New C8 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 engine rumor posits 900 horsepower

Jonathon Ramsey
Autoblog

Let's just go ahead and plan to feast on C8 Chevrolet Corvette rumors for the next few years. Two new reports have come out that drop new info on the ZR1 and gobs of details about what could turn into multiple hybrid Corvette models. Starting with Motor Trend, the magazine cites "a senior official at GM" for confirmation that the coming ZR1 will produce "an even 900 hp" from a performance-oriented hybrid powertrain. Displacement of the gasoline engine component remains a mystery. MT writes that the "ZR1 will build on the Z06's all-new engine" with a block anywhere from 4.2 to 5.5 liters of displacement, but the potential vibration issues make the larger end of that range unlikely if the rumored flat-plane crank is involved.

Motor Trend sticks by sister publication Automobile's story that the Z06 will use an 800-hp twin-turbo engine based on the naturally aspirated 5.5-liter V8 in the C8.R. Countering that, Muscle Cars & Trucks believes the Z06 will go down to around 600 hp and use a naturally aspirated V8, with only the ZR1 getting the two turbos.

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MT didn't get any specs on the ZR1's hybrid component, but Bozi Tatarevic happened upon internal GM documents that potentially fill in a swath of the picture. In a lengthy report for Jalopnik, Tatarevic suspects there could be "both a hybrid ZR1 and a hybrid base model Corvette." The documents, along with cutaway models of the mid-engine sports car, show how the front area could house a single electric motor driven by a 1.94-kWh battery pack and power electronics packaged in the center tunnel. The e-motor, which is listed as running through an open differential, would produce about 114 peak horsepower and more than 880 lb-ft of torque after an 8:1 reduction gear. Being oriented toward performance, a pawl clutch would disconnect the motor and gear reduction from the front axle for better fuel economy. Said to be offered in coupe and convertible forms, the base Stingray with the LT2 V8 and hybrid system would throw something in the "mid-to-high 500 HP range if not more."

Paperwork appears to show the motor would be mounted low enough in front for the Corvette to retain its frunk. In order to fit the shaft through the space currently occupied by the front dampers, the hybrid system will require split yoke dampers akin to those used on AWD versions of the Tesla Model 3. It's possible magnetic dampers will be standard fit, as well as an electronic limited-slip differential running through a 3.797 final drive. Wheel sizes for what we'll figure is the ZR1 would increase an inch front and back to 20 and 21 inches, respectively, with respective tire sizes of 275/30 and 345/25. According to codes in the document, carbon-ceramic brakes would be standard. 

We only have a few more years to figure out where all these pieces go, so while you wait, check out Tatarevic's in-depth report for cutaway images and loads more details on issues like weight balance and benchmarking against the Acura NSX.

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