The next rung up the performance ladder will be a new ZR1, prototypes for which were spotted testing at Germany's Nürburgring racetrack this week.
Two distinct prototypes were spotted. Both featured a wide-body design even more extreme than the Z06's, and one prototype, sporting a number 39 sticker on its front windshield and rear fascia, had a much larger rear wing than the other prototype, which carried number 38 stickers. It's possible Chevy plans a high-downforce package for the ZR1, similar to what it offers on other Corvette variants.
Additional aerodynamic features common to both prototypes included the new vent in the hood, a design that also generates downforce, plus a second intake in the rear fenders, likely present to channel air for brake cooling. The odd-looking extensions to the exhaust tips in some of the shots are there to meet noise limits present at the 'Ring.
Chevrolet hasn't even mentioned plans for a new ZR1, but rumors point to the car coming with a twin-turbocharged version of the same 5.5-liter V-8 found in the Z06. The engine is a work of art on its own, boasting a flat-plane crankshaft, dual overhead cams, dry-sump lubrication, and a redline of 8,600 rpm.
The result is a peak 670 hp in the Z06, making it the most powerful naturally aspirated V-8 to be fitted to a production car. The addition of turbocharging is rumored to lift output to around 850 hp in the ZR1, or almost 100 hp more than the C7 Corvette ZR1 had from its supercharged V-8.
Don't look for a manual transmission. The sole option will almost certainly be the C8 Corvette's 8-speed dual-clutch automatic, with drive going to the rear wheels only.
2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
A debut next year as a 2025 model is a strong possibility, though some projects at General Motors have been delayed due to recent strike action as well as supply chain issues. That means the car may end up being delayed until the 2026 model year.
Impressively, the ZR1 isn't thought to be the end of the performance road for the C8 platform. The finale is rumored to be a Corvette Zora serving as an homage to early Corvette engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov. That model is rumored to feature the powertrain of the ZR1 at the rear and the Corvette E-Ray hybrid's electric motor at the front to form an all-wheel-drive system. The electric motor is rated at 160 hp in the E-Ray, which in combination with the ZR1's twin-turbo V-8 should take combined output in the Zora to a rumored 1,000-hp mark.
Stay tuned for updates as development continues.