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Will the Corvette ZR1 return?

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(Read caption) The General Motors logo at the company's world headquarters in Detroit (May 16, 2014).

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General Motors Company [NYSE:GM] on May 16 trademarked the ZR1 name with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, supporting rumors the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 is set for a return.

GM applies the ZR1 name to its most extreme Corvettes (ZR-1 for earlier generations) and so far has used it on the C3, C4 and C6 generations.

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The last ZR1 was launched for the 2009 model year and was powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 delivering 638 horsepower and 604 pound-feet of torque.

Recently, it's been reported GM will send off the current C7 Corvette with a model positioned above the Z06.  This model is said to be bowing at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show... perhaps badged a ZR1.

There could be even more significance to this car than just its name, though. It may just end up as the last front-engined Corvette because the C8 generation is thought to be switching to a mid-engined layout.

Note, the recent trademark filing alternatively could simply be a way for GM to protect a storied name. An earlier trademark filing for ZR1 had expired in 2001.

This article first appeared at MotorAuthority.