An intrepid Automobile reader tipped us off to a couple of photos that were posted online of what is almost certainly a 2018 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 prepped for a Nürburging lap record attempt. While we’ve seen ZR1 prototypes on the ‘Ring before, this car has a handful of key elements the others don’t.
Said to have been the sole occupant for a 747 flight to Europe, the car features a directional exhaust typically seen on cars set up for racing on Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, which limits sound to 92 decibels. As it so happens, the ‘Ring also has a similar limit of 95 decibels — and there’s no other logical reason for the funky pipes.
How do we know it’s not the upcoming mid-engine C8? Well, while we can’t see much else thanks to the car cover, the outline of the hood visible up front, the size of the wing matches that of previously spied ZR1 prototypes, and the exhaust comes out of the center instead of on the sides, like it does on the handful of prototype C8s that have been spotted in the wild.
A notable difference between this car and the other C7 ZR1 prototypes, however, is the lower rear fascia, which is all-camo here instead of flat black — a clear indicator that the production model’s tail will be distinct from its lesser Corvette brethren. It’s also rolling on shiny wheels instead of matte ones.
Additionally, we wouldn’t be surprised to see this car show up in some capacity during this coming weekend at the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s a fitting location for a reveal of a car like the C7 ZR1 — or even a camo-wrapped tease — and why else would Chevrolet spend a considerable amount of money just to overnight a single car? Nürburgring record attempts aren’t exactly time-sensitive, after all.
If the Corvette ZR1 does have a stop at Le Mans on its calendar, well find out soon enough. As for the Nürburging lap record, we’ll just have to wait until Chevy has a time to share.