Our spy photographers caught a fleet of supercars accompanying prototypes of the next-generation Chevrolet Corvette ZR1. The grouping, which is likely an opportunity for General Motors engineers to benchmark the supercars, hints at the performance level Chevrolet plans for its next ZR1.
Our shooter spotted the convoy leaving GM's Milford proving grounds and attacking winding back roads in southeastern Michigan. GM's contingent included two examples of the new, C7-generation Chevrolet Corvette, as well as an outgoing 2013 Corvette ZR1. The rivals comprise an Audi R8 V-10 Spyder, a Ferrari 458 Italia, a McLaren MP4-12C, and Porsche 911 Carrera S.
The European cars show that Chevrolet has serious performance benchmarks in mind for its top-dog Corvette: the R8 V-10 produces 525 hp normally or 550 hp in the V-10 Plus model, the 458 Italia offers 562 hp, the MP4-12C has 616 hp, and the 911 Carrera S has 400 hp. Both of the C7 cars appear totally unchanged from standard Corvette Stingray coupes we've seen on the auto-show circuit, although this is the first time we've seen the five-spoke wheels on the red car.
Earlier reports suggest the next Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 will produce anywhere from 675 to 700 hp, thanks to a supercharged version of the new Stingray's 6.2-liter LT1 V-8 engine. The standard 2014 Chevrolet Corvette extracts 450 hp from the LT1 mill. However, the Corvette ZR1 is likely still a few years out. Our information suggests a Z06 model with 550-600 hp will bow in 2014, and the ZR1 will follow in 2015.
A Chevrolet spokesman confirmed that the cars spotted here were part of a GM exercise, and said that, "A key goal for the Corvette Stingray was to develop a car that had world-class levels of performance, design, and technology… we want to ensure that it delivers one of the best driving experiences available."