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C6 Corvette

Video: Unveiling the 2008 Indy 500 Corvette Pace Cars

by Keith Cornett on December 29, 2007

On December 27th, Chevrolet and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway raised the curtain on two unique 2008 Corvettes that will serve as pace cars for the 92nd Indianapolis 500. The event was held in downtown Indianapolis at the RCA dome. Click the video to watch the unveiling as it happened, as well as listen to the various dignitaries pontificate about the Corvette and its involvement with the greatest spectacle in racing, the Indianapolis 500.

2008 Corvette Indy 500 Pace Car Unveiling


Sources:
Indianapolis 500

Related:
Two Unique Corvettes to Pace the 2008 Indianapolis 500
Corvette’s 2008 Indy Pace Car Unveiling Date Set
Flashback: Corvette Convertible to Pace Indianapolis 500

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Two Unique Corvettes to Pace the 2008 Indianapolis 500

by Keith Cornett on December 28, 2007

Two corvettes, representing the future and past, have been selected to pace the 2008 Indianapolis 500. A customized Z06 E85 Concept allows GM to promote its progress in alternative fuel solutions while the second Corvette pays homage to the first Corvette to ever pace the Indy 500, the 1978 Corvette Pace Car. A 30th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, complete with black and silver graphics will be reproduced as both coupes and convertibles and will have a limited production run of only 500 Corvettes.

This is Corvette’s 10th appearance at the 500 and a record 5th consecutive race serving pace car duties. This race will be unique as it will be the first time that two models have paced the Indianapolis 500 in the same year.

While the E85 concept is intriging, its the 30th Anniversary model that has us stoked. This is perhaps one of the most serious looking pace car designs incorporated since the original scheme 30 years ago. We also like that fact that you can purchase the replica in either Coupe or Convertible configurations, as well as either a 6-speed manual or paddle-shift automatic. This should lead to some interesting variations and quantities when the 500 replicas are produced. Pricing and availability will be annouced at a later date.

     

The official press release from GM:

INDIANAPOLIS Known for their charismatic designs and superior performance, the pack-leading pace cars share a special place in Indianapolis 500 lore. History will be made at the 2008 Indianapolis 500 when a pair of distinctive yet highly differentiated Corvette models will serve as the official pace cars one highlighting Chevrolet’s commitment to fuel solutions and the other marking 30 years of Corvette’s pace car heritage.

Chevrolet and Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials gathered at the Indianapolis Auto Show to make the historic announcement.

One of the pace cars is a customized Corvette Z06 E85 concept that runs on E85 ethanol fuel, a domestically produced alternative fuel similar to the E100 fuel that powers all of the racecars in the IndyCar Series. It will be driven during the race’s pace lap by two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Emerson Fittipaldi.

The other official pace car is a black-and-silver commemorative edition that marks the 30th anniversary of the celebrated 1978 pace car the first Corvette to pace the field at the Indianapolis 500. Chevrolet will produce a total of 500 pace car replicas in both coupe and convertible form, each signed personally by Fittipaldi at the Corvette’s Bowling Green, Ky., assembly plant.

“Although not a production FlexFuel vehicle, the Corvette Z06 E85 concept pace car is a high-performance example of Chevrolet’s gas-friendly to gas-free initiative, demonstrating viable fuel solutions,” said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. “As an ethanol refiner in his native Brazil, Emerson Fittipaldi is the fitting Chevrolet champion to help support GM’s efforts with E85 and celebrate 30 years of the Corvette pacing the Indianapolis 500.”

The 92nd Indianapolis 500 takes place on Sunday, May 25, 2008. It will be the Corvette’s 10th appearance as the official pace car a record unmatched by any other vehicle.

“It’s only fitting that Corvette will be the first car to earn the distinction of having two models pace the Indianapolis 500 in the same year,” said Joie Chitwood, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president and chief operating officer. “Chevrolet and Corvette are a vital part of the rich history of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” and we’re honored to have a great champion of the race and of alternative fuels, Emerson Fittipaldi, as this year’s pace car driver.”

Corvette Z06 E85 concept
The Corvette Z06 E85 concept pace car is based on the production Z06 already one of the fastest and most powerful cars on the market and blends its performance with the high-octane, renewable alternative fuel that is derived from a variety of crops grown across the United States.

E85 is blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Its benefits include reduced emissions of greenhouse gases and a reduced dependence on petroleum. GM is the leader in E85 production models, with more than 2.5 million E85-capable cars, trucks and SUVs on the road with more on the way. Chevrolet offers seven E85-capable models in 2008.

Apart from the fuel system and powertrain controller revisions required to run E85, the Z06 concept pace car is mechanically stock. It is distinguished by a unique Gold Rush Green color-shifting paint scheme that changes between hues of green and gold when viewed from different angles and in different light. A subtle checkered flag pattern also is part of the paint scheme. Safety equipment and strobe lights are the only other equipment added to the car.

Emerson Fittipaldi: ambassador of racing and ethanol
After winning the Indianapolis 500 in 1989 and 1993 while driving for Chevrolet and spending 30 years in his native Brazil as a refiner of ethanol Emerson Fittipaldi is the perfect ambassador to lead the Indianapolis 500 in an E85-powered Corvette Z06.

“Most of the vehicles in Brazil are powered by ethanol produced from crops grown in the country, so I understand how a domestically produced renewable fuel can help the energy solutions of a nation,” Fittipaldi said. “And the E85-powered Z06 concept pace car proves economic and environmental consciousness can be fun and exhilarating. I can’t wait to get it on the racetrack.”

Fittipaldi, whose personal cars include a Corvette Z06 and a Camaro awarded after winning the 1993 Indianapolis 500, resides in both Florida and Brazil. He has interests in several Brazilian ethanol companies and is an ardent champion of ethanol as a viable alternative to gasoline.

Brazil the fifth-largest country in the world is a global leader in ethanol usage in automobiles. Approximately 70 percent of Brazilian new cars are equipped with FlexFuel systems that allow the use of a gasoline/ethanol mix or pure ethanol. Ethanol production has grown tremendously during the last three decades and has allowed the country to practically wean itself completely from imported oil.

30th Anniversary commemorative edition
Commemorating one of the most recognizable Indianapolis 500 pace cars, the Corvette 30th Anniversary Pace Car features a black exterior with silver graphics that honors the 1978 model the production replicas of which became instant collectibles and continue to stand as an iconic symbol of Corvette’s heritage at the front of the Indy field.

In addition to the exterior color scheme, the anniversary models are equipped with a special, two-tone titanium-color interior, with the Indianapolis 500 logo embroidered on the seats. Coupe and convertible models are available. Each replica will be personally signed and numbered by Emerson Fittipaldi.

Both the coupe and convertible come equipped with Corvette’s 3LT option package, Z51 performance package and dual-mode exhaust. Additional features include:

  • Choice of six-speed manual or six-speed paddle-shift automatic transmissions
  • LS3 small block V8 with 436 hp
  • New-for-2008 forged chrome five-spoke aluminum wheels
  • Corvette Z06 rear spoiler
  • Silver checkered flag graphics
  • Indy 500 logo fender badges

More information on pricing and availability will be announced a later date.

Corvette at Indy
The 2008 edition of the Indianapolis 500 represents Corvette’s 10th time as the official pace car and a record fifth-consecutive year and Chevrolet’s 19th time as the manufacturer selected to lead the field. Corvette’s pace years and details include:

  • 1978 Driven by 1960 race winner Jim Rathmann; Chevrolet produced 6,502 production replicas
  • 1986 Driven by famed pilot Chuck Yeager; all 7,315 production convertibles were considered pace car convertibles and included official graphics (to be installed at the owner’s discretion)
  • 1995 Driven by then Chevrolet General Manager Jim Perkins; 527 production replicas produced
  • 1998 Driven by 1963 race winner Parnelli Jones when an injury prevented golfer Greg Norman from performing the duty; 1,158 production replicas produced
  • 2002 Driven by actor Jim Caviezel; no production replicas produced but graphics were available through SPO approximately 300 sets sold
  • 2004 Driven by actor Morgan Freeman; no production replicas produced
  • 2005 Driven by General Colin Powell; no production replicas produced
  • 2006 Driven by cycling champion Lance Armstrong; first Corvette Z06 pace car; no production replicas produced
  • 2007 Driven by actor Patrick Dempsey; 500 production replicas all convertibles
  • 2008 Driven by Emerson Fittipaldi; 500 production replicas coupes and convertibles

The Indianapolis 500 is the largest single-day spectator sporting event and the most prestigious auto race in the world. “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” has been run every year since 1911 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, except for the periods during the United States participation in world wars in 1917-18 and 1942-45. The winner of the 92nd Indianapolis 500 will earn racing immortality, a spot on the famed Borg-Warner Trophy and a record winner’s purse of at least $2.5 million.

General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world’s largest automaker, has been the annual global industry sales leader for 76 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 280,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 33 countries. In 2006, nearly 9.1 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn and Vauxhall. GM’s OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.


Sources:
General Motors via Autoblog.com

Related:
Corvette’s 2008 Indy Pace Car Unveiling Date Set
Flashback: Corvette Convertible to Pace Indianapolis 500

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The New King of the Hill: The 2009 Corvette ZR1

by Keith Cornett on December 20, 2007

It’s 12:01 on December 20, 2007 and the curtain has been raised on a new Corvette model. The 2009 Corvette ZR1 has crossed over from rumor to reality. It’s obvious from the first photos that this isn’t your father’s ZR1. We’re talking 620 horses delivered via the supercharged 6.2 liter LS9. A bit lower than the lofty 650 that was speculated, but that is still 115 hp more than the performance-minded Corvette Z06. So here we go, fellas! Sit down, shut up and hang on because we are going to be throwing a whole bunch of Corvette info at you:

Corvette ZR1 Talking Points:

  • The 2009 Corvette ZR1 is RPO 1LZ
  • The ZR1 will have a unique, identifying VIN digit, as well as a sequential build number
  • LS9 supercharged 6.2L V-8 targeted at 620 horsepower and 595 lb.-ft. of torque
  • Curb weight of 3,350 pounds
  • Unique Carbon-fiber hood with a polycarbonate window
  • Carbon fiber roof panel
  • Unique exterior and interior colors
  • Only two options: chrome wheels and a “luxury” package
AND

Jake, that bad boy skull logo of Corvette Racing has been embossed on the ZR1′s intake snorkel, forever cementing his racing roots on a production Corvette. Unbeliveable!!

     

View the 2009 Corvette ZR1 Photo Gallery.

PRESS RELEASE

CHEVROLET ENTERS THE WORLD OF SUPERCARS WITH 2009 CORVETTE ZR1
New, Supercharged LS9 V-8 is the Heart of the ZR1

DETROIT – Chevrolet officially announced the 2009 Corvette ZR1 – an American supercar that brings the technology and engineering refinement of carbon-fiber, ceramics and electronics together in a distinctive design.

“Chevrolet’s goal with the new ZR1 is to show what an American supercar can deliver, at a price that trumps exotics that cost two, three or four times as much – and does so with exceptional driveability,” said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager.

The ZR1′s basic stats:

  • All-new LS9 supercharged 6.2L V-8 targeted at producing at least 100 horsepower per liter, or 620 horsepower (462 kW), and approximately 595 lb.-ft. of torque (823 Nm)
  • Six-speed, close-ratio, race-hardened manual transmission
  • New, high-capacity dual-disc clutch
  • Higher-capacity and specific-diameter axle half-shafts; enhanced torque tube
  • Specific suspension tuning provides more than 1g cornering grip
  • Twenty-spoke 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels
  • Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tires – P285/30ZR19 in front and P335/25ZR20 in the rear – developed specifically for the ZR1
  • Standard carbon-ceramic, drilled disc brake rotors – 15.5-inch-diameter (394-mm) in the front and 15-inch-diameter (380-mm) in the rear
  • Larger brake calipers with substantially increased pad area
  • Standard Magnetic Selective Ride Control with track-level suspension
  • Wider, carbon-fiber front fenders with ZR1-specific dual vents
  • Carbon-fiber hood with a raised, polycarbonate window – offering a view of the intercooler below it
  • Carbon-fiber roof panel, roof bow, front fascia splitter and rocker moldings with clear-coated, exposed carbon-fiber weave
  • ZR1-specific full-width rear spoiler with raised outboard sections
  • Specific gauge cluster with boost gauge (also displayed on the head-up display) and 220-mph (370 km/h) speedometer readout
  • Only two options: chrome wheels and a “luxury” package
  • Curb weight of approximately 3,350 pounds (1,519 kg)
  • The specialized components of the new ZR1 work harmoniously to deliver the most powerful and fastest automobile ever produced by General Motors. Performance estimates will be announced closer to vehicle’s summer 2008 launch.

“Preliminary testing shows the ZR1 builds on the highly respected Corvette Z06 in every performance category, from acceleration and braking, to cornering grip and top speed,” said Peper. “It all boils down to the power-to-weight ratio and the ZR1′s is exceptional – better than the Porsche 911 GT2, the Ferrari 599 and even the Lamborghini LP640. In fact, the ZR1 is expected to be the first production Corvette to achieve a top speed of at least 200 mph.”

Supercharged LS9 engine

The new LS9 6.2L small-block engine is the power plant the supports the ZR1′s performance capability. The enabler of the LS9′s performance and refinement is a large, positive-displacement Roots-type supercharger with a new, four-lobe rotor design. It is augmented with an integrated charge cooling system that reduces inlet air temperature for maximum performance.

A sixth-generation supercharger developed by Eaton helps the LS9 make big power and torque at lower rpm and carries it in a wide arc to 6,600 rpm, as it pushes enough air to help the engine maintain power through the upper levels of the rpm band – the area where supercharged performance tends to diminish. Heavy-duty and lightweight reciprocating components enable the engine’s confident high-rpm performance.

The LS9 is hand-assembled at GM’s Performance Build Center , in Wixom, Mich. , and incorporates specialty processes typically seen in racing engines to produce a highly refined and precise product. For example, cast iron cylinder liners are inserted in the aluminum block and 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.

Transmission and axle

The LS9 engine is backed by a new, stronger six-speed manual transmission and a twin-disc clutch that provide exceptional clamping power, while maintaining an easy clutch effort. ZR1-specific gearing in the transmission provides a steep first-gear ratio that helps launch the car, and 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.

As the term implies, the twin-disc clutch system employs a pair of discs, which spreads out the engine’s torque load over a wider area. This enables tremendous clamping power when the clutch is engaged, while also helping to dissipate heat better and extend the life of the clutch.

The twin-disc clutch system also contributes to the ZR1′s exceptional driving quality, with smooth and easy shifting. The twin-disc system’s design enables a 25-percent reduction in inertia, thanks to smaller, 260-mm plates, corresponding to a pedal effort that is similar to the Corvette Z06′s 290-mm single-disc system.

The rear axle also is stronger in the ZR1 and features asymmetrical axle-shaft diameters that were developed after careful testing to provide optimal torque management. The axles are also mounted on a more horizontal plane that correlates with the wider width of the rear wheels and tires.

Ride and handling

The ZR1 is built on the same aluminum-intensive chassis as the Corvette Z06 and features similar independent SLA front and rear suspensions, with aluminum upper and lower control arms. Where the ZR1 differs is the suspension tuning, which was optimized for the car’s steamroller-wide front and rear tires.

Magnetic Selective Ride Control is standard and tuned specifically for the ZR1. The system’s ability to deliver a compliant ride with nearly instantaneous damping adjustments enabled engineers to develop a surprisingly supple ride quality in a supercar that still delivers cornering grip of more than 1g.

From a high-performance perspective, Magnetic Selective Ride Control helps the rear axle remain planted during launch for smooth, hop-free acceleration. It also helps suppress axle movement when cornering on broken or uneven pavement.

Brakes, wheels and tires

Commensurate with the ZR1′s engine output is the braking system, which is headlined by carbon-ceramic brake rotors. Found on only a few exotics and more expensive supercars, carbon-ceramic brake rotors are made of a carbon-fiber-reinforced ceramic silicon carbide material . Their advantage comes in low mass and resistance to wear and heat. In fact, the rotors should never show any corrosion or require replacement for the life of the vehicle, when used in normal driving.

The vented and cross-drilled rotors on the ZR1 measure 15.5 inches (394 mm) in diameter in the front and 15 inches (380 mm) in diameter in the rear – making them among the largest carbon-ceramic rotors available on any production vehicle.

Clamping down on the high-tech rotors are six-piston front calipers and four-piston rear calipers, each painted a ZR1-exclusive blue. The front pads are equivalent in size to the largest on any production car with a single-pad design – double that of the Corvette Z06′s 70-sq.-cm. front pads.

The brakes are visible through the ZR1′s exclusive wheels: 20-spoke alloy rims that measure 19 inches in diameter in the front and 20 inches in the rear. They come standard with a bright, Sterling Silver paint finish and chrome versions are optional. The wheels are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tires developed specifically for the ZR1, measuring P285/30ZR19 in front and P335/25ZR20 in the rear.

Exclusive exterior

The ZR1 is instantly recognizable, with perhaps the most identifiable feature a raised, all-carbon-fiber hood that incorporates a clear, polycarbonate window. The window provides a view of the top of the engine’s intercooler, with the legend “LS9 SUPERCHARGED” embossed on the left and right sides, and an engine cover with the Corvette crossed flags logo debossed at the front.

The underside of the hood has an exposed carbon-fiber-weave. Exposed carbon-fiber is used on the roof, roof bow, rocker molding and front splitter. These exterior components are protected by a specially developed glossy, UV-resistant clear coat that resists yellowing and wear.

Widened, carbon-fiber front fenders with specific, dual lower vents, and a full-width, body-color rear spoiler incorporating the center high-mounted stop lamp, are also unique to the ZR1. All of the exterior features of the car were developed to enhance high-speed stability and driver control.

Interior details
The ZR1′s interior builds on the brand’s dual-cockpit heritage, with high-quality materials, craftsmanship and functionality that support the premium-quality experience promised by the car’s performance. The ZR1′s cabin differs from the Corvette and Corvette Z06 with the following:

  • ZR1-logo sill plates
  • ZR1-logo headrest embroidery
  • Specific gauge cluster with “ZR1″ logo on the tachometer and a 220-mph (370 km/h) readout on the speedometer
  • Boost gauge added to the instrument cluster and Head-Up Display
  • The “base” ZR1 (RPO 1LZ) comes with accoutrements based on the Z06, including lightweight seats and lightweight content. The uplevel interior package includes unique, power-adjustable and leather-trimmed sport seats (embroidered with the ZR1 logo); custom, leather-wrapped interior available in four colors; navigation system, Bluetooth connectivity and more.

By the numbers In addition to the exterior cues and powertrain, ZR1 models will be distinguished from other Corvette models by their VIN. Each will carry a unique, identifying VIN digit, as well as a sequential build number. This makes it easy to determine the build number of a specific car – information treasured by enthusiasts and collectors. For example, a ZR1 with a VIN ending in “0150″ would indicate it is the 150 th ZR1 built for the model year.


Sources:
Press Release: National Corvette Museum

Related:
2009 Corvette ZR1 Image Gallery
Corvette ZR1 News Archive

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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

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November 2008 Corvette Sales; 2008 Corvette Price Increase

by Keith Cornett on December 7, 2007

General Motors released the Corvette sales figures for November 2008. Production over the last couple of months has averaged around 2,450 which is about 300 units less than 2006. Total calendar sales (January through November) just broke the 3,000 mark at 30,771. Production in 2007 continues to lag last year’s production by 8%.

Month Calendar Year-to-Date
Month 2007 2006 % Change Months 2007 2006 % Change
January 2,234 2,579 -16.8% Jan-Jan 2,234 2,579 -16.8%
February 2,784 3,058 -9.0% Jan-Feb 5,018 5,637 -11.0%
March 3,158 3,655 -16.7% Jan-Mar 8,176 9,292 -12.0%
April 3,227 3,516 -0.6% Jan-Apr 11,403 12,808 -11.0%
May 3,300 3,317 -4.3% Jan-May 14,703 16,125 -8.8%
June 3,055 2,938 0.1% Jan-Jun 17,758 19,063 -6.8%
July 2,377 2,794 -11.4% Jan-Jul 20,135 21,857 -7.9%
August 2,877 2,990 -3.8% Jan-Aug 23,012 24,842 -7.4%
September 2,837 3,056 -3.5% Jan-Sept 25,849 27,903 -7.4%
October 2,484 2,761 -13.5% Jan-Oct 28,333 30,664 -7.6%
November 2,438 2,773 -12.1% Jan-Nov 30,771 33,437 -8.0%
On a related note, both Corvette Conti and the Corvette Blog have reported a slight increase in 2008 Corvette prices. Coupes and Convertibles are going up by $115 bringing the prices to $46,225 and $54,565 respectively. A destination charge of $825 is included in these figures.
Source:
General Motors Related:
October 2008 Corvette Sales
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Corvette Makes Car & Driver’s 2008 10 Best Cars List

by Keith Cornett on December 4, 2007

The 2008 Chevrolet Corvette ConvertibleIf it seems like Corvette is always making Car and Driver’s annual 10 Best Cars List, that’s because it has earned a spot on the coveted list for seven years straight. Calling the Corvette a poster car for continual development, the new 2008 Corvette boasts 22 significant updates over last year’s entry. Car and Driver’s staff focuses more on the improvements they say are dynamic to the driving experience. While they liked the upgrades to interior, especially the wrap-around leather option, it’s the upgrades to the steering, manual shifter and the clutch that won them over for the seventh straight year. Oh and let’s not forget the fact that Corvette’s mid-cycle upgrade included the new 6.2 liter LS3 engine that expands the horsepower envelope from 400 to 430. Everyone loves more ponies and the 2008 Corvette delivers. Car and Driver calls the Corvette one of the world’s best high performance buys. Here is the full list of cars that made Car and Driver’s 10 Best List for 2008: BMW 3- Series
Cadillac CTS
Chevrolet Corvette
Chevrolet Malibu
Honda Accord
Honda Fit
Mazda MX-5
Mazdaspeed 3
Porsche Boxter/Cayman
Volkswagen GTI
Source:
Car and Driver Related:
Kelley Blue Book Includes 2008 Corvette Z06 in Top 10 Resale List
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Corvette Z06 Chosen to Pace 50th Daytona 500 in 2008

by Keith Cornett on November 19, 2007

The 2008 Corvette Z06 Daytona 500 Pace CarThe Daytona 500 is arguably the most prestigious race on NASCAR’s seemingly endless yearly racing schedule and for the last four years, Corvette has led the pack of race cars as the Official Pace Car. 2007 Daytona 500 winner Kevin Harvick, flanked by representatives of the Daytona International Speedway and General Motors, made a surprise appearance at last week’s Central Florida International New Car Show in Orlando, Florida to announce that Corvette would be back for the fifth consecutive year as Pace Car for the 2008 Daytona 500. Next year’s race will be even more special as 2008 marks the 50th anniversary of the Daytona 500. The 2008 Corvette Z06 Pace Car pays tribute to Daytona’s golden anniversary by being decked out in a stunning “Anniversary Gold” exterior paint with Red, White and Blue racing stripes. Like previous years, the Daytona 500 logo adorns the doors while the Chevrolet bowtie graces the hood in red. The current top-of-the-line Corvette is ideally suited for the pace car duties at Daytona. The Corvette Z06, with 505 horsepower, has more horsepower than the NASCAR sprint cup race cars it will pace. Other than the integrated light bar and strobe system, the Corvette Z06 Pace Car is nearly identical to the street version.

“Chevrolet has been inextricably linked to NASCAR from its inception and we are honored to support the golden anniversary of the sport’s premier race – the Daytona 500 – with a very special Corvette Z06 Pace Car,” said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. “The Corvette Z06 has established a tradition in leading the pack at Daytona, which reflects Chevrolet’s commitment to racing and the fans.” “Talk about a ‘wow-factor,’” said Speedway President Robin Braig. “It’s the perfect piece of machinery to help pace a star-studded field at ‘The World Center of Racing’ for the historic 50th running of the Daytona 500.”
The 50th Anniversary running of the Daytona 500 will be held Sunday February 17, 2008.
Source:
Daytona International Speedway Related:
Video: 2007 Daytona 500 Z06 Corvette Makes TV Appearance
Corvette to Pace 2007 Daytona 500 Technorati Tags:
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The 2008 Corvette Z06Kelly Blue Book has released their list of 2008 model year vehicles with the best resale value and Corvette was front and center. What’s interesting about this year’s list is the inclusion of the Corvette Z06 in the newly created High Performance category. Last year’s survey omitted that category, but still said this about the 2007 Corvette Z06:

Kelley Blue Book’s Best Resale Value Awards exclude expensive, high-performance, low-volume vehicles, because of the program’s emphasis on serving the typical consumer. The No. 1 vehicle would have been the 2007 Corvette ZO6, holding the greatest percentage of its original value after a five-year ownership period.
This is what Kelley Blue Book says about the 2008 Corvette Z06 in this year’s survey:
Replace the standard Corvette’s 430-horsepower V8 with a 505-horsepower V8—an engine hand-assembled by a single technician—and you’ve got what many consider the best of the best in American sports cars. The added power is managed by a reworked suspension that delivers improved handling with very little sacrifice in highway ride comfort.
In addition to the Corvette Z06 holding the best resale title in the High Performance Category, Chevrolet’s Corvette also got the nod in the top 10 list for 2008 vehicles with the Best Resale Value.
Source:
Kelley Blue Book Related:
KBB (Unofficially) Names Z06 Corvette Best Resale Value Technorati Tags:
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ZR-What? Corvette C6RS coming April 2008

by Keith Cornett on November 5, 2007

Pratt & Miller's Corvette C6RSPratt & Miller wants you to forget all about the ZR-1, the 650 hp supercharged Uber-Vette due sometime next year. The big hype over the last view days has been reverberating from SEMA with the revelation that the famed race car builders will be producing an ultra limited number of Corvette C6RS, the 8.2 liter E85 powered Corvette with an exterior inspired by Corvette Racing’s C6.Rs. Only 25 Corvette C6RS are planned with deliveries beginning April 2008, however the entry fee into this unique club is stiff: $185,000 plus a C6 donor car. The Corvette C6RS is unique in so many ways and the E85 angle must drive environmentalists crazy. Yet, for the cost of two new ZR-1 Corvettes, is the Corvette C6RS worth the price? As someone pointed out. You’re essentially buying into the association with Pratt & Miller more than the car itself so if you can pony up the $200 large for an ultra cool C6RS, make sure you do it right by providing a velocity yellow donar car and then slapping a number #4 (or #64) on its side and painting Jake on the B-Piller when its complete. With Chevrolet offering what will essentially by four models next year: coupe, convertible, Z06 and ZR1, the tuners in the Corvette enthusiast market will need to push their designs to a new level if they want to succeed in their niche. Despite the costs of ownership, Pratt & Miller has created a winner with its 600 horsepower E85 powerplant and race-inspired carbon fiber panels.
Source:
PrattMillerC6RS.com Related:
Video: Jay Leno’s E85 C6RS Corvette Reveal
Green Gets Mean: The Skinny on Jay Leno’s E85 Corvette C6RS 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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