DVD is coming.
in post-production and scheduled for release via this site in
music will be featured on the DVD.
to be notified when the DVD is shipping.Click
10.85 pass, then current record for a stock Corvette on drag
Bone Stock on Drag Radials 10.98
is the video of my back-to-back 10-second passes on drag
report on this pass
on April 11, 2009 Tuners
have been busy modding ZR1s and getting them to the track. But,
like many of you, I’m interested in witnessing what owners of these
extraordinary cars can do with them in the quarter-mile bone-stock
(that is, without modification). To me, as always, it just didn’t
seem the car magazine road tests results had done the car
So we developed a plan. Two adventuresome ZR1 owners stepped
forward and responded to a post I made offering a rental venue at
Maryland International Raceway (MIR) to help them figure out their
On Wednesday, April 8th
brought their beautiful cyber gray 2009 ZR1s to MIR for a day of
learning and camaraderie. Both cars are bone-stock.
In seven hours three drivers made a total of 45 passes in the cars.
Hard-driven hot-laps of two or three passes was the routine. And
through all that, neither car broke nor sustained track incidents.
Both cars were run in
Traction System Off,
one click of the console button. The suspensions were set to
Both started the day with fuel at more than half-tank and
heat-soaked from the long drive to MIR. And no sustained cool-down
was permitted either car during the day. Drivers
ZO6Jeff’s son, CF member
made 18 passes, his first in the ZR1. He’s a road racer and
auto-crosser with limited drag racing experience in a C6 Z06, a
modified six-speed Camaro and a Pontiac G8-GT
made 16 Passes and had a previous 10 in his ZR1. He has been drag
racing Corvettes for many years.
made 11 passes, my first ones driving a ZR1. I’ve raced Z06s
weather was generally favorable. Density Altitude ranged from zero
feet at 10 a.m. to +600 from 2 p.m. onward. The Station Pressure
was 29.55 to 29.60 (at 80 feet altitude). Dew Point was about 25
degrees. Air Temperature ranged from mid-50s to mid-60s at
air-inlet height. Winds were not a notable factor. Track surface
temperature was above 60 degrees in the morning and reached 80 by
Track surface preparation was very good. But the first 100’ of the
racing surface received its weekly scraping that morning,
eliminating the rubber that had formed the racing groove during the
previous week’s race days. Jason Miller, the MIR operations
director, did the track prep for us and mitigated the absence of an
established groove. I must say Jason maintains the racing surface
with the care and attention of a marine biologist nurturing a coral
My best of eight passes on stock tires was 1.90 11.21 130.45 and of
three passes on drag radials was 10.98 which I ran twice
back-to-back with trap speeds of 130.97 and 131.87. My 60’ on DRs
were modest, 1.76 and 1.78. In light of my guest-driver status, I
felt an duty to go particularly easy on the clutch. So I made fast,
clean clutch releases, followed by a graduated throttle squeeze.
The other two drivers experimented more aggressively with the
clutch, with better results. My trap speeds were mostly above 130.
That came from shift-point correctness.
Impressions of the ZR1 on the Drag Strip A
fabulous car, that’s hard to drive well for max acceleration.
That’s why the car magazines haven’t shined with it. The torque of
the motor is huge, presenting a challenge to avoid excessive
wheel-spin. The solution involves heated tires and a progressive
throttle-squeeze in first gear. But loss of momentum via bog has
disproportionate, adverse impact on the 60’, 330’ and ET. GM set
the ZR1 first gear ratio at 2.29 vice the Z06’s 2.66. That
difference looms large in making torque at launch somewhat more
manageable and allows the ZR1 to reach 67 before the shift. But it
penalizes a loss of momentum more in the ZR1 than in the Z06.
The car has a different rpm-making rhythm than the Z06; its rev
limiter is at 6600 vice 7120. So a driver transitioning from the
Z06 needs to eye the tachometer earlier than the engine-sound
indicates. Clipping the limiters extracts an ET penalty. Slamming
the limiter drop the car’s nose and kills the ET.
The ZR1 transmission is a pleasure and shifts positively with
little fanfare. Perfect. As always, proper hand position is still a
The clutch engagement point is in the top-third of travel rather
than the middle-third on other Corvettes. That requires getting
On ZO6Jeff’s car we changed the clutch fluid in the reservoir
(three swaps) after pass #10 as a prophylactic. It was seriously
nasty from infused clutch dust after starting the day perfectly
clean. We repeated the three-swaps at pass #20 before mounting the
drag radials. Again it had turned very nasty; but three swaps did
I was very impressed with how stable and planted the car was under
max acceleration. If you replay the video of the two 10-second
passes, note how straight and true the ZR1 remained with only
minimal movement on transitions. It behaved the same way for me on
stock tires. I like that. It quickly gave me confidence going down
Finally I was impressed by the robustness of the car under hard
running. Nothing broke; nothing felt weak. I had no wheel hop in my
11 passes. The clutches held up. But they do produce smoke through
the center tunnel exit when intentionally slipped excessively. But
unlike the LS7 clutch, the LS9 dual-disc did not glaze even once. I
am happy to see GM has resolved that annoying issue.
Now that I’ve driven both the ZR1 and the Z06 on the same day at
the same track, which car is faster? The ZR1 for sure. It feels
faster. It is faster. But it’s harder to launch without a loss of
momentum. Still, post-launch, the very wide flat power-band of the
ZR1 is unforgettable. And of course the exhaust note at full song,
sounds like a genuine race-car. Sweet is an understatement. Just
re-watch my 10-second-passes in HD widescreen with the volume
cranked. That exhaust note is mesmerizing. It's like you are
On my DR passes, a slightly more aggressive launch would have put
the car into the 10.8s at a 600’ DA. I suspect some owner will get
a ZR1 into the 10.60s on DR and the 10.8s on stock tires. racerns
came very close to 10s on stock tires and would have been there
with better shifts or the same DA we has at the start of the day or
in a car not thoroughly heat-soaked from a long drive to MIR and so
I must note that zosix427 drove seven hours to reach MIR; made 16
passes; and then drove seven hours home to honor business
commitments at first-light the next morning. He’s a true car guy
and racer who’s already done the driver-mod and wants to improve
even further. He set a series of PRs in his ZR1 at MIR and will be
knocking on tens in the fall with more seat-time. I forgot to
mention to him (but will here) that as I was preparing to do a
burnout on a pass in his car, On-Star called with a status report.
I showed “mature judgment” in ringing off that call before spinning
the rear tires to copious smoke. That was but a small token in
return for the opportunity to make three passes in his ZR1.
I extend once again my thanks to ZO6Jeff for the opportunity to
join his son racerns in help wring out the ZR1. I know they will
continue to drive the car in the full spirit in which GM unleashed
it on the Corvette Faithful…often and at various racing
Also want to thank Chris for shooting the 62 videos of our
activities at the event. Great job once again, Chris.
Thanks, as always, go to Massimiliano for the use of his