Corvette Racing was present at the American Le Mans Series GT1, and now enters on the GT2 Class zone with a new, amazing Corvette C6.R. This weekend it will have its competition launch at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
So, Corvette C6.R and Corvette Racing will compete with Porsche, Ferrari, BMW, Ford, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Viper and Panoz. 'Weâ€™re not running for a championship this year, so weâ€™re looking at the upcoming races as preparation for 2010' affirmed Gary Pratt - team manager. 'Certainly we hope to achieve the same level of success that we did in GT1, but the caliber of the competition we will face in GT2 is very high. When we started in GT1 in 1999, it took a while to win; now we have 10 years of experience that should help us to become competitive in a new category. Everyone at Corvette Racing is looking forward to the challenge'.
Corvette C6.R, this year, on the remaining races... the will run with a GM V8 small-block 6.0L. A GM production-based 5.5L V8 small-block will come soon, debuting at the beginning of the upcoming year season. 'One of the many benefits of the Corvette Racing program has been the opportunity to demonstrate the technology transfer between the race car and the production car' stated GM Racing manager - Mark Kent. 'The global movement toward a single GT class will allow us to compete head-to-head with more marketplace competitors while increasing both the production content of the Corvette C6.R race cars and the relevance of racing to our customers. This is a step that positions Corvette for the future of production-based sports car racing worldwide, and a move that is perfectly aligned with GMâ€™s marketing and business objectives in racing'.
Previous Corvette C5-R, C6.R versions racing vehicles have dominated this past decade the GT1 and GTS categories, winning 77 times and 8 ALMS championships consecutively. The GT1 Corvette units were retired after the 6th victory of Corvette Racing this year on June 14 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. 'In our decade in GT1, our primary focus has been on racing victories and the validation of the Corvette as a world-class sports car' affirmed Tadge Juechter, the Corvette chief engineer. 'As an authentic way to communicate to knowledgeable customers, nothing beats racing. As a cost-effective means to improve vehicle performance, nothing beats racing. These are the reasons racing is in Corvetteâ€™s DNA. Behind the scenes, the race team and the production car team have grown closer together, finding numerous ways to support each other and to make both cars better. Most automotive companies give lip service to claims like â€˜racing improves the breedâ€™ or â€˜race on Sunday, sell on Mondayâ€™. For team Corvette, it is a daily reality. It is now impossible to imagine one team without the other'.
'Integrating a steel safety cage that meets GM Racingâ€™s stringent standards as well as the strength and durability targets required in racing is a challenge with an aluminum frame' said Doug Louth - Corvette Racing engineering director. 'Working in conjunction with the structure and chassis engineers in the Corvette production group, we designed, built and tested numerous examples before we finalized the configuration. We went through a similar process with the production Corvette group on the body design and aero components. It was truly a collaborative effort between the production engineers and the race team'.
'Compuware leads the world in application performance solutions, and partnering with Corvette Racing gives us another high-tech, high-performance and high-impact platform for communicating to our customers and prospects' said Peter Karmanos, Jr. - Compuware Chairman and CEO. 'The launch of the Corvette C6.R in GT2 is a great extension to our relationship with General Motors, Chevy and Corvette. We look forward to even more victories in the months ahead'.
'The Corvette Racing team had to take on several challenges simultaneously to execute this program' stated the Corvette Racing program manager - Doug Fehan. 'We were preparing for our regular race season with the GT1 cars while designing the GT2 version. The cars were being built and tested in the midst of our preparations for Le Mans. The team was multi-tasking to the extreme, operating on a leaner budget and a faster timeline. It was a monumental effort to have these cars ready for the Mid-Ohio race'.
Advanced tech tools made Corvette Racing able to meet all the challenges. 'With the short development schedule, we relied on â€˜virtualâ€™ design and computer simulation more than ever before' said Gary Pratt - team manager. 'We made design, engineering and manufacturing simultaneous processes as much as possible. For example, while the first chassis was being built, we continued to run computer simulations on suspension geometry and refined the aerodynamics using CFD (computational fluid dynamics) because these areas didnâ€™t have to be finalized until later in the production timeline. We have developed the capabilities to do finite element analysis and composite fabrication in-house, which has accelerated our design and production cycle'.
'Weâ€™re not running for a championship this year, so weâ€™re looking at the upcoming races as preparation for 2010' said Pratt. 'Our only testing from this point on will be at the races, and weâ€™ll be doing it in the public eye. Certainly we hope to achieve the same level of success that we did in GT1, but the caliber of the competition we will face in GT2 is very high. When we started in GT1 in 1999, it took a while to win; now we have 10 years of experience that should help us to become competitive in a new category. Everyone at Corvette Racing is looking forward to the challenge'.
Fehan's cautious, yet confident... about the prospects of Corvette Racing on the GT2 category: 'In the limited testing weâ€™ve done so far, weâ€™ve been very impressed with the carâ€™s durability, reliability and performance. Weâ€™ll continue to focus on those three factors in the upcoming races. We view the rest of this year as a development cycle, and we believe that our experience as a team in preparation, race strategy, and pit stop execution should allow us to be competitive even if there is a slight performance disparity'.
The Corvette C6.R GT2 variants will debut in Lexington, Ohio, at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on the Acura Sports Car Challenge. The 2-hour, 45-min race will start on August 8, Saturday, at 3 p.m. EDT. You can see it on ABC television tape-delayed on August 9, Sunday, at 2:30 p.m. EDT. Enjoy!
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