It feels like a lifetime since the previous-generation Chevrolet Corvette was the talk of the town. With all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the C8 and its mid-engine layout for the last few years, it's easy to forget the most powerful Corvette is still the C7 ZR1. That car debuted in 2017, packing a supercharged 6.2-litre V8 with 755 bhp mounted in front of the driver.
Now, we're preparing ourselves for a new "king of the hill" Corvette. Prototypes have been spotted, rumours have been flying, and we've spent considerable time pouring through all the information to suss out a clear picture of what's to come. That includes creating exclusive renderings to help you visualise the next ZR1, likely the most powerful production Corvette ever. That is, unless the rumours of a Corvette Zora with 1,000-bhp and all-wheel drive prove true.
For now, here's everything we know about the 2025 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1.
What Will It Be Called?
This question is easy to answer, or is it? While there's virtually no doubt the ZR1 badge will return for the current generation, it's been the flagship model since the C6 era began in 2004. It was also a special package offered on early C3 Corvettes, and there was the 1990-1995 C4 ZR-1 (spelled with a hyphen) during which the "king of the hill" nickname grew to prominence. Therein lies the question, as rumours of the aforementioned Corvette Zora suggest a new ZR1 would not be king of the hill, or a flagship model. Any way you slice it, there's little reason to doubt the next 'Vette will wear ZR1 badging. But it may not be the king.
What Will It Look Like?
The C7 Corvette ZR1 drew heavily from the Z06 in the styling department with only subtle differences, and the C8 version should do the same. Based on recent spy photos showing prototypes wearing only a body wrap, we've created the exclusive Corvette ZR1 renderings you see here. The front and rear fascias look virtually identical to the C8 Z06, right down to the winglets ahead of the front wheels and the center-exit quad exhaust at the rear. It's possible the ZR1 could offer a choice of aero packages, as we've seen different spoilers on various test vehicles.
Areas of visual interest include the front trunk – aka frunk – and the rear wings/fenders. At the front, it's very easy to see vents in the frunk lid. We've depicted these in our renderings, set in a classic ZR1-style black strip. Previously, such changes at the front would benefit the engine. Here it's almost certainly an aero feature designed to channel air through the front for better downforce, not unlike what we see on many supercars.
The mid-mount engine in the new ZR1 still gets help, but that comes from the second area of interest. Here we see extra vents located atop the wide rear wings/fenders and near the blades of the existing side intakes. These "blade" vents show up easily on a car wearing a white camo wrap, but we think they will blend into the black Z06-style blades for a discreet look on production cars.
What's Under The Hood?
Just as the Z06 and ZR1 share many styling cues, expect the Z06's high-revving DOHC 5.5-litre V8 holding station behind the driver – with two very notable exceptions. We're talking about turbochargers, and all the associated gear needed to force-feed the already capable engine. Spy video of a ZR1 prototype in action all but confirms the 5.5-litre mill is there, as its exhaust note is very different from the 6.2-litre pushrod V8 used in the Stingray.
Numerous reports have floated power ratings of 800 bhp or more for the new ZR1. Considering the Z06 already makes 670 bhp, it wouldn't take much boost to achieve such a figure. That would comfortably improve the ZR1 versus the previous-generation model, allowing Chevrolet to crown it as the most powerful production Corvette of all time. Perhaps more importantly, it leaves room for the rumoured Zora to arrive with a 1,000-bhp AWD drivetrain.
Gallery: Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Nurburgring New Spy Photos
When Will We See It?
We can trace ZR1 rumours (and potential test mule sightings) all the way back to 2020, so it's been in development for years. More recent spy shots caught test cars under heavy camouflage in May 2023, but the latest images show cars testing hard at the Nurburgring with just a body wrap. In the world of General Motors, such progression usually indicates a debut is approaching and that could happen by the end of 2023.
It's worth noting the last time a ZR1 debuted – specifically the 2019 ZR1 convertible – it took place at the 2017 LA Auto Show. The 2023 LA Auto Show opens to the public on 17 November, which is conveniently timed considering all the prototype sightings we're getting now. Whether the covers are lifted at LA or at some point thereafter, we believe the ZR1 will be a 2025 model-year vehicle.
How Much Will It Cost?
While we hesitate to say the 2025 Corvette ZR1 will be a bargain, it could well be the least expensive 800-bhp supercar on the market. The 2024 Z06 has a starting price of $112,700, not including destination charges. The previous-generation ZR1 started at $121,995, also without destination fees. As such, it's not unreasonable to expect a starting price under $150,000 (approx. £125,000), which is light years beneath competition like the McLaren 750S or Ferrari 296 GTS.