Here’s How Much Power the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Really Makes at the Wheels

Hennessey Performance does some important science and answers the big question.

byEric Brandt|


It's a depressing reality in the car world that the horsepower count generated at the wheels of our favorite sports cars—and all cars, for that matter—is never as high as the number claimed on the spec sheet. That's because automakers measure horsepower at the engine, before the work of spinning the drivetrain sucks some of the fun out of it. It's kind of like how those impressive highway fuel economy numbers are measured at an unrealistic average of 50 mph. So it's up to the aftermarket to figure out how much power is really flowing through the wheels, and the team at Hennessey Performance is all too happy to oblige with the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1.

Hennessey famously takes crazy production cars and makes them crazier. Chevrolet claims 755 horsepower and 715 pound-feet of torque at the crank in the new ZR1, and Hennessey decided to strap it to the shop's dynamometer and figure out just what that supercharged 6.2-liter LT5 V8 is really pushing where the rubber meets the road. Here's the result:

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According to Hennessey’s dyno, a stock Corvette ZR1 makes approximately 654 horsepower and 645 lb-ft at the wheels. That puts the ZR1’s true performance very close to the current Z06’s numbers at the crank (650 hp and 650 lb-ft). That’s also about a Toyota Yaris worth of horsepower lost between the crank and the wheels; it might sound like a lot, but it’s only a 13 percent reduction, which is identical to the Dodge Demon’s power loss in the most recent test we saw. It's also under the much-debated industry average of 15 percent.

We have a feeling Hennessey will be able to get the ZR1’s wheel horsepower to that sweet 755 number and beyond in short order. Right now the speed shop is cooking up 800 horsepower and 1,200 horsepower variants of the Corvette ZR1, and we’re likely to see videos of them proving themselves on the dyno along the way. Until then, you’ll have to settle for just 654 wheel horsepower in your $121,000 American supercar.

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