(from GM Press
Release) The brand-new Corvette C6-R
race car will debut at the 12 Hours of Sebring in March 2005 after a
full year of rigorous testing and development. The two-car,
factory-backed Chevrolet sports car program will compete in the
production-based GT1 class (formerly GTS) of American Le Mans Series
as well as the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans in France, a race where
the Corvette has won its class for three out of the past four years.
The new race car is the most technically advanced sports car ever
developed by General Motors, culling years of experience from the
dominant Corvette C5-R as well as the advancements brought forth
from the next-generation Corvette C6 and Z06 production models.
“The Corvette C6-R is the best sports car we’ve ever built and it
has been our privilege to develop it alongside the new Corvette
Z06,” said Harry Turner , GM’s group manager for road racing.
“History will remember the C5-R as one of the best sports racing
cars of all-time and we’ve set the bar high for the C6-R. With the
new C6 chassis and body structure as our starting point, we’re
already ahead. We left no stone unturned in the development of this
new car and we are looking forward to racing it in front of the
world in 2005.”
Like the C5-R before it, the Corvette C6-R starts from production
roots: the same hydroformed frame rails that roll down the assembly
line at the Corvette plant in Bowling Green , Kentucky are sourced
for the structure of the race car. With the new C6 production model
measuring shorter in overall length (but with a longer wheelbase),
race car engineers faced a new set of numbers in which to achieve
their goals to make the car faster on the 180-mph Mulsanne Straight
at Le Mans and other high-speed circuits.
“At first glance, the shortened front and rear overhangs on the C6
would seem to present a challenge in developing a racecar with
maximum aerodynamic downforce,” said Steve Wesoloski , program
engineering manager for Corvette Racing. “However, the low drag
features on the C6, such as the sleek body and flush headlamps, lend
themselves to an easy task of converting the production design into
a low-drag race car.”
Adding a rear wing and a front splitter enabled the team to develop
a package that achieves a lift-to-drag ratio better than that of the
C5-R. Through a combination of Computational Fluid Dynamic studies
and on-track testing, the end result will be an aerodynamically
balanced package, tunable to the low drag demands of Le Mans or the
high downforce requirements of Mosport.
The phrase “technology transfer” has never been more appropriate
than when used to describe the matched set of Corvette C6-R and
Corvette Z06. Lessons learned on the track have benefited the Z06,
just as GM’s vast resources have enriched the C6-R race car. Both
cars are powered by 7-liter small-block V-8 engines with dry-sump
lubrication systems, CNC-ported cylinder heads, titanium valves and
connecting rods, forged steel crankshafts, and plate-honed cylinder
bores. While the components and specifications of the street and
competition engines are tailored to their specific environments, the
thought process behind them is identical.
The same six drivers that piloted the C5-Rs to an historical
undefeated season in 2004 will return to the track in 2005: Ron
Fellows, Johnny O’Connell and Max Papis will drive the #3 Corvette
C6-R and Oliver Gavin , Olivier Beretta and Jan Magnussen will drive
the #4 Corvette C6-R.