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Blue Devil / ZR1

The 6.2L LS9 V8: Heart of the 2009 Corvette ZR1

by Keith Cornett on December 20, 2007

The 2009 LS9 6.2L V8 will power the new Corvette ZR1

The small block V8 is one of the most enduring engines ever produced and time and again, the engineers at GM have found ways to push performance and efficiency to new levels. So its only fitting that with the flood of information that’s been released about the upcoming 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, we take a few minutes to stare in awe of what is essentially the heart of the new King of the Hill, the all-new LS9.

While the Corvette Z06 gets is power from the raw displacement of the 7.0L LS7, engineers took a step back by bringing the engine size back down to 6.2 liters and then boosted the power with a Eaton designed roots-type supercharger. Creating more power at lower RPM’s is the signature of the LS9. At 3,000 RPM’s the engine makes approximately 300 horsepower. GM has targeted 100 horsepower per liter, or 620 total horsepower and 595 pounds of torque. The SAE certified figures will be available in March 2008.

Press Release

2009 CORVETTE ZR1 POWERED BY THE MOST POWERFUL PRODUCTION ENGINE EVER FROM GM: THE SUPERCHARGED LS9 SMALL-BLOCK V-8

PONTIAC , Mich. – When it arrives next summer, the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 will be the most powerful and fastest production car ever produced by General Motors, with performance enabled by a new, supercharged 6.2L LS9 small-block V-8 engine.

Incorporating the engineering experience already found in the Corvette Z06′s LS7 engine and the new-for-2008 6.2L LS3 of the Corvette, GM Powertrain is targeting 100 horsepower per liter for the LS9, or 620 horsepower (462 kW), and approximately 595 lb.-ft. of torque (807 Nm); final SAE-certified power levels will be available in early March 2008.

It is, indeed, the ultimate small-block engine for the ultimate Corvette.

“When you experience the LS9 in the Corvette ZR1, the terms performance and refinement take on a new meaning,” said Tom Stephens, group vice president for GM Powertrain and Quality. “The LS9 demonstrates an outstanding performance range, with smooth driveability at low speeds, and surprisingly fierce performance when the customer wants more power.”

The enabler of the LS9′s performance is a new, large positive-displacement Roots-type supercharger – with a unique four-lobe design – developed for the engine by Eaton. It is teamed with an integrated charge cooling system that reduces inlet air temperature for maximum performance. The LS9 represents the first of several new, supercharged small-block engines that will be introduced in GM vehicles in the near future, each using superchargers of similar design.

“The small-block V-8 once again demonstrates it boundless horsepower potential, versatile design and an architecture with proven quality, durability and reliability,” said Stephens. “We haven’t yet realized the small-block’s performance potential.”

Performance range

More than just its tremendous peak horsepower and torque numbers, the supercharged LS9 makes big power at lower rpm and carries it in a wide arc to 6,600 rpm. GM Powertrain testing shows the engine makes approximately 300 horsepower (224 kW) at 3,000 rpm and nearly 320 lb.-ft. of torque (434 Nm) at only 1,000 rpm. Torque tops 585 lb.-ft. (793 Nm) at about the 4,000-rpm mark, while horsepower peaks at 6,500 rpm. The engine produces 90 percent of peak torque from 2,600 rpm to 6,000 rpm.

Heavy-duty and lightweight reciprocating components enable the engine’s confident high-rpm performance, while the large-displacement Eaton supercharger pushes enough air to help the engine maintain power through the upper levels of the rpm band.

“The sixth-generation design of the supercharger expands the ‘sweet zone’ of the compressor’s effectiveness, broadening it to help make power lower in the rpm band,” said Ron Meegan, assistant chief engineer. “To put it simply, the low-end torque is amazing.”

The LS9 is assembled by hand at GM’s Performance Build Center , a unique, small-volume engine production facility in Wixom , Mich. , that also builds the Corvette Z06′s LS7 engine and other high-performance GM production engines.

Cylinder block and reciprocating assembly details

The LS9′s aluminum cylinder block features steel, six-bolt main bearing caps, with enlarged vent windows in the second and third bulkheads for enhanced bay to bay breathing. Cast iron cylinder liners – measuring 4.06 inches (103.25 mm) in bore diameter – are inserted in the aluminum block and they are finish-bored and honed with a deck plate installed. The deck plate simulates the pressure and minute dimensional variances applied to the block when the cylinder heads are installed, ensuring a higher degree of accuracy that promotes maximum cylinder head sealing, piston ring fit and overall engine performance.

Nestled inside the cylinder block is a forged steel crankshaft that delivers the LS9′s 3.62-inch (92 mm) stroke. It features a smaller-diameter ignition-triggering reluctor wheel and a nine-bolt flange – the outer face of the crankshaft on which the flywheel is mounted – that provides more clamping strength. Other non-supercharged 6.2L engines, such as the base Corvette’s LS3, have a six-bolt flange. A torsional damper mounted to the front of the crankshaft features a keyway and friction washer, which also is designed to support the engine’s high loads.

Attached to the crankshaft is a set of titanium connecting rods and forged aluminum pistons, which, when combined with the cylinder heads, delivers a 9.1:1 compression ratio. This combination is extremely durable and lightweight, enabling the LS9′s high-rpm capability.

Cylinder head details

The basic cylinder head design of the LS9 is similar to the L92-type head found on the LS3 V-8, but it is cast with a premium A356T6 alloy that is better at handling the heat generated by the supercharged engine – particularly in the bridge area of the cylinder head, between the intake and exhaust valves.

In addition to the special aluminum alloy, each head is created with a rotocast method. Also known as spin casting, the process involves pouring the molten alloy into a rotating mold. This makes for more even distribution of the material and virtually eliminates porosity – air bubbles or pockets trapped in the casting – for a stronger finished product.

Although the heads are based on the L92 design, they feature swirl-inducing wings that are cast into the intake ports. This improves the mixture motion of the pressurized air/fuel charge. The charge enters the combustion chambers via titanium intake valves that measure 2.16 inches (55 mm) in diameter. Spent gases exit the chambers through 1.59-inch (40.4 mm) hollow stem sodium-filled exhaust valves. The titanium intake and sodium-filled exhaust valves are used for their lightweight and high-rpm capability.

To ensure sealing of the pressurized engine, unique, four-layer steel head gaskets are used with the LS9′s heads.

Camshaft and valvetrain

The broad power band enabled by the LS9′s large-displacement supercharger allows it to make strong low-end torque and great high-rpm horsepower, which allowed engineers to specify a camshaft with a relatively low lift of 0.555-inch (14.1 mm) for both the intake and exhaust valves. This low-overlap cam has lower lift and slower valve-closing speeds than the Z06′s 505-horsepower (377 kW) LS7, helping the LS9 – with its approximately 620 horsepower – deliver exemplary idle and low-speed driving qualities.

The camshaft actuates a valvetrain that includes many components, including the lifters, rocker arms and valve springs, of the LS3 engine. However, LS7 retainers are used to support the engine’s high-rpm performance.

Supercharger and charge cooler details

The LS9′s R2300 supercharger is a sixth-generation design from Eaton, with a case that is specific to the Corvette application. The supercharger features a new four-lobe rotor design that promotes quieter and more efficient performance, while its large, 2.3-liter displacement ensures adequate air volume at high rpm to support the engine’s high-horsepower aspiration. Maximum boost pressure is 10.5 psi (0.72 bar).

The supercharger is an engine-driven air pump that contains a pair of long rotors that are twisted somewhat like pretzel sticks. As they spin around each other, incoming air is squeezed between the rotors and pushed under pressure into the engine – forcing more air into the engine than it could draw under “natural” aspiration. The rotors are driven by a pulley and belt that are connected to the engine’s accessory drive system.

Because the pressurized air is hotter than naturally aspirated air, the LS9 employs a liquid-to-air charge cooling system to reduce inlet air temperature after it exits the supercharger – reducing the inlet air temperature by up to 60 degrees C (140 F). Cooler air is denser and allows the engine to make the most of its high-pressure air charge. The charge cooling system includes a dedicated coolant circuit with a remote-mounted pump and reservoir.

The design of the supercharger case and its integrated charge cooling system was driven by the space and dimensions afforded under the Corvette’s hood. To that end, the charge cooler was designed as a “dual brick” system, with a pair of low-profile heat exchangers mounted longitudinally on either side of the supercharger. Coupled with the supercharger itself, this integrated design mounts to the engine in place of a conventional intake manifold and is only slightly taller than a non-supercharged 6.2L engine. The air inlet and rotor drive pulley are positioned at the front of the supercharger.

Additional engine details

Oiling system: The LS9 uses a dry-sump oiling system that is similar in design to the LS7′s system, but features a higher-capacity pump to ensure adequate oil pressure at the higher cornering loads the ZR1 is capable of achieving. An oil-pan mounted oil cooler is integrated, too, along with piston-cooling oil squirters located in the cylinder block. The expanded performance envelope of the Corvette ZR1 required changes to the dry sump system also used in the Z06. System capacity is increased and scavenge performance improved to meet the demands of Chevrolet’s highest-performance sportscar.

Water pump: To compensate for the heavier load generated by the supercharger drive system, an LS9-specific water pump with increased bearing capacity is used.

Accessory drive system: To package the accessory drive system in the Corvette’s engine compartment, the supercharger drive was integrated into the main drive system. This required a wider 11-rib accessory drive system to be used with the LS9 in order to support the load delivered by the supercharger.

Fuel system: The LS9 uses high-capacity 48-lb./hr. fuel injectors with center-feed fuel lines. The center feed system ensures even fuel flow between the cylinders with less noise. In order to ensure fuel system performance during low speed operation as well as under the extreme performance requirements of wide open throttle (WOT), a dual pressure fuel system was developed. This system operates at 250 kPa at idle and low speed, and ratchets up to 600 kPa at higher-speed and WOT conditions.

Throttle body: An 87-mm, single-bore throttle body is used to draw air into the engine. It is electronically controlled.

Rocker covers / ignition coils: Unique rocker covers with new, direct-mount ignition coils are used. Other Gen IV engines, such as the LS3, feature coil packs mounted to a bracket. The LS9′s direct-mounted coils offer a cleaner appearance and a shorter lead between the coil and spark plug.

Beauty cover: A special engine cover is attached to the top of the LS9. It surrounds the intercooler, which is visible through a hood window. The intercooler has the legend “LS9 SUPERCHARGED” embossed on the left and right sides, and the engine beauty cover features the Corvette crossed flags logo debossed at the front.

New six-speed manual transmission

The Corvette ZR1′s LS9 engine is backed by a Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual transmission, with a twin-disc clutch system. It is based on the new-for-2008 TR6060 six-speed, but upgraded to handle the LS9′s torque output and delivers improved shift quality.

The twin-disc clutch system provides exceptional clamping power, while maintaining an easy clutch effort. The system employs a pair of 260-mm discs, which spreads out the engine’s torque load over a wider area, enabling tremendous clamping power to channel the LS9′s torque. It also dissipates heat better and extends the clutch life (in normal driving).

Thanks to comparatively small plates, the twin-disc system enables similar disc inertia to the Corvette Z06, which has a 290-mm single-disc system, contributing to low shift effort and providing exceptionally smooth engagement and light pedal effort. In fact, the more powerful ZR1 has a pedal effort similar to the Z06.

ZR1-specific gearing in the transmission provides a steep first-gear ratio that helps launch the car. The car’s top speed is achieved in sixth gear – a change from the fifth-gear top-speed run-outs in the manual transmission Corvette and Corvette Z06. The gears also are designed to balance performance with refinement. The angles of the gear teeth are optimized to provide both strength and quietness.


Sources:
National Corvette Museum

Related:
The New King of the Hill: The 2009 Corvette ZR1
2009 Corvette ZR1 Image Gallery
Corvette ZR1 News Archive

Technorati Tags:
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Back in October when the new 2009 Corvette ZR-1 was let off its chain for a couple of hot laps around Monterey’s Laguna Seca raceway, we were able to see the copilot holding what appeared to be a video camera. Now the good folks at Corvette Quarterly, the official publication of Corvette, has uploaded the video so that you too can experience the estimated 650 ponies from the new supercharged LS-9.

Click to view the 2009 Corvette ZR-1
Damn, that car is fast. From the beginning, Corvette Racing’s Johnny O’Connell gets on it and doesn’t let go until the end. Thanks, Corvette Quarterly! That was fun!
Source:
Corvette Quarterly Related:
Video: Corvette ZR1 at Monterey’s Laguna Seca
More Corvette ZR-1 Video from Laguna Seca
Corvette ZR1 Video: Manual Transmission and Other Observations
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Word on the street is that the Jalops have entered the Witness Protection Program since publishing photos last night of the 2009 Corvette ZR1′s supercharged LS9 power plant. The high quality of the photos has the Jalops a bit worried about receiving a visit from GM’s Men in Black. With the public debut planned for January’s Detroit auto show, the General can’t be too happy having their promotional photos splashed across the interwebs this far out. The good news? We get to bring them to you without having to run for our lives.

2009 Corvette ZR1's supercharged LS9 power plant
Visit Jalopnik.com to see all the photos of the 2009 Corvette ZR1′s LS9 engine.
Source:
Jalopnik.com Related:
LeftLaneNews Details GM’s LS Engine Plans
Video: Corvette ZR1 at Monterey’s Laguna Seca Technorati Tags:
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More Corvette ZR-1 Video from Laguna Seca

by Keith Cornett on November 7, 2007

Our friends at Winding Road have posted another look at the Corvette ZR-1 that took Laguna Seca by storm two weeks ago. This video captures the sound of the Corvette as it rounds a couple of turns.


Source:
Winding Road Related:
Video: Corvette ZR1 at Monterey’s Laguna Seca
Corvette ZR1 Video: Manual Transmission and Other Observations Technorati Tags:
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LeftLaneNews Details GM’s LS Engine Plans

by Keith Cornett on October 31, 2007

Leftlanenews.com did a query of their sources at GM to provide a detailed look of future plans for GM’s LS engines. For our purposes, we’ll cover the three that have implications for Corvette: The LS7, LS8 and LS9. The LS7
The LS7 is a naturally aspirated 7.0 liter motor and is the current top of the line performance engine for GM, appearing exclusively in the Corvette Z06. It is hand built at GM’s Wixom Performance Center, and therefore very expensive to make. The LS7′s days are numbered according to Leftlanenews sources, ceasing production sometime during late 2009 or mid-2010. Previous rumors of the Cadillac CTS-V getting the LS7 appear to be false. Instead, the performance Cadillac sedan will get the new LSA motor next year with the Corvette Z06 upgrading to the supercharged small block LS8 in 2010. The LS8
The LS8 is a 6.2 liter smallblock V8 with a supercharger. This motor will be dropped into the top-end Zeta platform cars with the Camaro Z28 being the most likely candidate. Initial specs have it at 475-500 horsepower with a choice of manual or automatic transmissions. As mentioned above, the Corvette Z06 will receive this power plant in 2010 with a possibility of an uptuned version to ensure Corvette’s horsepower superiority over the Zeta cars. The last thing a Corvette owner who plunks down $75K for a Z06 is going to want to hear is that they bought the Corvette with the Camaro engine. The LS9
So much has already been written about the LS9 that is seems like it’s already in production and out on the streets. Another 6.2 liter smallblock V8 with a supercharger, it has an integrated intercooler on the intake manifold. Estimated horsepower is speculated to be 650 hp with 700 hp in reach. The ZR-1 may also feature an optional automatic with paddle shifters. Earlier this year it was said that the LS9 would come only equipped as an automatic, but the run by the ZR-1 with an LS9 coupled to a 6-speed manual transmission at Laguna Seca earlier this month quashed that rumor. The LS9 will be hand built starting in July 2008 at Wixom Performance Center alongside the LS7 as no more than 2,000 units are expected per year.
Source:
Leftlanenews.com Related:
PM’s Jim Dunne Debunks Corvette SS Rumors
2009 Caddy CTS-V Getting 600hp Blue Devil Corvette Engine? Technorati Tags:
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Back in July, Popular Mechanic’s Jim Dunne wrote an article that was designed to debunk several myths about the Corvette SS (ZR1). Dunne’s Myth #1 was the Corvette SS (ZR1) will only be offered in an Automatic transmission because the LS9 has proven to be too strong for GM’s manual transmission. The Corvette ZR1 video from Laguna Seca shows a close-up of the steering wheel which is absent the paddle shifters used on 2008 automatic-equipped Corvettes. You can also see movement from the driver’s hand on the gear shift which assumes putting the Corvette into reverse as the car moves away from the trailer. While it’s possible that GM is using a non-paddle shift automatic on this pre-production alpha, this is a good sign that the 6 speed manual may be made available on the production 2009 model.

Corvette ZR1 at Laguna Seca
Another interesting tidbit picked up from the video shows the passenger holding a video camera throughout the lap. Whether or not this will be for public consumption or internal use will undoubtedly be decided by the powers at be at General Motors.
Corvette ZR1 at Laguna Seca
Relating to the ZR1 Corvette run in Monterey: Our “friends” at WindingRoad.com have 17 hi-res photos of the Corvette ZR1 at Laguna Seca. By far the best discussions about the Corvette ZR1 at Laguna Seca are at DigitalCorvettes.com. Check out their website’s header to see what they believe the Corvette ZR1 will look like without the side vent covers and checkerboard paint on the hood. They even nailed the wheels! Lastly, we hope our friends at Badboy Vettes were unscathed with the releasing of the ZR1 photo on Thursday evening. There’s a bit of a debate that either the photo was staged and the release planned, or that BadBoy Vettes were just living up to their name, being bad boys. That single photo sparked more interest (and page views!) than any previous news about the Corvette ZR1 in recent months and set off a flurry of blog posts on all the major automotive websites. Thanks again guys for your work on behalf of the Corvette community.
Source:
CorvetteBlogger.com YouTube Channel Related:
Motor Trend Posts Photos of Corvette ZR1 at Laguna Seca
ZR1 Corvette Found Bound and Gagged in a Trailer
PM’s Jim Dunne Debunks Corvette SS Rumors Technorati Tags:
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ZR1 Corvette Found Bound and Gagged in a Trailer

by Keith Cornett on October 19, 2007

Browsing the BBV site a bit after midnight, I was shocked to see a new photo on the home page with a caption that reads Is This What We Think It Is? Having seen how the BadBoy Vettes guys like to dish out tidbits of info slowly, mostly related to our favorite racing team, its not surprising that there are no other words other than that title considering they just posted what appears to be the Corvette Blue Devil/ZR1.

Details of the most sought sports car on the planet is generally not something you dish out slowly, unless of course BBV is still setting up their Google AdSense account or booking that flight out of the country. So until we can find out any more details about this photograph, we are left to draw our own conclusions as well as make plans to refresh the BBV site oh, say 100 times in the next 12-24 hours to see if there is any update. Update:
The word on the street is this ZR1 is in Monterey and will lap the track at Laguna Seca sometime over the weekend!!
Source:
BadBoyVettes.com Related:
First 2009 Corvette ZR-1 to be Auctioned at Barrett-Jackson? Technorati Tags:
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Jalopnik Puts $1K Bounty on Corvette ZR1 Photos

by Keith Cornett on October 19, 2007

Los Jalops have offered a $1,000 bounty to the first person that can bag and send 8 high quality digital photos of the Corvette ZR1 that’s been found hiding in Monterey, California. The bounty has strings attached, so the chances of actually winning the cash are somewhat slim. The good news is that Jalopnik will hopefully be inundated with photos which they will then share for the rest of us. Details can be found at Jalopnik.com The Corvette ZR1 is expected to take some hot laps at Laguna Seca this weekend, site of the final ALMS race for 2007. GM, perhaps realizing that the genie is out of the bottle, has progressed from hiding the car at all cost, to allowing controlled promotional views at 200 mph. For those of us 3000 miles away, hopefully SPEED TV has been made aware and we’ll get to see some footage during the race. Way to go GM! And thanks to BadBoyVettes.com for their efforts as well.
Source:
Jalopnik.com Related:
ZR1 Corvette Found Bound and Gagged in a Trailer Technorati Tags:
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Motor Trend Posts Photos of Corvette ZR1 at Laguna Seca

by Keith Cornett on October 19, 2007

According to the Motor Trend Blog, the much talked about hype of the new supervette visiting Monterey is already a memory. The Velocity Yellow Corvette ZR1 did two hot laps around the track before heading back to the pits, where it was loaded back into its transport. The photos show the familiar black camouflage replaced by a painted hood with a black/yellow checkerboard design that seems to throw of the perspectives of the hood. But the bulge is there, as well as the carbon fiber top and a black rear spoiler. Also new are the wheels which, according to various reports, are being made by CCW. Motor Trend’s man on the ground says the car was loaded in its trailer following the laps and is now on its way back to Detroit. I do believe that to probably be the case as GM generated the hype they were looking for, did their laps, and then got out before the crowds arrive for tomorrow’s race. I did sent out a message to my friend at BBV to find out what he is hearing. Knowing BBV and their knack for getting GM to bend to their will, that’s probably them (Dan and Eddie) driving the damn car.

Motor Trend captures the ZR1 at Laguna Seca Motor Trend captures the ZR1 at Laguna Seca
Photo Credit: MotorTrend.com

Update:
This was posted on the CorvetteForum.com by BAD 99. The driver is Corvette Racing’s Johnny O’Connell. Click for larger photo! Just In: Click here for Video
Corvette ZR1 at Laguna Seca

Source:
MotorTrend.com
Related:
Jalopnik Puts $1K Bounty on Corvette ZR1 Photos
ZR1 Corvette Found Bound and Gagged in a Trailer Technorati Tags:
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Video: Corvette ZR1 at Monterey’s Laguna Seca

by Keith Cornett on October 19, 2007

The following video of the Corvette ZR1 at Monterey’s Laguna Seca appeared on the American LeMans Series website as a podcast download. The Corvette made a couple of hot laps and then retired. Enjoy!


Source:
AmericanLeMans.com via BadBoyVettes.com Related:
Motor Trend Posts Photos of Corvette ZR1 at Laguna Seca
Jalopnik Puts $1K Bounty on Corvette ZR1 Photos
ZR1 Corvette Found Bound and Gagged in a Trailer Technorati Tags:
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