The Corvette wouldn’t have become the global icon it is if it weren’t for its racing exploits. It was only natural then that the C7 Corvette Stingray spawned a racing version and that’s where the Corvette C7.R comes in.
Just like the Z06, the new C7.R features an aluminum frame that is 40 percent stiffer than the outgoing C6.R. The new racing Vette features a direct-injected naturally aspirated 5.5-liter V8 engine carried over from the C6.R, as the GT rules limit the maximum displacement to 5.5-liters and prohibit forced induction.
Another difference from the Z06 is the suspension, which is modified to accommodate wider racing tires and larger brakes, again part of the GT regulations. Aerodynamically, the Corvette C7.R and Z06 feature similar front splitters, rocker panels, and front- and rear-brake cooling ducts. The race car also features a larger rear wing and a larger radiator inlet that improves the aerodynamic balance.
Additionally, the C7.R ditches the NACA (U.S. National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) ducts, replacing them with openings on each of the rear quarter panels, above the brake ducts, meant to draw air to help cool the race car’s transaxle and differential.
The C7.R will debut on January 25 at the 52nd Rolex 24 At Daytona, the inaugural round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, a new series resulted after the merger of the American Le Mans Series and GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series. Corvette Racing will field two cars at the event, with the C7.R to compete in the GT Le Mans class. The factory team is also expected to compete in June at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the GTE Pro class.
By Dan Mihalascu