: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?”
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.”
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.