Corvette Z06 GT3.R Breaks Cover in Daytona at Rolex 24
At a price of $735,000, the company plans to have four cars in the IMSA WeatherTech series next year.
The typical pattern is for manufacturers to race at least one of its GT3 cars in the GTD Pro ranks and to sell other chassis to competitors in GTD.
The new car is a ground-up project built by Corvette’s engine builders and production engineers.
The Corvette Z06 GT3.R destined to become Chevrolet’s flagship customer car in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship was unveiled on Friday at Daytona Beach, Florida, prior to the Rolex 24.
At a price of $735,000, the company plans to have four cars in the series next year, but remained mum on who would race the GT3.R or if the relationship with Pratt & Miller at Corvette Racing, currently campaigning a C8.R GTD in the GTD Pro series, will continue. The typical pattern is for manufacturers to race at least one of its GT3 cars in the GTD Pro ranks and to sell other chassis to competitors in GTD. Pratt & Miller continue as the primary testing, research and development team on the new car.
Two Corvettes will be built for the World Endurance Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where Corvette will have one C8.R GT3 this year under the rules requiring at least one bronze driver in the lineup.
FIA rules require a minimum of 20 cars to be eligible for GT3. Christie Bagne, program manager for the Z06 GT3.R, left open the possibility that private investors may also be able to purchase the racing version of this year’s Corvette Z06.
In line with other manufacturers building customer cars to the FIA’s GT3 rules, the emphasis for the new racing Corvette is on making its performance bandwidth wide enough to accommodate gentlemen drivers, good balance for endurance events by positioning the engine lower in the frame and ease of race weekend preparation and maintenance.
The new car is a ground-up project built by Corvette’s engine builders and production engineers, who are responsible for the aluminum frame, and Pratt & Miller, which fabricated the extensive carbon fiber elements. The bodywork modifications to the street Z06 primarily reflect cooling needs integrated with Corvette’s street car design.
The engine for the race car is based on the LT6 engine in the Z06 with the key differences resulting from lowering the engine in the frame. Those changes include a unique sump and front cover castings, oil scavenge pump, oil cooler and plumbing, etc. Current GT3 rules call for 525 horsepower limited by air restrictors—less horsepower than the street cars. The GT3 rules ban the use of ABS and have standard cooling requirements.
What does a buyer get for its hefty purchase price? “There will be support provided to our customer race teams at the track as well as at home between races,” said Bagne.
Other key technical points on the GT3.R
• CFD was used with a 45% scale model for the aero concepts.
• The aluminum chassis frame is built at the Bowling Green Assembly Plant.
• Unlike its predecessor, the roll cage is integrated into the aluminum frame chassis on the GT3.R.
• The engine redline is 7400 rpm, which is unchanged, but the shift point is higher – 6,800 vs. 6,300.
• Ingress/egress has been improved.