Hot on the heels of Ford’s “accidental” lap record at Virginia International Raceway earlier last week, Chevrolet gleefully announced the upcoming 2019 Corvette ZR1 smashed the Ford GT’s still-fresh time by 1.37 seconds.
At the start of this satisfying and very patriotic progression, the gone-but-not-forgotten 2016 Dodge Viper ACR made headlines in 2015 when it set multiple production lap records at a handful of tracks. One of which was VIR, where the be-winged Viper carved through the verdant track in a smokin’ 2:40.02.
That record apparently stood until last week, when Ford whipped its GT supercar around the track in an impressive 2:38:62. Not only was this a feather in the GT’s carbon-fiber cap, but Ford nonchalantly claimed this wasn’t even a planned record-breaking run, and only part of a validation lap to iron out a few developmental kinks.
Now Chevrolet is the record holder, cracking the GT’s record a week later in the 2019 Corvette ZR1, clocking in a blistering 2:37.25 time. Following in Ford’s treadmarks, the automaker was cool as a cuke when discussing the new record. According to the Corvette team, this too was a validation run, not meant for cracking the lap record.
This wasn’t some stripped-down test-mule special either. Aside from different seats, a harness bar, and five-point harnesses, the record-setting ‘Vette was bone stock. It was equipped with the ZTK performance package, adding a deep, deep front splitter, adjustable carbon-fiber rear wing, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, and MagneRide suspension.
GM cheerfully points out that the record was set by Jim Mero, a vehicle dynamics engineer for GM, and not some professional hotshoe like the record-setting Ford GT’s Billy Johnson, who is part of the team who pushed the Ford GT at Le Mans.