Before we proceed, we'd like to remember you that Corvette engineer Tadge Juechter was pretty adamant that Chevrolet is not working on a ZR1 version of the C7 generation, but then again, that was two and a half years ago.
Meanwhile, it looks like GM has changed its mind and we have plenty of reasons to believe that the Corvette C7 swan song will be a new ZR1 - these spy photos do their best to convince us.
Although this pre-preproduction prototype doesn't sport the famed blue calipers that were made famous by the Corvette ZR1 C6 and were also present on the previously spied car, to does seem to feature a lot of track-ready modifications.
The most obvious are the two winglets on the rear deck, which actually appear to be supports for a giant rear wing. Why do we say “giant,” you ask? Well, if you look closely, the actual wing seems to have been taken off and stored over the passenger seat, since the prototype was about to be shipped using a truck and it probably wouldn't have fit with the wing on.
Through the rather extensive front camouflage, we can also check out an extra pair of large vents, which seem to suggest that their purpose is to feed fresh air to a pair of intercoolers. That said, and since intercoolers in tandem usually translate to “twin-turbocharged,” we wouldn't be surprised if the mysterious LT5 twin-turbo V8 may make its first appearance on the 2018 ZR1, before being moved midship for the upcoming mid-engine model, the Zora.
This is all speculation, by the way, since there are also rumors that the current Corvette Z06 will get some updates regarding cooling for the 2018 model year. Still, all the design changes featured by this pre-production prototype seem a bit excessive for it to be just a facelifted Z06.
Even the doors and the upper part of the B-pillar seem to be made out of Kevlar or carbon fiber, something that the Z06 doesn't currently feature. We will probably know more in a few months when less camouflaged prototypes start public testing.