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Corvette ZR1 Sets Laguna Seca Record, Beats New Viper GTS


2010 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Nurburgring

2010 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Nurburgring

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The Corvette ZR1 was introduced for the 2009 model year as a take-no-prisoners attempt to build the fastest production Corvette in Chevrolet’s history. As the C6 Corvette approaches its extinction, time is running out for the ZR1, but that doesn’t mean the car is going quietly into that good night.

Motor Trend recently had the opportunity to benchmark the Corvette ZR1 against its primary domestic rival, the all-new SRT Viper GTS. On paper, the cars are remarkably close, as if the Viper’s engineers copied all the test answers from the ZR1’s paper.

The Corvette makes 638 horsepower from its supercharged V-8, while the Viper squeezes 640 horsepower from its normally-aspirated V-10. The torque crown goes to the ‘Vette, which makes 604 pound-feet compared to the Viper’s 600 pound-feet. The Corvette weighs 3,344 pounds, while the Viper tips the scales at 13 pounds more.

Both cars get from 0-60 mph in 3.4 seconds, on the way to an 11.4 second quarter mile. Even the trap speeds are virtually identical, with the ZR1 clocking 128.8 mph to the Viper’s 128.7. Lateral acceleration? Both cars pull an average of 1.08 g, and both deliver comparable braking results (within two feet of one another from 60 - 0 mph).

There can be only one winner on a racetrack, however, and the trophy goes to the Corvette ZR1. Not only did it beat the Viper GTS around Laguna Seca by just over two seconds, it set a new Laguna Seca lap record for a production car in the process. Randy Pobst’s time of 1:33.70 beat the existing record of 1:33.99, set (ironically) in a 2010 Dodge Viper ACR.

So does that mean the ZR1 is truly a faster car than the new Viper? Not necessarily, since confidence has a lot to do with lap times, and the Corvette ZR1 is a more confidence-inspiring car to Pobst than the Viper GTS. In his words, “The Viper’s got more understeer and more oversteer than the Corvette.”

Give the guys at SRT a bit of time, and we’re sure the new Viper will be challenging for the record in short order. Don’t think the Viper is losing its game, either, since its 1:35.77 lap time still beat the Ferrari 458 Italia, the Lexus LFA, the Porsche 911 GT3 RS and the Nissan GT-R. We’d call that fast company, by anyone’s standards.
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