The timeless battle between the Ford GT and the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 has heated up in the past week. First we released the news of a new Lightning Lap record, set in a single day behind the wheel of Ford’s half-million-dollar GT. Then Ford touted its own even quicker lap time (2:38.6, sans video) at Virginia International Raceway, claiming the production-car record from the Corvette Z06 (2:39.8). Over the weekend, the Pratt & Miller Corvette race team finished third on the podium at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona behind a pair of Chip Ganassi Ford GTs. Today, the one-upmanship continues with Chevrolet releasing a video of the new 2019 Corvette ZR1 turning a lap of VIR’s 4.1-mile Grand Course West in a blistering 2:37.3. Jaws. On. Floor.
If you haven’t already skipped to the bottom of this post to see the video, know that Corvette ride-and-handling engineer Jim Mero was behind the wheel of a top-spec ZR1, fitted with the eight-speed automatic transaxle and the ZTK performance package. Modifications to the car are limited to safety equipment, including a very useful race harness. The ZTK package brings a retuned, track-focused suspension, super-sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, and aerodynamic enhancements commensurate with the ZR1’s 755-hp supercharged 6.2-liter V-8. Chevrolet estimates that the airfoil at the rear generates as much as 950 pounds of downforce, and, judging by Mero hitting 157 mph well into the Climbing Esses (at the 54-second mark in the video), we’re gonna call that claim credible.
While this is just one more crosstown shot at rivals, both companies need to find a few more seconds to claim the overall lap record on the Grand Course. Currently, that badge of honor is worn by Gavin Bennett, who, in December 2007—while on a damp track, no less—turned a 2:35.6 in a shifter kart. Yes, a go-kart. Here’s hoping that General Motors and Ford continue battling so that a production car can claim that record. Or perhaps Dodge can swoop in and strike with a new Viper, as some rumors suggest.