The C7 Corvette Z06 is already a monstrous motor vehicle capable of shaming cars costing more than double.
In order to elevate the Corvette brand to new heights, the team responsible for developing the 2019 ZR1 used the Z06 as a launching pad, basically, just think of the ZR1 as a Z06 with nicer stuff.
The headlining difference between the two cars is the engine. The Z06 uses a 6.2-liter supercharged LT4 V8 producing 650 hp and 650 lb-ft of twist, while the ZR1 makes use of a 6.2-liter supercharged LT5 V8 making 755 hp and 715 pounding feet of torque. Both motors start life as a naturally aspirated LT1 small-block before the cylinder heads are crowned with a supercharger, but the LT5 takes the formula a step further.
Corvette engineers gave the LT5 a larger Eaton supercharger than the LT4, as a result, the ZR1 gulps 52% more air per combustion cycle than the Z06 can. The engines share a deck height, but the ZR1’s LT5 is 2.9″ taller which necessitates a shaker style hood with the top mounted intercooler brick poking through. As a result of the excess heat produced by forced induction, the ZR1 also gets a revised cooling system which features four more heat exchangers than the Z06, for a total of thirteen.
The LT5 also gets a new dual-fuel injection system which uses both direct and port injection for a more efficient and powerful combustion process. Additional mechanical changes include a significantly beefed up crankshaft and a larger throttle body.
As for the transmissions, the ZR1 uses the same 7 -speed manual and optional 8-speed automatic on offer in the Z06, the transmissions are mechanically identical, right down to the final drive ratio.
Suspension set up is also identical, with both the Z06 and ZR1 using Magnetic Ride Control to damp the transverse leaf-spring suspension used both front and rear, albeit with different tuning.
The ZR1’s front tires are half-an-inch wider than the Z06’s, but both the available tire compounds are identical on both Corvettes. All ZR1’s do get the Z06’s optional carbon ceramic brake rotors as standard kit though.
Visually, the cars are quite similar, with the ZR1 using the exact same bodywork as the Z06 from the A-pillar and back. The ZR1’s front fenders have been slightly widened, the hood is new, and it gets a Corvette-first underwing. Adding the ZTK Performance Package replaces the ZR1’s standard Low Wing aero kit for the High Wing setup, which offers 950 lbs of downforce and 10 degrees of adjustability. Both wings are actually tied into the rear of the chassis instead of simply pushing down on the rear deck. ZTK equipped cars also include a new gargantuan front splitter.
ZR1 shoppers can also opt for a new Sebring Orange Design Package which sees the car slathered in Sebring Orange Tintcoat paint, along with numerous orange accent bits and bronzed aluminum trim inside.
In addition, the ZR1 won’t follow the Z06 to Europe as the exposed engine and taller hood height violate Europe’s strict pedestrian crash safety regulations. Lastly, the ZR1 will allegedly spit flames from its centrally mounted quad exhaust tips, which is the only real difference you need to know about.
A version of this story originally appeared on GM Inside News.