Hennessey is showing that they can indeed make a powerful vehicle upgrade with high efficiency and still get over 1,000 horsepower. It’s all thanks to the HPE1200 Chevrolet Corvette.
There are few vehicles that have over 1,000 horsepower. Bugattis such as the Veyron and Chiron are one, as are Koenigseggs like the Jesko and Regera.
And then there’s Hennessey. The Texas-based tuner regularly produces vehicles with over 1,000 horsepower, such as the Demon-fighting Exorcist, the speeding locomotive-fighting Jeep Trackhawk, and the upcoming Venom F5 hypercar.
There’s also an available upgrade for the outgoing Corvette ZR1. What once started with 755 horsepower and 715 lb-ft of torque instead now boasts 1,200 crank horsepower and 1,066 lb-ft of torque, according to Hennessey’s website.
But a new video reveals the HPE1200 Corvette ZR1 has almost as many horses at the rear wheels as it does at the crank. The latest dyno test video from a recent customer shows that the rear wheels are actually making 1,139 horsepower and 994 lb-ft of torque. That means just over 5% of the power produced is lost to the drivetrain--an incredible efficiency number, especially for Hennessey.
Getting the ZR1’s engine to make 1,139 rear-wheel horsepower involved a lot of work, including a ported factory supercharger and cylinder heads, upgraded high-flow throttle body, upper and lower pulley assemblies, custom HPE camshaft, new intake and exhaust valves, upgraded lifters and pushrods, long-tube stainless steel headers and mid pipes, and a new high-flow catalytic converter.
The 8-speed automatic transmission also needs to be strengthened, although the available 7-speed manual needs no such strengthening. We’re not sure how that’s possible, given the ludicrous amounts of power that such a transmission would need to handle.
Hennessey notes that this sort of power does require racing fuel, with premium 93 octane only producing roughly 1,100 horsepower. We should also note that the Corvette’s rear wheels are woefully inadequate to handle all that power, so it would take an extremely skilled driver to launch from a standstill without squealing its tires into smokey ribbons.
But there is something magical about having that much power at your fingertips.