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Corvette ZR-1 could boast hybrid, twin-turbo V8

Stephen Ottley

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Wednesday 27th November, 2019 - 6:00am

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The Corvette C8.R is Chevy’s first mid-engine GTLM race car

Holden could soon add a supercar to its showroom.

The latest rumours emerging from Detroit about the new generation Chevrolet Corvette C8 flagship ZR1 model suggest the American brand is hunting hypercars. US publication Motor Trend reports Chevrolet is working on a twin-turbocharged version of the C8.R race car’s 5.5-litre V8 with a hybrid boost which would push out 671kW of power – that’s 900hp in the old money.

There has long been speculation the Chevrolet would take the next Corvette hybrid, and given the radical format change (going mid-engine for the first time) it seems like now is as good a time as any. But don’t be confused, this isn’t going to make the Corvette ZR1 a Toyota Prius rival, instead the electric motor will provide a power boost – similar to the powertrain in the Ferrari La Ferrari.

That means a small electric motor and battery pack, to help keep weight down, and find space in the tightly packaged mid-engine machine. The report suggests the electric motor could actually fit underneath the front bonnet, where there is currently a small storage space, to drive the front-wheels. That would make for an all-wheel drive Corvette, which would be another major departure for the classic American sports car, but would help with traction and handling.

The V8 engine in the C8.R GTE race car is an all-new 5.5-litre unit with a dual-overhead cams and a flat-plane crankshaft – another new addition to the Corvette legacy. In racing trim its limited to just 373kW due to regulations, but the addition of two turbos would make the road-going ZR1 version significantly more powerful.

Such a move would push the Corvette ZR1 into genuine supercar territory. It would be an amazing performance hero for Holden, even beyond the regular Corvette C8 Stingray, but it’s unclear at this stage if the new powertrain will be available in right-hand drive; as it’s all speculation at this stage.

The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

The ZR1 isn’t the only hotter Corvette under development. The Z06 will slot between the Stingray and ZR1 and latest reports suggest it will feature the same 5.5-litre naturally-aspirated V8 as the C8.R. That’s because racing rulemakers require 300 road-going examples of a car in order for it to meet the GTE regulations.

Holden is yet to confirm any details beyond the news that the Corvette C8 Stingray will be sold in right-hand drive down under. It’s not likely to arrive until later 2020 or even 2021, so even if they are able to offer the ZR1 and Z06 it may be a few more years until we’re able to drive them locally. Fingers crossed…

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