AUTOWEEK: 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1: 6 questions with Tadge Juechter and Alex MacDonald

Challenges, limits and preferences on Chevy’s newest world beater

autoweek zr1The 2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1 is incontrovertibly an engineering marvel. Taking a nuclear reactor like the LT5, attaching it to a real-deal clutch and forcing 755 hp (and 715 lb-ft of torque) through the driveline, rear diff and eventually to the rear wheels takes planning, more planning and lots of math. Coping with nearly 1,000 pounds of downforce and all that heat takes work too. We had a few questions for the ZR1 engineers after the first drive; here are their answers.

Autoweek: What was the limiting factor for power and torque production, other than money, of course? Heat? Fuel? Air? Packaging?

Tadge Juechter, chief engineer: The limiting factor was packaging. How physically large could our engine be that was still usable at the track.

Autoweek: What was the single greatest challenge of heat extraction for the 755-hp motor?

Juechter: The challenge was to see how many heat exchangers you can get in the car to get quality air as we are tapped for space.

Autoweek: What was the unexpected component that needed reinforcement with the added power?

Alex MacDonald, Chevy development driver/engineer: The X pipe in the center of the exhaust needed reinforcement due to the heat and pressure.

Autoweek: Corvettes are usually user friendly — performance cars an average schlub can drive. The last ZR1 did however have a reputation for being a bit nervous at high speeds. Is that an issue now? If not, why not?

MacDonald: The C6 Z06 was neutral in terms of downforce. Our Z06 and ZR1 have significant downforce. The ZR1 has 60 percent more than Z06.

Autoweek: At the unveiling, you guys said ZR1s have their own bodywork forward of the A-pillar. Can you tell me specifically which pieces are different?

MacDonald: Every piece forward of the A-pillar is new.

Autoweek: How would you spec your personal ZR1?

Juechter: Admiral blue with black wheels. Manual transmission with the Competition seats and low wing.

MacDonald: Ceramic white with the ZTK and 3ZR Packages, Comp seats.

Article by Jake Lingeman – Jake Lingeman is Road Test Editor at Autoweek, reviewing cars, reporting on car news, car tech and the world at large.

Complete article and images at AUTOWEEK

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