By on January 22, 2018

Corvette ZR1

The most gonzo of all current Corvettes, the ZR1, packs a 755 horsepower wallop from its supercharged LT5. Chevrolet, as it has in the past with other notable versions of popular models, offered up the first retail copy to the highest bidder at Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale.

Rick Hendrick, who is reported to already own a couple of Chevys, ponied up the cash and won the auction … despite not even being in the room.

Mr. Hendrick is no stranger to Barrett-Jackson, having been a fixture in the front row of bidders for years. In the past, he’s taken home plenty of exclusive metal, including the first retail Camaro ZL1 1LE not that long ago. This time, he submitted his winning bid not with a bidder’s paddle or the wave of a hand, but by telephone.

For the privilege of parking this ZR1 in his garage, the dealership and racing mogul dented his vast savings account to the tune of nearly one million dollars. Proceeds went to the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which helps wounded veterans via the Building for America’s Bravest program.

With the macho LT5, generous deployment of carbon fiber, and various aerodynamic addenda, the 2019 ZR1 is expected to be the fastest Corvette ever to roll out of a GM factory. We already know it is the most powerful. The 755 hp number grabs the headlines but torque, peaking north of 700 lb-ft, will be the main event with over 600 lb-ft of it on tap from 2200 rpm right up to the redline. Top speed is an estimated 212 mph.

Corvette ZR1

That sky-high rear wing is not standard equipment, rather a part of the oddly named ZTK Performance Package. It adds the high rear wing and carbon fiber end caps to the front splitter for increased downforce, as well as Michelin Sport Cup 2 tires, a stiffer chassis, and specific Magnetic Ride Control tuning.

The new ZR1 will appear sometime this spring with a starting price just south of $120,000. Not designed solely as a stripped-out race car, the 3ZR trim level adds heated and vented leather seats, a leather-wrapped wheel with carbon-fiber rim, the Performance Data Recorder, and a Bose sound system. Extroverts can select a convertible version.

[Image: General Motors]

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11 Comments on “Phoning It In: Rick Hendrick Buys ZR1 #001...”

  • avatar

    Will be interesting to see how the vette does at this year’s Lightning Lap event. Hopefully they will have a GT in attendance as well. The GT already blistered the Grand Course at VIR to the tune of 2:43.0. Hopefully conditions are fairly close if the 2 cars get to run.

    The Viper ACR with the “aero kit” which I suspect makes it more or less a full on racecar is about 3 seconds faster on the same course.

  • avatar

    Am I just getting old, or are these cars getting so stupid fast and powerful that they are literally losing their value propositions?

    I bought my first Z06 in 2003. The z06 Vette was well worth it… the benefit of 405 HP over 345 was clear. Better breaking was significant.

    Now comes the C6. The LS2 features 400 HP, then 430 on the LS3, and still the z06 offers tremendous performance with 505 HP. At this point you really had all the power you could use, but it remains a bit front heavy, so the ZR1 gets you there. The 650 HP is “more than you need” while the balance improves drastically. Its an impressive car.

    But then I’m “there”. I thought the Zr1 C6 already had as much power as you need, as much torque as you need, and sure there’s room to improve in weight and handling characteristics… as well as styling… the engine tech seemed to reach “peak benefit”.

    Now the z06 in 2015 is 650 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque That remains in “Way more power and torque than you really need”.

    Now I’m looking at the new Z$1 sporting 755 hp and 715 lb-ft. Is that really an improvement over the Z06? I don’t feel like it is. On paper its a huge improvement, but how much of that can you realize?

    The engine doesn’t appear to be much if any lighter than the z06’s motor, which seems to suggest it offers about bragging rights and thats about it.

    It seems like the value proposition of these elite cars is waning- or I’m just getting old.

    I have a sports car that puts down over 500 HP in a lightweight, mid engine layout. It burns out on command, handles any road I throw at it with glee, and frankly has “more power than I need”. In the past when I was eager to upgrade to the newest sports car because of the tremendous improvements in performance, today I don’t see it. In the daily life of fun driving, I literally don’t see the benefit of many of these new premium sports cars.

    We are incredibly fortunate to have an unreal amount of performance available at out fingertips for pennies, but really what is the future of these new premium sports cars? Are we at a point now where we don’t care too much about 100 more ponies? I feel like I’m there. 650 vs 750? Who cares? (But 200 vs 300 WOW WHAT A DIFFERENCE).

    I recall the days when premium sports cars offered 300 HP over 200 HP for non-premium sports cars. That was a difference worth paying for.

    • 0 avatar

      One could have made an argument like that in the late 60s about a Roadrunner vs a Superbird. It is all perspective.

      Personally I’m getting tired of the breathless announcements like “HELLCAT RAM ON THE WAY?” – that’s for beer and bragging rights. I’ll be perfectly happy with any flavor of Hemi.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Oh yes, these are all trophy cars: you buy them just to say you have them. A regular Mustang GT is more car than 99% of the driving public can handle safely at full throttle.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “It seems like the value proposition of these elite cars is waning- or I’m just getting old.”

      This is why I always question the wisdom of lining up and paying premium money for the next Hellcat, Demon, or whatever follows (Banshee?).

      We’re still in a golden age of performance cars. It’s not like the old days where people slurped up the ‘last’ early 70s muscle cars because of the pending gloom of the malaise era.

    • 0 avatar

      These power levels are far beyond what I desire. 300 hp can break the back tires loose just fine at city speeds while being easily manageable. I don’t want much more potential for getting myself in trouble.

      But I’ve never driven a powerful enough car on the street for long enough to get the Hayabusa Effect. Maybe it is possible for 500 hp to become routine.

      I would like a C6 Z06 though. I like the philosophy behind it. Stiff, lightweight chassis with an enormous, high-revving, lightweight, naturally aspirated V8. Adding both weight and power beyond that doesn’t appeal much to me. I’ve never driven a C7 though. Maybe it would be a better drive. In that case, I’d start with a base engine and see if I ever get bored.

      The C6 Z06 actually has better weight distribution than the C6 ZR1 by a point or two. It’s typically right at 50/50 but some have been measured with a slight rearward bias. With a driver, it was probably around 48/52.

      Any handling improvements of the C6 ZR1 over the Z06 were in the shocks and tires. Putting the ZR1’s on the Z06 cut the difference between the two cars from 6.4 seconds to 1.7 seconds at C&D’s Lightning Lap. Not much for a three minute lap.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      Arach, I find the base LS2 powered C6 to b plenty of car for me and I agree that the value proposition for these cars is quickly approaching diminishing returns.

      Most people, self included, can not handle 755 HP. It is too much for street use; closing rates even at half throttle are significant, especially when some dope in a Prius pulls out in front of you 1/8 of a mile away and takes their usual sweet time getting to speed.

      I am glad that Rick Hendrick is willing to part with his $$ for charity, as he does just about every year at the Barrett auction. The money, I presume, goes to a good cause and he won’t miss it. He could be like a handful of other stupid wealthy that don’t support charities, I won’t begrudge him one bit for buying himself a ZR1 for too much money.

  • avatar

    It always has been about bragging rights. Now it’s not just about creating a great performing car, but about pushing the limits of insanity in order to have the most and be the best. Because that’s how you get people to part with stupid sums of money.

    The Demon is the perfect example. 808hp, up to 840 with the optional PCM. The market is flooded with “regular” Hellcats that can easily be modified to make more power than that at a fraction of the cost of a Demon, but how will everyone KNOW by looking at your car that it’s the best? That’s worth anywhere from 50-100k to 3,300 people.

  • avatar

    I’ve been to Cary Auto Mall on more than one occasion. Drive through there and you will understand very quickly that Rick’s savings account was assuredly not dented in any noticeable fashion.

  • avatar

    Last May I visited the Hendrick Heritage Center and saw his collection, which was pretty amazing. I believe there were something on the order of 25 1967 Corvette 427s–one in each colour available, we were told. There were a lot of low serial number cars–first production C6 Z06 and C7 Z06, I think. Best were three Corvettes kept aside for when his grandchildren reached driving age. Each of the cars was built on that particular child’s day of birth. As impressive as it was, the collection seemed to me to be a huge accumulation rather than something put together with foresight and affection.

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