C6 Corvette ZR1 Shows We Didn’t Know How Good We Had It

Screenshot: <a class="link " href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:MotorWeek via YouTube;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas">MotorWeek via YouTube</a>

Does anyone else remember early 2009? Obama was just inaugurated, Circuit City was closing, Bernie Madoff pleaded guilty and I was in the sixth grade looking for my first girlfriend. While all that was happening, though, General Motors was getting ready to launch its masterpiece: the C6 Chevy Corvette ZR1. To me, it is the absolute peak of Corvettes, and now we get a chance to relive its early days through the latest MotorWeek Retro Review.

Like all MW reviews, this one starts off with our hero John Davis standing outside a copper-colored (remember when every car was copper?) ZR1 using his outside-voice-all-the-time voice. He lays out the specs and highlights: 638 supercharged horsepower, adjustable suspension and Brembo brakes. Babes, this is “as close to a street-legal Corvette race car as you can get.” Luckily, MotorWeek brought the ZR1 to a race track to push it to the limits. That’s right folks, they’re at the Roebling Road Raceway in Bloomingdale, Georgia.

We even get something of a proto-Retro Review in the Retro Review. President Davis talks about all of the other Corvettes they’ve called the best of all time, dating back to the 1990 Corvette ZR1. He then declares the 2009 ZR1 the “ultimate production Corvette.”


From there we get into the C6 ZR1’s iconic hood window thing, which everyone thought was tacky at the time, but I absolutely love. What a motor that lay beneath it: a 6.2-liter supercharged LS9 V8 that put out 638 horsepower and 604 lb-ft of torque all routed through a six-speed manual transmission. Put those things together and you get a 3.5 second 0-60 time. These numbers are strong today, so 15 years ago they were pretty much out of this world. At the time, the ZR1 apparently set the fastest lap record around Roebling Road ever tested by MotorWeek. It beat out all sorts of high-end sports cars, and even the Ferrari Enzo, for the crown. Despite all that power and performance, Davis said the ZR1 is still the easiest-to-drive high-performance car to date “bar none.” Impressive stuff.

I have always loved the C6 in general, but the ZR1 – for obvious reasons – has always been my very favorite. I’m just glad to see that THE John Davis agrees.

For the latest news, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.