C7.R's Debut at Daytona
The new factory Corvette racer looks competitive
For the second time in January, Corvette Racing visited the legendary Daytona International Speedway circuit. This time the team debuted its new race car without the previous camouflage. It was removed for the unveiling of the '15 Z06 at the recent Detroit auto show. The C7.R utilizes many of the new Corvette Z06 supercar styling features. The race car is compact and Pratt & Miller was very creative in packaged the racing equipment into the Corvette's sleek body. The 5.5-liter V-8 now has direct fuel injection and seemed to have plenty of power on Daytona's high-banked oval. The new Vette had excellent braking and quick exit speed out of the corners. The chassis engineers have done some quality design work on this new racer.
It was no surprise that several top GM executives were present to watch the new Corvette race. This included Mark Reuss, Global Chief of Product Development; Jim Campbell U.S. Vice President, Performance Vehicles & Motorsports; and Mark Kent, GM Racing Director.
Qualifying was very competitive and the top four cars in the GTLM class were separated by 0.261-second. This included Viper first, Porsche second, Viper third, and Corvette fourth (No. 4).
The second Corvette (No. 3) had an electrical issue and failed to qualify, causing it to start 62nd on the grid. When the green flag fell, the poor qualifying position did not seem to matter to it. By the end of the first hour it had moved up 43 positions and was closing on the GTLM leaders.
Both factory Corvette racers were able to spar with the top three cars in the GTLM class from hour 6 to hour 22. At the end, overheating and transmission problems kept both cars out of a podium position. Based on their Daytona performance Team Vette does not think it will be long until they win in GTLM.
Spirit Of Daytona Team Honors Navy Seal
Navy Seal Lt. Hector Delgado is team's guest of honor
The National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum honors a group of dedicated soldiers who have risked their lives for our country. Specifically it preserves the history of the Navy Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT) and Sea, Air, [and] Land (SEAL) teams. It is located on North Hutchinson Island, St. Lucie County, Florida (www.navysealmuseum.com). Each November, the museum holds a muster fundraiser to fund museum maintenance and the Trident House. (The Trident House helps Navy Seals and their families when they are experiencing difficulties.)
Last November, the Spirit of Daytona team brought its Corvette Daytona Prototype to the event. It wanted to help support the museum's muster ceremony, which raised more than $350,000. The team offered a VIP viewing of the Rolex 24 in their hospitality suite and garage passes to the event. Tom Price (a museum member) bid $7,000 for the package and won.
Tom passed on his winning bid to Navy Seal Lt. Hector Delgado and his family. Hector has been a Navy Seal since 1987, served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and is a member of the museum's board of directors. We caught up with him on the pre-grid before the race. He and his family were overwhelmed at being at the Rolex 24 Hour race. We, in turn, are overwhelmed for his service to our country. A big thank you goes to the Spirit of Daytona team for honoring Hector at Daytona!