Corvette ZR1, 911 GT3 Go Head-to-Head in Big Power Comparison
Can the all-rounder ZR1 best the track-focused 911 GT3 under the warm California sun? Edmunds holds all the cards.
The Corvette ZR1 is the best way to go to and from the track. There’s just no beating being able to make the drive to track day in total comfort, then unleashing all 755 horses and 715 lb-ft of torque from the supercharged 6.2-liter V8 for a few laps before heading back home in the top tier of Corvettes.
But can it best a car that, while also street-legal, was designed purely with the track in mind in the first place? Edmunds’ Alistair Weaver and Carlos Lago are determined to find out by comparing America’s supercar with one of Germany’s Teutonic terrors, the Porsche 911 GT3.
“One of the Corvette’s primary strengths has always been value,” says Lago. “Not only does this particular ZR1 cost $30,000 less than that GT3, it has more: more tire, more power, more torque, even a bigger rear wing. And there’s actually one more gear in its optional automatic transmission. But the real highlight of this car, when you see it for the first time, is the fact that its supercharged V8 is so big, they had to cut a hole in the hood so it can fit.”
“This generation of the 911 is codenamed ‘991,’ and this is actually Porsche’s second attempt at a GT3 version of this car,” Weaver says. “The first one was fitted with a 3.8-liter engine, which, to be honest, proved to be a bit troublesome. But this this new one has a four-liter that’s been comprehensively redesigned. This is basically a race-car engine. So, there’s no supercharger, no turbocharger, just a purity of purpose [with] instantaneous throttle response.”
So, will value win-out over purity? Lago and Weaver begin their test with a quarter-mile drag. Both the ZR1 and GT3 clear the line in 11.2 seconds, though the ZR1 did so at 127.2 mph, the GT3 at 124.7 mph. Lago says the ZR1 has a hard time moving that power off the line, though, taking 3.3 seconds to go from zero to 60 mph. The GT3, thanks to its launch control, hits its mark in 3.1 seconds.
Braking is a whole other game, though. The GT3 stops from 60 mph to zero in 103 feet, while the ZR1 gets out of its own way sooner, in just 95 feet.
Out on The Streets of Willow Springs, the ZR1 is first up around the track. Lago and Weaver can’t help but laugh at the insane power the ZR1’s 6.2-liter supercharged V8 delivers, with Weaver adding that if a passenger who’s never experienced a supercar before sat in the ZR1, they would be scared out of their minds.
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Lago notes driving the ZR1 is “almost like an advance-level driving experience” due to the heavier driving feel that Weaver says is overtaking the electronics’ ability to keep things together at times, especially when “you arrive at corners 20 miles an hour faster than you think.”
Up last is the 911 GT3, a car that may be one of the last of its kind in the Porsche lineup.
“The Corvette very much feels like a normal road car that’s been turned up to the max,” says Weaver, “and they’ve tried all sorts of engineering trickery to make it do things that maybe, just deep down, it doesn’t wanna do. Whereas this car is the evolution of 50 years of Germanic engineering.”
Though Lago and Weaver choose the 911 GT3 as their track-day car of choice, they do suggest getting the ZR1 now before the C8 era dawns, as it’ll likely be the last front-engined ZR1 ever made.