The Chevrolet C8 Corvette ZR1 is one of the most anticipated supercars since the first mid-engine ‘Vette was introduced four years ago. It will be the first Corvette to combine a hybrid powertrain, a twin-turbo V8 engine, and two electric motors on the front axle. The result is expected to be over 900 horsepower of total output, making it the most powerful Corvette ever, at least until the rumored Zora model is released.
With the ZR1 being spotted testing at the Nurburgring track there is renewed interest as to the power plant in the latest Corvette. But what exactly is in the engine bay of the ZR1? Based on some leaked info, we think these spy screen grabs might be a sneak peek at the engine that is powering this beast. Engineering CAD images show several details of the ZR1’s V8 engine. Here’s what we can learn from the leaked images of the LT7.
The engine is based on the 5.5-liter flat-plane-crank V8 that powers the naturally aspirated Corvette Z06 but with some major upgrades. The most obvious are the pair of turbochargers mounted on each side of the engine, connected to the intake by short charge pipes. Air boxes behind the engine feed the turbos via long, curved intake tubes, and the exhaust gases exit through four square-tipped outlets that resemble those on the regular Corvette Stingray.
The image also shows the engine cradle subframe assembly underneath the engine, similar to the one used in the standard C8. This suggests that the ZR1 will share some components and architecture with the base model but with some modifications to accommodate the hybrid system and the extra power.
The engine may have a different displacement than the Z06’s 5.5-liter unit, as Chevy could downsize it to reduce vibrations and improve efficiency. If Chevy decides to go with a smaller displacement, the turbos will more than make up for any reduction in cubic inches, as we expect the engine to produce at least 700 horsepower and much more torque than the Z06’s 460 lb-ft.
The ZR1’s hybrid system will consist of two electric motors on the front axle, each driving a single wheel. This will give the ZR1 all-wheel drive capability and a boost in power. The electric motors will be powered by a lithium-ion battery pack located in the central tunnel between the front seats, keeping the weight low and balanced.
The ZR1 will be a huge step up from the Z06 and the E-Ray, which is another hybrid variant of the Corvette that combines a 6.2-liter V-8 with a single electric motor on the front axle. The ZR1 will have more power, more torque, more grip, and more performance than any other Corvette in history.
The production version of the ZR1 is expected to debut either in late 2023 or sometime next year. Until then, we can only imagine how it will look and sound on the road. The E-Ray is the fastest Corvette ever made with the LT2 and one electric motor between the front wheels, so expect this new ZR1 to be a rocket ship. Although none of this is etched in stone and all speculation, at this point, whatever final form the ZR1 takes should be a game-changer for Chevrolet and supercars in general.