ZR1 vs Z06: Which Corvette is Actually Better?

The Chevrolet Corvette. The pinnacle of American performance. For quite some time the Corvette has been in a league entirely on its own. The Ford GT is the nearest competition, but with the massive price gap its not really a fair comparison.

The Corvette is one of the sports cars in the world, and is still extremely affordable (relatively speaking).

With two high performance models of the Corvette on the market, which one is best? The ZR1 is way more prestigious and sought after by young car enthusiasts, but is it really worth it? Let’s dive in and compare ZR1 vs Z06.

For this comparison we will be looking at the C6 ZR1 and the C6 Z06 to keep it as fair as possible.

C6 Z06

When Chevrolet dropped the Z06 in 2005 it was instantly loved by enthusiasts all over the world. The massive 7.0L LS7 engine was hand built in Kentucky, and produced a ridiculous 505 horsepower.

Not only was high in horsepower, it was also really high in torque.


Not only did the Z06 have an incredible engine, it was also lightened up. An aluminum frame saved 136 lbs from the standard steel frame. The front fenders are made out of carbon fiber, and the body is fiberglass like all Corvettes.

The Z06 was wider than the standard Corvette, which helped GM stuff massive sticky tires under it.

C6 ZR1

With the near instant success of the Z06, GM began developing a more insane Corvette shortly after. In 2006 a suspicious looking Z06 with manufacturer plates was spotted.

It featured a large bulge on the hood confirmed the rumors that the new Corvette would have a supercharger.


Funny enough many people thought the new Corvette would have an even larger displacement than the 7.0L Z06. The 6.2L super-charged LS9 that is equipped in the ZR1 produces an insane 638 horsepower.

It also has a carbon fiber hood, roof, fender, front splitter, and rocker moldings. This made it even lighter than the Z06. The ZR1 had a massive amount of downforce which limits the top speed to 205mph.
More Corvette info on Wikipedia

ZR1 vs Z06: Exterior

The ZR1 and the Z06 are very similar in their exterior design. The ZR1’s fenders are slightly wider, and are carbon fiber in the front just like the Z06. The ZR1 has a few more aerodynamic pieces like the carbon finer front splitter and larger rear wing.

The ZR1 also has a bulged hood with a polycarbonate window to show the plastic piece covering the supercharger. The ZR1 also has one inch taller rims (19″ front, 20″ rear).

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Other than those things mentioned, the exterior of the ZR1 and the Z06 are identical.

ZR1 vs Z06: Performance Number

If you’re a die hard car person, then this is the part you’ve been waiting for. Which one is better on paper? I know what you’re thinking, “The ZR1 has way better numbers”, and you’re right.
Here are the Z06’s performance numbers:

  • Displacement: 7.0L V8
  • Horsepower: 505 bhp @ 6,300 RPM
  • Torque: 470 lb-ft @ 4,800 RPM
  • Weight: 3,258 lbs
  • 0-60: 3.7 seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 11.6 seconds @ 126 mph
  • Top Speed: 198 mph
  • 60-0: 100 feet

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Here are the same numbers for the ZR1:

  • Displacement: 6.2L Super-Charged V8
  • Horsepower: 638 bhp @ 6,500 RPM
  • Torque: 604 lb-ft @ 3,800 RPM
  • Weight: 3,350 lbs
  • o-60: 3.3 seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 11.4 @ 130 mph
  • Top Speed: 205 mph
  • 60-0: 91 feet

As you can tell from these numbers, the ZR1 is faster. This was a no brainer, and we all knew that it would be faster from the get-go. The funny thing is, it’s not that much faster for having way more horsepower.

This is probably due to the limited traction, even with the Corvette’s massive rear tires.

Some performance things not mentioned above are brakes and suspension. The ZR1 has carbon ceramic brakes with 6-piston front, and 4-piston rear calipers. The ZR1 also has an extremely advanced magnetic ride control system, which transferred over to the C7 Z06.

ZR1 vs Z06: Price

Price is something that limits almost every car fanatic in the world. We just pick and choose what car we want. We must also pick and choose the modifications we can afford. The Z06 has a base price $76k. This is actually an extreme bargain for the insane amount of performance you get.

The ZR1 has a base price $113k. This is still a bargain compared to other cars with this kind of performance, but not as much of a bargain as the Z06.

Is the ZR1 really worth the extra $37k? I say no. Here’s why: With $37k you can buy a camshaft and a supercharger. With those mods as well as a few others, you can make 800 horsepower pretty easily. With the money left over from those mods you can buy a big brake kit, wheels, and suspension.

With all of these you’ll decimate any ZR1 on and off of the track.

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If modifications aren’t your thing, than maybe the ZR1 is worth it to you. If you are into tinkering with your car than you probably already know that the Z06 is the choice for you.

Which One is Better?

Both the ZR1 and the Z06 are incredible bargains for the amount of performance you are getting. With the money you save getting a Z06, you can easily build it to beat out any ZR1. For that reason we are going to name the Z06 the victor of this comparison. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

17 thoughts on “ZR1 vs Z06: Which Corvette is Actually Better?”

    • I would have to totally agree with you 100% man……the ZR1 looks like a mean Ferrari or pissed off Lamborgini…..it just doesn’t even look like a Corvette if u ask me, it just looks too great, you said it right: it looks like a SUPERCAR!!!!!!! I’D buy it if it looked like that, even if it was a V6, or hybrid, or diesel, or hell if it had a Toyota Yaris 1.2 Liter engine…..OK that’s a little insane, but still, it looks that good, now 2019 if GM can make the Z06 look that good, and make the ZR1 looks even better ( if that’s even possible) then GM would see Corvette sales skyrocket!

  1. On that logic you can go buy a 1990 honda civic and make it faster than a zr1 while being significantly less than a z06. Guess Honda beats all.

    • Or with that logic, you could buy ANY old big V8 car for couple thousand dollars, like an old cheap Mustang or camero and add 2x 92mm turbos and intercooler, and boom well over 1,000 horsepower, beat Honda for sure , hell for that much money, u could easily buy a really high end LS1 500+ci or hemi built for drag racing for less than half the price of LS1, and beat the new Corvette ( and obviously the laughable Honda, wonder why u don’t see lots of 1990 Honda drag race cars? They slow, even if u add the best Honda Motor, yep couple turbos it’ll make 1000 horsepower too, but not like V8 power, low end rpm power as well as high ,but yah Honda has few awesome high performance motors ( with turbos), but u will see the top, fastest and yes BEST OF THE BEST 1/4 mile drag racers are turbos V8s, Hemi or LS1 (really LS1 is best bang for the buck)…guess as usual American V8 power wins all, not Honda….look up the top 1/4 , 1/8mile cars, way over 90% + are V8s, Honda never beats all in the real world.

    • But it wasn’t JUST SPEED. It still outperforms any Honda on handling, corners, stopping and options like LT3 leather.

  2. I think the Z06 is the better bargain, but I’d like to also mention the fact that what we know today is that the LS7 has developed a problem dropping exhaust valves into the motor. I recall a story about GM getting a bad batch of heads with poor valve guides. Nobody likes to talk about it but it is a well known problem among the Corvette crowd. Buying a Z06 today and getting a bargain means you need to do an automatic head upgrade immediately or risk destroying the motor. I think the car is still a bargain but the cost of a head upgrade needs to be added to any C6 Z06 your considering if it hasn’t been done already.

    • Ollie????
      Are u serious? Corvettes have bad batch of heads and valve guides?
      I never heard of it, but guess it’s possible, well who cares? All u got to do is blow your motor before your warranty is up, assuming theiron replacement parts are not ” bad batch” when did this happen?? Like 2017? Or 2018? Any older year than that and I think your story is totally bogus, as they change design so often, AND GMC would notice they are losing money on warranty costs for LS7 engines, so , it’s obviously already fixed……so again, not saying it’s impossible, but it seems improbable

      • Ollie is correct. This only applies to C6 Z06 (LS7 engines). I bought a 2008 Z06, and upgraded the heads to Texas Speed 64cc heads for $1500. No more worries about dropped valves, and the new heads bumped up the compression to 11.5:1. At the same time, I did a cam upgrade and ended up with 575 rear wheel horsepower (about 675 at the flywheel) so now I have a Z06 that is faster than a stock ZR1. (Even a 2018 ZR1 due to weight!) The real issue with having that much power in a 3100 pound car, is getting the rear tires to hook, and not spin out of control.

  3. We have a 2011 z06 all black,carbon ceramic brakes,manual as our daily driver.Bought used with 7.5k miles in 2018
    Couldn’t be more pleased .To think you need a bit more performance is pretty crazy!
    For me a much less complex car that is only a little slower is a no brainer.z06 wins over zr1.
    Love it for service drive in to your Chevy dealer may not even need an appointment.
    Cross country trip? Not a second thought about reliability or service.

  4. C6 Z06 engines were not built in Kentucky. The C7 Zs were. My ’09 Z was built in Wixom, MI by Don Henley and he sent me a poster with all the engine builder names to prove it.

  5. I am going to buy a used Z06 this year 2015-2019, besides the price difference,is there any differences?? is the 2015 the same as the 2019?? thank you!!

  6. when it comes to resale .the awesome zr1 is the way to go. and how many zr1’s do you see compared to zo6 or Grand sports. I have a zr1 and love it .

  7. I have a 2015 z06 with 4300 miles and am considering 2019 zr1. Wish you can do a 2019 comparison. I’m real close in the process n am double guessing myself. Anyone have suggestions??

  8. Great article. I enjoyed reading it. I have one question… Wouldn’t you actually spend more money in parts and labor on the C6 Z06 rebuilding it’s engine to be able to reliably handle the 800 HP you mentioned? Keep in mind the C6 ZR1 has a forged bottom end and titanium connecting rods (meaning strong engine internals), while the C6 Z06 does not. The forged bottom end means it can handle more HP reliably than the C6 ZR1.

  9. The LS7 in the end is a piece of shit… It temperamental, and just because you fix the heads doesn’t mean it’s fixed forever..you still need to check them.. the sleeves are paper thin as well.. I swapped in a LS3 and Magnuson blower… Way better set up..more power and smooth driving compared to a Cammed LS7.. I don’t miss the LS7 at all


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