Insight: The Car Bringing Corvette Racing into New Territory
Delving into the “ground-up” development of the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.R that will usher the brand into GT3 customer racing…
Corvette Racing is entering new territory. The sports car racing arm of General Motors brand Chevrolet has for decades focused on competing in GT races with an in-house team, pooling its resources into minimal car numbers for maximum reward.
A smattering of privateers got their hands on Corvettes over the years, but GM’s priority was always the performance of its Pratt Miller Engineering-run factory squad. That approach is now changing at the arrival of the customer-focused Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.R.
With the FIA World Endurance Championship following the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in replacing GTE with GT3 next year, Corvette Racing had no choice but to join the latter platform.
The Z06 GT3.R – Chevrolet’s first model designed for GT3 -- supersedes the GTE-spec Corvette C8.R. It is based on this year’s Z06 road car, the performance version of the C8 Stingray. The Z06 GT3.R is from the same bloodline as the C8.R, sharing a chassis and the LT6 engine platform, but it was developed from the “ground-up” according to GM’s assistant sports car racing program manager Christie Bagne.
“Having a great race car starts with having a great road car, and we have that in the Z06,” she says. “We homologated this car to the Z06. The current [GTE] car was homologated to the Stingray.
“It's easier to get in and out of this car: it’s been optimized for a wider range of drivers. The GT3 has a little more space for ingress and egress. We’ve gone through the entire car and looked at hardware accessibility. It’s easier to get the engine in and out, the damper adjustment is more accessible, and the bodywork is easier to get on and off.
“The radiator is attached to the frame, as opposed to coming off with the nose. There are a lot of different ways the car is going to be easier to work on than the C8.R and mechanics are really going to appreciate that.”