Long time readers of CorvetteBlogger know that I don’t many comparo stories. Although not perfect, the Corvette has proven to be MY favorite car time and time again and I don’t need to get into a dick measuring contest to prove it. But as we get close to Sebring, I started thinking about the fight between Porsche and Corvette and how all that racing technology transfers to street cars. I guess the folks at Porsche’s Excellence Magazine had the same thoughts and decided to find out what happens when you pit the ultimate street versions against each other.
Blue Devil / ZR1
As Corvette Racing gears up for the start of the 2010 American Le Mans Series, the team is releasing additional details regarding the changes needed for competing in the now unified GT class. The most notable change for the GT Corvettes is the new LS5.5R V8 engine. Built alongside its LS9, LS7 and LS3 dry-sump brethrens at the Performance Build Center in Wixom, this new LS7 based engine is slimmed down to 5.5 liters and delivers 485 horsepower at 5800 rpms.
“The Supercharged 638 hp Corvette ZR1 with two Grand Sports”
GM Behind the Scenes
A GM official told Jalopnik that they were considering letting Corvette ZR1 buyers build their own LS9 638 horsepower engine that would then be installed in their very car. This was confirmed by Tom Read from GM’s Advanced Powertrain Technology Communications who said “We are considering the program”.
A Corvette ZR1 , ZO6 and Supercharged Indy 500 Pace Car do doughnuts. Goes perfectly with your morning coffee so enjoy!
In October, we posted a video claiming to show the fastest quarter mile time set for a bone-stock Corvette ZR1. That run of 10.851 @ 129.89 MPH was just eclipsed last week by Corvette Forum member “blownlt1&c6z” who ran 10.74 @ 133.21 mph in his bone-stock (including tires) 2009 Corvette ZR1. Both these runs happened at the same track – Maryland International Raceway.
This Wixom walk-through video was released in late November on Chevrolet’s YouTube channel. Master Engine Builder Don Henley takes us through the various stages and quality checks as a 638-hp LS9 is assembled. For us, the real magic comes when we see the interaction these builders have with Corvette owners.
Lingenfelter had their Corvette ZR1 test mule making quarter mile passes at Maryland International Raceway on December 7th and during one of the runs, the Corvette ran 9.81 @ 145.74 mph. This is believed to be the first Corvette ZR1 to see the 9′s on a quarter mile run.
Autoblog had the rare opportunity to visit GM’s Performance Build Center in Wixom, Michigan where they worked along side master engine builder Mike Armstrong to assemble an LS9 engine. The PBC is unique to GM’s other engine assembly centers as each engine is assembled by hand from start to finish by a single engine builder as opposed to sending the engine down an assembly line where multiple workers add the same part over and over.