Chevy just teased a new version of the C8 Corvette that will not only be the first hybrid Vette in history but also the first AWD Corvette in history. And it wasn't that long ago that we spotted the C8 Corvette E-Ray doing some on-road testing, and while the Hybrid Vette is next on the list, what's coming after will be an even bigger deal. I'm talking about the C8 Corvette ZR1, and a new report has shed some light on what we can expect. The ZR1 is now in development, and while the Z06 is better because it doesn't have forced induction, we can now say that won't be the case for the ZR1.
To make things even better, it has been confirmed that the ZR1 will not be the only new model in the lineup. The one step up from the ZR1 Corvette will be the Zora, which will be the combination of the ZR1 and the E-Ray, making one of the meanest and most competitive Corvettes on the road. If you don't believe in the rumors or the press releases given out by the media liaisons at Chevrolet, *all you have to do is wait a while to see them both for yourself.
For now, though, let's go over some of the things we know will happen with the two new Corvettes coming onto the market and a few things we expect to see. Then we will all just have to wait and see how Chevy makes it all play out in the end.
Updated May 14, 2023: Since this posting was first published, the rumors that were flying are no longer just rumors. Sources have verified that there is, in fact, an all-new ZR1 coming to the market for consumers within the near future. As a bonus, an even more powerful hybrid version will come out along with it, just to up the ante for all of the rivals Corvette still has on the market today.
Updated LT7 Will Boost The New ZR1 Corvette To New Heights
The updated variant of the 5.5-liter V-8 LT6 (which should be dubbed the LT7) should be the new powerplant under the hood of the new ZR1 Corvette. The beast of an engine is estimated to be able to push out up to 800 horses and 850 pound-feet of torque. The twin-turbo engine will have a lowered redline and a smoother power band than the previous naturally aspirated 5.5-liters, but since it gains a set of turbochargers, the car's weight will increase by about 200 pounds, which could affect the track speeds.
Hybrid Version Zora Will Simply Blow The Competition Away
If you think the basic ZR1 is something to hold out for, you need to take a look at the next-level Corvette that is planned alongside it. The hybrid offering that Chevy plans to unveil along with the new ZR1 'Vette will be affectionately named Zora out of respect for the Godfather of the Chevrolet Corvette (Zora Arkus-Duntov.) *Zora will have the same 5.5-liter engine as the ZR1, with the same 800 horses and 850 pound-feet of torque. The difference will be with the electric motors that will be working with the twin-turbocharged V-8, adding around 200 more horses to make a combined horsepower of up to 1000.
ZR1 Corvette Will Still Be Rear Wheel Drive While The Zora Will No
The ZR1 Corvette will continue to follow along the same lines as most models before, keeping the rear-wheel drive platform to maximize power and weight distribution. It has long been thought that it is imperative to keep the front wheels focused on steering and not on driving. However, that thought process is slowly fading, as can be seen by the design of Zora, which will be an all-wheel design. The internal combustion components of the Corvette will continue to drive the rear wheels for the most part, but the motors that make up the hybrid aspect of the combination will be attached to the front wheels, creating an all-wheel-drive Corvette that can accelerate by putting the torque to the ground through all four tires.
Weight Of The Corvette Is Up But The Track Times Are Down
The one great thing about having a naturally aspirated internal combustion engine is that you can keep the car's weight down by using a few industry secrets, such as removing unnecessary items like the air conditioner and the radio. When you start adding components to improve horsepower, such as a set of turbochargers, you are adding weight to the engine that takes away from the power gains you get from adding the turbos on in the first place. In this case, the horsepower gains were well worth the trade-off because the ZR1 Corvette should only gain around 200 pounds while gaining up to 200 horsepower.
Transmission Of The ZR1 And Zora Will Be Designed For Smooth Shifting
The current dual-clutch eight-speed automatic transmission co-produced between GM and TREMEC is not expected to be replaced. It already does the job it is supposed to do and then some. *However, the company may decide to upgrade some of the components to ensure that the linkage and gears hold up to the increased horsepower and torque that will be pushing out of the new ZR1 and Zora. At this time, the company does not plan to offer either car with a manual transmission option, but if they make a special edition track car, that particular stipulation may change.
Chassis Will Be Upgraded For The Zora
As the years go by, the technology built into performance cars continues to improve, so twisted frames are not seen as frequently as they once were. That is because when the engine under the hood is improved upon, so is the chassis. The Corvette from years past has always had a stable chassis underneath it while still going with the most state-of-the-art materials possible. The new ZR1 and Hybrid models will be no different, and you can bet that since the engines (and motors) will be creating more power and torque, the engineers have found a way to upgrade the chassis and support the frame to ensure that no damage occurs when you do decide to stomp the gas pedal to the floor.
Exterior For The ZR1 And Zora Will Maximize Performance
Sports cars of the future continue to be molded in a more aerodynamic mold * than previous models, which appear futuristic and odd to some. To others, the new design is how performance cars should all look, with the wide stance to help them hold the road and the front and rear spoilers to help the vehicle grip the road better. Plus, let's not forget about the lightweight carbon-fiber material being used to reduce the car's weight, which can be expected to be used throughout the design of the new ZR1 and Zora Corvette models. All of which helps the new 'Vette repel wind resistance and maximize wind downforce to propel the car to new speeds.
Interior Of The Zora Corvette And ZR1 Will Be Plush And Cozy
The Zora Corvette, and the C8 ZR1 Corvette, will remain a two-seat sports car, leaving the second row to the Corvette SUV that will be coming out soon. The interior can be expected to carry on the tradition of the 'Vette by offering leather-trimmed seats and dash, imitation suede accents, real metal trim, finely stitched headliners, plush carpeting, and a large reconfigurable gauge display. Not to mention an easy-to-use Infotaintainment center that is compatible with both Apple and Android products and responds quickly to any commands that you feel necessary to give it.
The Zora And New ZR1 Will Be Available Soon
Things get a little cloudy when you start searching for a definite timeline of when the new C8 ZR1 and the Hybrid ZR1 will be available on the market, so you will all have to watch and wait. Some of the best news from the grapevine is that the earliest release date may be coming by the end of the year or by the beginning of 2024 at the latest. For the most part, though, most people in the industry claim that the new series of Corvette will not be coming to the market until 2025 or later, but time will tell. As new updates are available, TopSpeed will let you know.
Both Corvettes Will Cost A Pretty Penny
If you are a true Corvette lover, you already know that the famed car does not come cheap. Whether you are talking about an old classic that has been kept in mint condition, or one rolling straight off the production lines brand new, they can cost over $100,000 or more. That is especially true when talking about the high-end trim levels such as the C8 ZR1 and the Zora hybrid that have the industry filled with so much excitement. GM has not given any numbers to the media, but by going off the price tag of a loaded 2023 Z06 (around $160,000), * it would not be too far off to say that a fully loaded Zora could run you around $200,000 or more.