Much has been made about the 755 horsepower 2019 Corvette ZR1 being a one-and-done model.
And deservedly so.
But did you know perhaps the most important ZR1 of the C7 generation has never been driven by a paying customer?
It’s the 2019 Pre-Production ZR1, VIN 1G1Y52D93K50002EX, or better known to enthusiasts as the “Nürburgring unofficial 7:04 2019 Corvette ZR1.”
While it’s only been driven by GM employees, this front-engine legend can now be seen in person by the general public – in no less than the coveted “turntable” display area at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky., through mid-April. The ZR1, on loan from GM, will then be moved to the Nürburgring display in the Design and Engineering section of the Museum.
The car was used by Vehicle Dynamics Engineer Jim Mero and his team back in the summer of 2017 to complete the Magnetic Ride Control calibration for the Nürburgring track before it came back to the U.S. to serve as a track development car, mainly at Milford Proving Grounds, Willow Springs racetrack in California, and Virginia International Raceway (VIR).
Upon hearing that a Ford GT had established a VIR track record of 2:38.6″ on the Grand Course West, Mero and his team took just five or six laps to shatter that mark with a lap time of 2:37.2.
This ZR1 went on to become the first American car to run a lap less than 7 minutes at the Nürburgring, but Mero discovered that new rules at the track eliminated a warm-up lap, so he had to try again. This time, with cold tires that never properly warmed up during the run, Mero was unable to match his record-setting accomplishment.
While Chevy never released the official time, Mero – after retiring – revealed the time adhering to the new protocol to be 7:04 although he still believes that the ZR1 is capable of cracking the 7:00 mark under ideal conditions.
National Corvette Museum
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