a time of 2:37.25. For the record (pun absolutely intended), that’s over a full second better than the GT’s 2:38.62 time. Ouch.
It gets better, or worse if you’re a Ford fan. The record was set not during a dedicated attempt, but during validation testing the automaker was conducting on the Corvette.
“The track had been empty since mid-December, so it was a bit slow when we started, but the conditions turned pretty quick at the end,” said Chevrolet’s Vehicle Performance Manager Alex MacDonald. “On the heels of announcing our Z06 time of 2:39.77, the ZR1 lap time is the icing on the cake. It’s not too often you set a lap record during validation testing.”
According to Chevrolet, the ZR1 was at VIR for “routine validation testing” and set up per the owner’s manual with recommended alignment and aero settings. In this case, routine meant 24 hours of hardcore, at-limit track testing. Vehicle Dynamics Engineer Jim Mero – who has the awesome job of driving Corvettes as fast as possible – was at the wheel for the record run, though several General Motors engineers turned laps.
Here’s where things get a little interesting. Chevrolet doesn’t specifically mention when the record was set. The video above was uploaded to YouTube today (January 31) and the press release has the same date. Meanwhile, the press release only mentions “earlier this month” as a general time frame for the record. Could Chevrolet had already set its record and kept it a secret, knowing Ford would be having a go in the GT? It could also be why Ford said just yesterday that it wasn’t interested in chasing lap records – perhaps word of the ZR1’s run got to the Blue Oval ahead of the official Chevy announcement, and Ford was doing a bit of backpedaling. Still, it’s not like either car is slow, and a one-second difference can be made up by a changes in weather and track temperatures, something Ford also alluded to yesterday by saying its record run took place in “less than ideal circuit conditions.” More backpedaling perhaps?
In any case, Chevy just beat Ford after having the VIR crown for just eight days, and you know that has to sting execs in Dearborn. Time to grab the popcorn and see how far this fight will go.
Gallery: Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Sets VIR Lap Record
CORVETTE ZR1 SETS LAP RECORD AT VIR
Fastest production Corvette ever establishes new benchmark at Virginia International Raceway
DETROIT — Chevrolet today announced that the 2019 Corvette ZR1 set a production-car lap record on the 4.1-mile Grand Course West at Virginia International Raceway with a time of 2:37.25.
Along with a harness bar and track seats with five-point harnesses, the record-setting stock ZR1 coupe was equipped with the available paddle-shift eight-speed automatic and ZTK Performance Package, which includes an adjustable carbon-fiber High Wing, a front splitter with carbon-fiber end caps, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 summer-only tires, and specific chassis and Magnetic Ride Control tuning.
“The Corvette ZR1’s lap record at VIR, arguably America’s most challenging road course, is a testament to its supercar status,” said Mark Reuss, executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. “On the racetrack, the ZR1 can compete with any supercar — at any price.”
On sale this spring, the ZR1 coupe will carry a suggested retail price of $119,995 (price includes destination charge, but excludes tax, title and other dealer fees). The ZTK Performance Package will cost $2,995.
The ZR1’s record lap at VIR was set during routine validation testing earlier this month, with vehicle dynamics engineer Jim Mero at the wheel. The car was set up per the owner’s manual’s recommended track alignment and aerodynamic settings. As part of the validation, the ZR1 was finalizing its total of 24 hours of at-limit track testing, with multiple GM Performance engineers logging laps.
“The track had been empty since mid-December, so it was a bit slow when we started, but the conditions turned pretty quick at the end,” said Alex MacDonald, manager, Vehicle Performance. “On the heels of announcing our Z06 time of 2:39.77, the ZR1 lap time is the icing on the cake. It’s not too often you set a lap record during validation testing.”
The ZR1’s exclusive LT5 6.2L supercharged engine is rated at an SAE-certified 755 horsepower (563 kW) and 715 lb-ft of torque (969 Nm). The LT5 features a new, more-efficient intercooled supercharger system, along with GM’s first dual fuel-injection system, which employs primary direct injection and supplemental port injection. Compared to the supercharger system on the Corvette Z06’s LT4 engine, the LT5 employs a larger, 2.65-liter supercharger that generates more boost while spinning at a slightly slower speed. That reduces heat to help maintain a lower air intake temperature for optimal performance.
Four new radiators also help manage cooling in the ZR1, which features 13 radiators in all, including circuits for engine oil, transmission and differential cooling.