:11Òthe Ed Loh: Edi­tor-in-chief ZR1 needs to go to fin­ish­ing school to get all of its kinks worked out; oth­er­wise, what’s the point of all this power?”

Motor Trend (USA) - - 2018 Best Driver’s Car -

We were ready to lap the ZR1 at the end of day one at WRLS, but the Chevy team begged for a morn­ing run in the cool, dense air. Per­haps they should have let the af­ter­noon heat rob this 755-hp beast of a few wheel-spin­ning horses, be­cause even in the scorch­ing heat of Route 198, ev­ery driver com­plained about over­pow­er­ing the rear tires. We’ve seen this movie be­fore: Is Chevy re­run­ning it to pro­mote its forth­com­ing, bet­ter bal­anced mid-en­gine Corvette?

Trac­tion-en­hanc­ing plot twists this year in­clude ul­tra-sticky Miche­lin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires and a big-wing aero pack­age good for 950 pounds of down­force at top speed. But ab­sent a 180-mph head­wind in low-speed cor­ners, even this car’s ul­tra-savvy trac­tion-con­trol sys­tem was ut­terly over­whelmed. Randy Pobst reck­ons that with five days and 10 sets of tires he could shave an­other sec­ond-plus off his lap time. But that would still leave the Corvette 1.5 sec­onds off the pace of our cur­rent lead­ers.

Merely quick mor­tals find them­selves even far­ther off the pace they can set in the top-fin­ish­ing cars. Notes Chris Wal­ton: “The front obeys, but I never, ever trust the rear.” Scott Evans called out its “nerve-wrack­ing ride.” The au­to­matic trans­mis­sion’s sport-shift­ing logic and slow shifts—even when us­ing the pad­dles—drew uni­ver­sal ire. “I’m tired of the ex­cuses,” Jonny Lieber­man sniped. “It’s the equiv­a­lent of driv­ing an Igloo cooler with 755 horse­power.”

Pluses in­clude its fu­ri­ous en­gine and ex­haust notes as well as the phe­nom­e­nal binders that al­lowed Pobst to de­lay brak­ing un­til he was “up there where I brake in the 300-hp cars.” The in­for­ma­tive head-up dis­play with up­shift in­di­ca­tor helps, too.

Ed Loh de­clared the ZR1 “the best­sound­ing one here from idle to wideopen throt­tle.” Guest judge Jethro Bov­ing­don de­scribed it as “so an­gry— loud enough to wake the dead and sharp enough to some­times make you think you’re about to join them.”

Words Frank Markus

EN­GINE SWAP We boldly and con­fi­dently pre­dict that nearly ev­ery­thing that’s wrong with this car will be eas­ily reme­died by hav­ing the cock­pit and en­gine swap spots on what is oth­er­wise an ex­cel­lent chas­sis.

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