Hardcore Corvette ZR1 Runs Hard Against Sophisticated McLaren 720S

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Horsepower may win on the track, but this Corvette ZR1 was held back by its own aero.

The 2019 Corvette ZR1 is the most hardcore ZR1 yet. The supercharged 6.2 liter V8 pumps out 755 horses and 715 lb-ft of torque toward the fat rear tires through either a seven-speed manual or eight-speed automatic, ferrying the monster ‘Vette to a top speed of 212 mph. The only thing able to keep that power under control is the optional carbon-fiber high wing, providing 60 percent more downforce than the current Z06 with the Z07 Performance Package.

Unfortunately, that wing can be more of a ball and chain in certain situations, such the one a ZR1 found itself in against YouTuber DragTimes’s McLaren 720S down the back straight of Palm Beach, Florida’s Palm Beach International Raceway.

Corvette ZR1 vs McLaren 720S

At first, you might think the ZR1 would absolutely smoke the McLaren, which packs a twin-turbo four-liter V8 good for a mere 710 horses sent through a seven-speed DCT to the rear wheels. Even DragTimes likes the ZR1’s extra aero ‘because that probably slows it down on the top end.’ As he would soon come to find, he had no idea by how much.


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The first two races between the supercars were dig races—your basic off-the-line run, in other words—and neither was a contest. Both times, the McLaren blasted off into space, its twin-turbos carrying the British machine into the stratosphere. Meanwhile, the ZR1 was firmly planted to the earth, not able to escape the gravity of the situation.


The third and final race was a roll race from 40 mph to 160 mph down the quarter-mile. Surely, the ZR1 would fare better here. Right? Nope. Once again, the McLaren explodes like shattered glass from pillar to post, leaving the ZR1 behind to pick up the pieces. As DragTimes notes, the McLaren’s active aero, lighter weight, and better weight-to-power ratio were the keys to destroying the ZR1. We can only hope there’s a rematch someday. If it happens, may the big wing stay home, lest it continue to drag our hero down.

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