Car Feature: EVIL ZR1

photos by: Scott Schwartz / video by: Sam McConnell

In a World of C7s, One Man is Waving the C6 ZR1 banner Loud and Proud

The King of the Hill — it’s what the ZR1 Corvette had been referred to since its initial, C4-based launch for the 1990 model year. Packing a [initial] 385hp naturally-aspirated DOHC LT5 small-block, built with the help of Lotus and Mercury Marine, the ZR1 would go on to be become the ultimate off-the shelf Corvette through its run until the end of the 1995 model year.

We wouldn’t see another Corvette wear the ZR1 badge until 2009 — seemingly a lifetime in car years. By that time, the 400hp that the last ZR1 had exited with, was no longer even deemed adequate for a base model Corvette. The entry-level Corvette was good for 430hp and the Z06 was cracking out an underrated 505hp by 2009, so if there was going to be a new King of the Hill, it had better be packing some real oats!

Leaving the factory with the 638hp supercharged LS9, the C6 ZR1 not only featured the most powerful engine ever found in a Corvette at that time, but allowed endless amounts of tunability for tuners and enthusiasts alike. The car was incredible as-delivered, but with factory boost on-hand, the sky was the limit. One C6 ZR1 owner, Chris Lazzo, is one such enthusiast.

Having previously owned a couple of boosted Fords and a C5 Z06, it was only a matter of time where those two worlds will ultimately collide in one form or another. Chris picked up the car just over a year ago, pretty much bone stock. Since the acquisition, the ZR1 now packs a big punch, while utilizing very little in terms of upgrades.

Under the hood, you’ll find an LS9 with a forged stock bottom end, but one that relies on a BTR Stage 3 camshaft, CNC-ported LS9 heads and even the stock blower up top. The OE blower has been ported by Kong Performance, and a 14% underdrive pulley, 2.3-inch blower pulley and KP Racing intercooler water inlets have been implemented into the recipe. A Lingenfelter cold-air induction kit, with a Wilson 102mm throttle body helps the ZR1 breathe a little easier — especially since there’s 20-psi. of boost on tap.

Fuel consumption has been upgraded rather modestly; with eight massive Injector Dynamics 160-lb./hr injectors quitting fuel into each of the cylinders.

On the opposite end, Kooks long-tube headers with 1-3/4 inch primaries paired with a Kooks X-pipe and the OEM mufflers lend a perfect balance of flow, sound and durability to the exhaust system. If boost wasn’t enough, Chris took it up to 11 with the help of a Nitrous Outlet 350hp shot wet kit, dialed in with a Lingenfelter progressive controller.

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Incredibly, the transmission and the LS9 clutch are still untouched, however, the flywheel has since been swapped with a unit from SPEC. Partnered up with the OEM clutch, this makes for one fairly stout drivetrain. Now Chris was so content with his ZR1’s suspension system, that he has elected to leave it all well enough alone and focus on the brakes.

Utilizing the factory 6-piston Brembo calipers, the ZR1 has since been upgraded with carbon ceramic rotors that are much-needed in bringing this blown beast to a halt in a hurry. The blue calipers match the badging, while they stay tucked away behind a set of 18-inch Forgestar rollers, wrapped in Mickey Thompson rubber at all four corners.

Thanks to all of this mouthwatering hardware, HP Tuners software and the wizards at Proxses Tuning for their tuning abilities, the ZR1 laid down a very respectable 1048hp  and 1125 of torque to the rear wheels. That’s enough to rip your face off, or run the quarter-mile in 9.89 at 148mph. But what’s particularly interesting is that the car isn’t even built for the 1320-foot stretch, but rather, the standing half-mile runs of the East Coast.

As Chris pointed in the video above, the Corvette is taking part in racing competition of a different breed these days, as we’ve seen in previous features. The ultimate goal is to eventually eclipse 200 mph but for now, he’s just breached 185 mph during a trip at a WannaGoFast event in Virginia. With some more work, tuning and a bit of weight reduction, we’re sure he’ll ultimately achieve his goal!

 

TECH SHEET:

  • CAR: 2010 Corvette ZR1
  • OWNER: Chris Lazzo
  • ENGINE BLOCK: LS9
  • CRANKSHAFT: LS9 (forged)
  • PISTONS: LS9 (forged)
  • CONNECTING RODS: LS9 (titanium)
  • CAMSHAFT: BTR Stage 3 boost grind
  • CYLINDER HEADS: LS9 (CNC-ported)
  • COMPRESSION RATIO: 9.1:1
  • INDUCTION: Wilson 102mm throttle body, Lingenfelter cold-air intake
  • POWER ADDER: Stock LS9 supercharger; ported by Kong Performance, 14% under drive pulley, 2.3-inch blower pulley
  • BOOST: 20 psi.
  • INTERCOOLER: Stock, KP Racing intercooler water inlets
  • NITROUS: Nitrous Outlet 350hp shot; wet kit, Lingenfelter progressive controller
  • IGNITION: Stock coil packs and spark plug wires
  • EXHAUST: Kooks long-tube 1-3/4 headers and X-pipe, stock mufflers
  • FUEL DELIVERY: Injector Dynamics 160-lb injectors, stock pump
  • OILING: Stock
  • TUNING: HP Tuners; tuned by Proxses Tuning
  • TRANSMISSION: Stock; MGW shifter
  • CLUTCH: Stock clutch, SPEC flywheel
  • SHIFTER: Stock
  • DRIVESHAFT: Stock
  • REAREND: Stock
  • SUSPENSION: Stock
  • BRAKES: Stock calipers, carbon ceramic rotors
  • WHEELS: Forgestar (18-inch diameter)
  • TIRES: Mickey Thompson; Drag SS (rear0
  • HP/TQ.: 1048/1125
  • 1/4-Mile E.T.: 9.89 at 148mph
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Being infatuated with cars since he was a toddler, GM EFI Founder and Editor, Rick Seitz, has a true love and passion for late-model GM vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.

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