Corvette Racing’s second-generation C6.R will be powered by a new 5.5-liter production-based V8, to compete in the new unified GT class in the 2010 American Le Mans Series, Chevrolet said today.
Corvette C6.R will also compete in the GT2 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The updated C6.R and the Corvette ZR1 – starting at $107,000 – have a strongest link thus far between the Corvette Racing team and production Corvette. (Well, at least in recent times. ) Both cars will compete on and off the track with more expensive showroom competitors, including Aston Martins, BMWs, Porsches and Ferraris.
Corvette, of course, has a long history of production-based endurance racing, making its first appearance at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1956, and its first appearance at Le Mans in 1960. (Click Here)
Then Corvette chief engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov used the racing program to improve the production Corvette, including the development of heavy-duty and high-performance components, as well as the introduction of the race-bred Z06 option on the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray, which remains a favorite among collectors.
The transfer of technology between racing and production cars resumed with the start of the modern Corvette Racing program in 1999.
Tadge Juechter, the current Corvette chief engineer says, “Simply put, without Corvette Racing, there would not be a Corvette Z06, much less the ZR1. And, without the foundation of the Corvette C6, Z06 and ZR1, the Corvette Racing team would not be the dominant presence in production-based racing.”
C5-R and Corvette Street performance
Corvette raced the C5-R from 1999 through the end of the 2004 season. The first-generation car scored 35 victories in 55 races, won its class at the 12 Hours of Sebring three consecutive years, posted three 1-2 finishes in the GTS class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and earned four consecutive ALMS manufacturers championships for Chevrolet.
It also served as a catalyst for Corvette performance. In 1999, the fifth-generation Corvette C5 produced 345 horsepower from its 5.7-liter V8. Marketing claimed, with some substance in the instance, that it used powertrain technologies developed for the C5R.
Corvette reintroduced the Z06 moniker in 2001, with a 385 horsepower 5.7-liter V8 engine. Current versions start at $75,000.
In addition, it is said, that the C5-R helped shape the sixth-generation Corvette, introduced for the 2005 model year. Corvette Racing’s influence could be seen in the C6 Corvette design, which featured flush headlights for better aerodynamics; a single, large grille opening for the engine air intake, radiator, and brake cooling; a lower coefficient of drag; and a relatively light 3,179-pound curb weight. (more…)