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2019 Corvette challenging Hellcat power

by Chris Vander Doelen on

Chevrolet has finally answered Dodge’s horsepower dominance of the last four years by boosting the power of the next Corvette ZR1 into supercar/Hellcat territory.

The 2019 Corvette ZR1 launching next spring will boast a supercharged LT5 engine certified at 755 horsepower with 715 lb-ft of torque, Chevy announced at the Dubai International Motor Show on Sunday. It will be the fastest production Corvette ever built with a top speed said to be “well over” 210 mph.

With a giant wing soaring off the back deck (there is a choice of two aero packages, detailed here in a Chevy press release), the new ZR1 will basically be a track car, akin to the Viper, rather than a street car like the 707-horsepower Hellcat.  (The 840-horsepower Dodge Challenger Demon is, in contrast to both, a drag-strip car that can be driven on the street).

No price was mentioned, and won’t be until the spring. The sticker is expected to be lower than the European competition, but it’s not going to be a bargain compared to Dodge. The last ZR1, in 2013, listed for $113,575, roughly $50,000 more than the current Charger Hellcat. Hmmm: do we get the ZR1, honey, or his-and-hers Hellcats for about the same price?

New tech on the ZR1 includes a lot of added cooling, to correct a well-known problem. The 2019 will have four new radiators, bringing the total number of heat-exchangers on the car to 13.

The wing will come in two flavors: Low Wing, the standard one, and High Wing, an optional adjustable wing that produces 950 lbs of downforce. There will also be a front wing under the nose, another first for the Corvette.

The engine remains at 6.2 liters, the same as the Dodge, but they’ve boosted the output of the supercharger by 52% and added a dual injection system: direct injection and supplemental port injection.

The next Corvette will also be the first ZR1 offered with an automatic transmission: an eight-speed paddle-shifted model will be offered alongside the seven-speed manual.

Chris Vander Doelen was Opinion Editor and columnist of The Windsor Star until December, 2016; he was the Star's automotive reporter and columnist for seven years, and had also covered the political and gambling beats. With his wife, Veronique Mandal, he wrote the book Chasing Lightning (1999). Chris won a National Newspaper Award in 1997 and more than a dozen provincial news awards. There is a Chrysler 300 in his driveway.

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