The last time Chevrolet sent their flagship Corvette ZR1 around the famed Nürburgring with chassis engineer Jim Mero behind the wheel in 2008, Chevrolet returned with a perfectly respectable lap time of 7:26.4. That lap time stood as the record for a production car around the famed 13 mile track for all of a month until a Ferrari Enzo beat its time. However, Chevy recently had another crack at it with Jim Mero at the helm again, and this time the ZR1 shaved an impressive six seconds off of its lap time, completing the green hell in 7:19.4.
Jim Mero’s new lap time of 7:19.4 in the 2012 Corvette ZR1 stands as either the fastest or second fastest lap of the ‘ring for a production car, depending on who you talk to. Porsche currently claims to have the record for production car around the Nürburgring, with a time of 7:18 completed in 2010 in a 911 GT2 RS. However unlike Chevrolet, Porsche hasn’t released a video of the record lap time, nor have they admitted to whether or not the car was completely stock or not.
According to Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter, the 2012 Corvette that they used in this video is “Setup completely stock as it would be received by a real customer.” Juechter goes on to say, “We do have to add some safety equipment which actually adds weight to the vehicle and actually slows us down a little bit, but the rest of the car is to production specifications including alignment, trim height and everything you would normally expect out of a factory vehicle, up to and including the suspension parameters [and] the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires.”
If the Corvette was completely stock (other than safety equipment), with the same driver, then how did Chevrolet shave an impressive six seconds off of the ZR1’s last lap time in 2008? Well again, according to Juechter, “We feel we have a pretty substantial performance upgrade.” Possibly the biggest improvement on the 2012 ‘Vette ZR1 is the addition of those Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires. These DOT legal tires are some of the stickiest rubber you can get and they’re new to the ZR1 this year. In addition to the new tires, Juechter says that the Corvette team has made other improvements to the ZR1: “We also have other chassis improvements [and] aero improvements, so we hope to show that we really improved the capability of the car.” With a six-second lap improvement, consider us shown. Check out the remarkable video for yourself below.