Since 1999, General Motors unleashed the Chevrolet Corvette against the world's best sports cars in an attempt to advertise its advances in performance engineering. Establishing Corvette Racing to compete chiefly in the American Le Mans Series(ALMS) with Corvette C5 and C6 architecture, development of the competition Corvettes is handled by Michigan-based engineering firm Pratt and Miller. Through Corvette Racing's 10-year history, they competed within the class known as GT1. Having first dueled with the American-made Dodge Viper, other rivalries through the years included Ferrari, Aston Martin, and briefly the Saleen S7R. For 2009, the ALMS series decided to condense the GT classes to the more populated GT2 class rule book causing Corvette Racing to refocus its efforts. Deciding that competition remains crucial to improving the Chevrolet Corvette pedigree, the Corvette C6R GT2 version came true.
Chevrolet Corvette C6R GT2 Exterior
When the Chevrolet Corvette C6R migrated away from the GT1, Corvette Racing was forced to give up the proportional liberties in order to fit the GT2 class' regulations. ALMS rules limit the new Chevrolet Corvette C6R length to remain within stock vehicle dimensions. Having to reinvent its bodywork to an aluminum hydroformed chassis, computer simulations of the base, Z06, and ZR1 Corvettes concluded that the newer ZR1 body performed the most suitable basis for the new C6R. Authentically imitating the stock Chevrolet Corvette's appearance, even the Corvette C6R GT2 car's windscreen uses production-based materials. The eye-catching yellow and black colors cover both Corvette C6Rs with only numbers or a different colored sunblocker to distinguish each other.
For competition, a rear deck wing is trusted to provide the much needed downforce to the production-based aerodynamics package. However, even the Corvette C6R's rear wing was compromised through the transition from GT1 to GT2 as the decreased surface area produces 25% less downforce than the previous C6R.
Chevrolet Corvette C6R GT2 Performance
Continuing their good fortune with the tried and true V8 engine, the GT2 version of the Chevrolet Corvette C6R has an engine displacing six liters. Sharing cylinder bore spacing, and aluminum construction, the Chevrolet Corvette C6R powerplant has little else in common with the Corvette ZR1's (most notability, there's no supercharger). As many of the downgrades are required for compliance to the GT2 class rules, the American Le Mans Series also prescribes air restrictors to insure the engine retains to about 470 horsepower.
Falling in line with initiates by General Motors and American Le Mans Series promoting environmentally conscious racing, the Chevrolet Corvette C6R GT2 car's engine power is more focused than ever on fuel efficiency and burning cleaner fuels. Inside of the Corvette C6R engine's eight combustion chambers, a racing grade E85 gasoline/ethanol blend is the vehicle's power source. Showing the performance potential of E85 inside competitive V8 engines, stock 2009 Chevrolet Corvettes have yet to offer E85 compatibility.
Stopping the Corvette C6R GT2 version is steel rotor disc brakes with ceramic composite pads.
Chevrolet Corvette C6R On Track
Weighing 2,745 pounds, the GT2 version of the Chevrolet Corvette C6R is 165 heavier than the GT1 class predecessor. At the 4 mile road course of Road America, the GT2 Corvette squad top time of 2:07.387 seconds was more than 6 seconds slower than their GT1 pole time of 2008. The new Chevrolet Corvette C6R's debuted this August at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Corvette Racing's maiden run in the ALMS GT2 class resulted with their #3 car of Johnny O'Connell and Jan Magnussen finishing second. Just three races in GT2 competition, Corvette Racing with the new C6R scored their first race victory holding off a Ferrari F430 GT to class victory in the Grand Prix of Mosport.
Beyond race finishes, the latest Corvette C6R wants to prove that their performance is achievable through superior fuel efficiency and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Called the Michelin Green X Challenge, Corvette Racing's inaugural run was greeted as the green leader of GT2.