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The Corvette ZR1’s Engine Had an Awesome Nickname During Development

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The 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 has 755 horsepower and 715 pound-feet of torque, all thanks to specially-developed V8 engine.

Not every single generation of the Chevrolet Corvette has received a hardcore ZR1 variant. In fact, the latest is the fourth ZR1 model in seven generations, proving just how special it is. And if you have been following the sports car’s debut, you’ll know the LT5 engine powering the ZR1 is the most powerful engine ever put in a production car by GM.

But where did all that power come from? Speaking to Automotive News, chief engineer of the LT5, Jordan Lee, shared some details on the engine. At its core, the LT5’s architecture is the same as the LT4, sharing the same block, head, pistons, and connecting rods. The additional performance comes from an all-new supercharger, an all-new throttle body, a dual fuel system, two engine controllers to control the fuel system, modifications to the lube system, a different crankshaft material made of higher-strength alloy, and a shaker hood.

SEE ALSO: 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Specs You Need to Know

All the attention however, was put on the new supercharger during development of the engine. So much so in fact, that GM stamped “BAS” on the top of the engine while it was in development, rather than “Corvette ZR1.” The idea was that if anyone came across it, GM was hoping they would believe BAS stood for “Belt Alternator System,” which is used in a GM diesel engine. But in reality, BAS stood for something way better. “B” was short for “Big,” and “S” was short for “Supercharger,” so you can probably guess what the “A” stood for.

Compared to the supercharger found on the LT4, the ZR1’s unit is 52 percent larger, making it the biggest supercharger the Corvette as ever had. It’s also the most efficient, said Lee, displacing 2.65 liters of air for every rotation. The supercharger also has a 170-degree helix rotor set, which is more efficient than the 160 degrees found in the LT4. Surprisingly, it spins slower than the unit on the LT4 – 15,680 rpm versus 21,000 rpm. “We wanted to slow the supercharger speed down to introduce a lot less heat,” Lee told Automotive News. “So running slower is more efficient.”

[Source: Automotive News]

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