Corvette ZR1 Prototype Engine Roars Like the Z06’s V-8

Three disguised models spotted with one running engine.

The much-anticipated unveiling of the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 is set for this summer, however, a sneak peek of its powerful V-8 engine can be experienced today. Images and a video were just uploaded in the C8 Corvette Owners (and Friends) Facebook group, and we are fortunate to have them here thanks to the individual who initially posted them.

We’ve spotted ZR1 prototypes before, but this is maybe the best look we’ve had at the back of the vehicle. While one prototype is still covered, the other two are only wrapped in a light camouflage. The presence of various rear wings, one of which appears to be adjustable, indicates that we may be seeing cars with and without a track package. However, it’s also possible that Chevrolet is testing a variety of wings for either production or motorsport purposes. What’s more interesting is the spy video showing the car with the large wing idling.

It definitely seems like the 5.5-liter DOHC V-8 found in the Corvette Z06, and there is compelling evidence to support that beyond just the sound of the exhaust. Speculation has been circulating for a while about the new ZR1 receiving a twin-turbo version of the Z06’s engine, and in October, a mention of a turbocharged 5.5-liter V-8 named LT7 was uncovered in the General Motors parts catalog. Currently, such an engine is not publicly available from GM, so it’s reasonable to assume that it will be used in the ZR1. However, there are additional aspects to this puzzle to consider.

While it is probable that the 5.5-liter engine will be utilized, there are rumors swirling that the 6.2-liter V-8 in the Stingray might be turbocharged for its ZR1 variant. The leaked information about the engine referred to Active Fuel Management (AFM), a feature present in the 6.2 but not in the 5.5. A contributor to the Mid-Engine Corvette Forum suggested that the AFM mention was a mistake, which could potentially invalidate the entire listing. Another speculation suggests that the 5.5-liter engine will opt for a cross-plane crankshaft instead of the flat-plane crank used in the Z06 model. This change could open up the possibility of reintroducing AFM, and a cross-plane design might offer advantages for turbocharging purposes.

Chevrolet has not officially announced anything except for the ZR1’s introduction scheduled for this summer. Speculations suggest that a cross-plane, twin-turbocharged variation of the DOHC 5.5-liter V-8 engine will be utilized, producing more than 800 horsepower. Further details will be disclosed later this year. In the meantime, watch the video and discuss your own theories. Could it be a 5.5 or perhaps a 6.2? Or maybe a fusion turbo regulator crafted by extraterrestrials from Nova Centauri? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

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