Farewell Gift for Corvette Engineer May Have Leaked Z06 and ZR1 Nurburgring Times

While not official, it provides plenty to speculate about. 

A user on Corvette Forum posted a picture collage that Jim Mero, the ride and handling engineer and test driver for the C7 Corvette team, allegedly received as a retirement gift. The collage shows various pictures of Mr. Mero allegedly driving several different Corvette trims on various tracks, which include the Nürburgring and Virginia International Raceway, among others. On the bottom row of the collage there appears to be lap times from the C6 and C7 Corvettes, some of which have never been officially announced. 

Here are the vehicles pictured on the bottom row of the collage from left to right: 

  • C7 Z51 7:33 (S)
  • C7 Grand Sport 7:27
  • 2009 ZR1 7:26
  • 2012 Z06/Z07 7:22
  • 2012 ZR1 7:19
  • C7 Z06/Z07 7:10
  • C7 ZR1 6:57 (S)

It is not clear what the (S) means, however some users on Corvette Forum speculate that it may mean the time was calculated using the best segment times instead of one consistent lap. 

Mero retired Sept. 1 and spent the last 13 years of his 34-year career working on the Corvette program. His work has helped shape the car into what it is today. While Corvette fans will certainly miss him there is more to this story than his retirement. 

Mero held several production car lap records during the course of his career, including the Nürburgring with his 7 minute and 26 second run in 2008 in a 2009 Corvette ZR1 and he currently holds the record at VIR with a time of 2:37.25 in the 2019 Corvette ZR1, edging out the Ford GT. 

Unfortunately, for fans of the C7 Corvette, General Motors has not been as keen to release times for this generation as they were in the past. This brings us back to the picture that was shared, along the bottom it appears to show pictures of the C6 Corvette Z06/Z07 and ZR1 with their lap times at the Nürburgring, which has all been published. The C7 Corvette times however are a new revelation

Also included in the collage posted to Corvette Forum are some pictures of when Mero may have pushed a little too far. Several wrecked Corvettes show just how dangerous the job of a test driver can be. Jim Mero might not be a household name but in addition to being one of the lead engineers for the Corvette program, he is one of the lead drivers when it comes to setting a fast lap. 

While these numbers may not be official and published by GM, the C7 Z06 seems to line up with a 2017 test highlighted by German magazine, Sport Auto, in which a video shows a C7 Z06 lapped in 7:13.90 at Nordschleife.

While we may not know what the (S) stands for, the C7 ZR1 time shows that it can be an extremely potent track car. Until GM releases an official time for Corvette fans around the world this is a best guess as to what the C7 ZR1 could be capable of on the famed Nürburgring.

The Drive reached out to Chevrolet for comment and they have yet to respond. We will update the article when we hear back.