All summer long we followed reports that the Corvette Team was testing the 2019 Corvette ZR1 on the Nurburgring. We marveled at the big sound and the look of the special “Laguna Pipes” to help deflect the monster LT5’s exhaust note. While most of the development and driving was done by Jim Mero and Chevrolet engineering, it looks like they brought in a professional “ringer” for additional feedback.
On Wednesday, Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin shared a photo of one of the Nurburgring test cars on Instagram and says he’s driving the 2019 Corvette ZR1 around the 12-9 mile Nordschleife twice. Not only that, it shoulds like Gavin may be part of the attempt to achieve a sub-7:00 minute lap time when the production Corvette returns to Ring in the Spring of 2018:
The #King of #Corvettes I’ve now had the pleasure of driving the #ZR1 twice at the @nuerburgring Taming this beast around the 14mile/ 22km circuit, with 755bhp, was amazing fun! It was also great to work with the @corvette engineering group on the testing and development of the #C7 #ZR1 Hopefully we’ll be going back to the #Nurburgring sometime spring 2018.
This falls in line with a report this week in Road and Track says that Chevrolet will be returning to the Nurburgring with the car in the Spring of 2018 where it will go for an official lap time:
Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter told me that while the record run is not a priority for them, they will do it sometime after the car goes on sale next spring, hoping to break the seven minute barrier. Such a result would make the C7 ZR1 some twenty seconds quicker than the C6 ZR1, which ran a 7:19.63 back in 2011. The new version has more power, a much smarter aero package, and crucially, Michelin’s Pilot Sport Cup 2 “summer-only” tires, which will push the cornering speeds way higher than what was possible to achieve six years ago.
Recent lap attempts at the Nurburgring have been done in-house although the Corvette team utilized the talents of Jan Magnusseun in 2005 for the official attempt in a 2006 Corvette Z06. Jan recorded a speed of 7:42.9 but an asterisk next to the time says the lap was recorded from a standing start rather than the flying lap used today.
The Corvette ZR1 prototype that was shared by Oliver Gavin was the same prototype that was spotted on the cargo jet just prior to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, as the license plate shows here. It possible that Gavin was with the Corvette engineering team in Germany around this time.
After a series of failures prevented the Corvette team from releasing an official lap time for the C7 Corvette Z06, a German magazine ran a timed lap of 7:13.9 earlier this year. The good news is it looks like Chevrolet is pulling out all the stops by publically stating they are going back for the timed lap, as well as utilizing the professional talents of five-time 24 Hours of Le Mans Champion Oliver Gavin to assure the best time possible.
Oliver Gavin / Instagram
[VIDEO] Sound and Fury: The 2018 Corvette ZR1 on the Nurburgring
[VIDEO] Fast and Loud! Another Look at the 2018 Corvette ZR1 on the Nurburgring
[VIDEO] Sport Auto Takes a C7 Corvette Z06 to 7:13.9 on the Nurburgring