Last year, when Chevy introduced the 2019 Corvette ZR1, the automaker said top speed would be 212 miles per hour. According to Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter, the automaker verified the car’s top speed at the Papenberg test track in Germany. Chevy achieved the top speed by averaging two flying-mile runs. Today, we have a video of two test runs.
The video, filled from edge to edge with the track flying by, also shows the real-time speed at the top, an in-car view in one corner, and the rpm and gear selection in the other corner. Chevy used a ZR1 with the standard wing setup. The High Wing option, which is optimized for the race track, would have sapped about 10 mph from the car’s overall top speed.
The ZR1’s first run hits 214.88 mph in seventh gear at around 5,400 rpm. The second run is a tad slower at 210.20 mph, this time at about 5,300 rpm in seventh gear. The reason there are two attempts at the top speed, which are then averaged, is wind. A strong head or tailwind can significantly affect a car’s top speed, especially when you measure to the hundredth of a mile an hour. It’s the surest way to get the car’s top speed accurately.
Could the ZR1 go fast? Given enough space, possibly, but only up to 215 mph. Chevy limits the ZR1’s top speed to 215.
“We didn’t actually expect to get there, but we were surprised when we hit the speed limiter,” Juechter said when Chevy introduced the ZR1 last November. “We talked about raising it [the limiter], but the tires were validated to 215.”
The top speed run also shows how effortlessly the ZR1 can reach its top speed. Inside the cabin, it looks serene. Granted, the ZR1 is on a smooth test track. Power comes from a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 LT5 engine that develops 755 horsepower (563 kilowatts) at 6,300 rpm and an immense maximum torque of 715 pound-feet (969 Newton-meters) at 4,400 rpm. Transmissions include a seven-speed manual with active rev match or an eight-speed automatic.
Obviously, don’t try this at home.