Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have Pratt & Miller build your very own version of the world-beating Corvette C6.R? Have you ever yearned to stick your right foot deep into a race-bred, 600hp Katech engine? If so, your dreams have come true.
The idea originated with GM Racing Marketing Manager Gary Claudio, who approached P&M early last year to see if the engineering firm would build a road-going edition of the famous ALMS race car. P&M bosses Gary Pratt and Jim Miller agreed, and the project was launched under an appropriate moniker: C6RS. To generate a little extra buzz, The Tonight Show host and all-around car nut Jay Leno was selected to receive the first copy.
Referred to by those inside P&M as "the Leno car," the top-secret prototype was finished just in time to make its world debut at the '07 SEMA show in Las Vegas. With the automotive press and the Corvette faithful focused on the upcoming '09 Blue Devil/SS/ZR1, the C6RS's surprise unveiling proved to be one of the show's biggest stories.
Built for Speed...and Comfort
From the beginning, the C6RS project was carefully thought out so as to maximize practicality as well as performance. Though passionate racers at heart, Gary Pratt and Jim Miller wanted to make sure the car offered both C6.R-quality performance and a more comfortable, luxurious driving experience than the factory Z06. Fortunately, this is just the kind of problem the New Hudson, Michigan-based firm is uniquely suited to solving.
To manage the ride issues, the car travels on an air suspension system sourced from ArvinMeritor. The C6RS sits 1.5 inches lower and is 1.6 inches wider than a standard Z06. In the Leno car, a prototype for a future series of C6RS editions, the suspension's height can be adjusted from the driver seat to accommodate the demands of street, performance, or track driving. It can even raise the ride height of the car on demand to clear a steep driveway or other obstacle. P&M has plans to take the air-suspension configuration a step further and utilize an "active" ride system that is immediately responsive to the dynamic demands of spirited driving.
To help exploit the extreme handling capabilities of the high-tech suspension system, P&M engineers provided the C6RS with proprietary, center-locking wheel hubs. A special torque wrench (with custom case) is included in the cargo area to help install the wheel nuts to a dictated 550 lb-ft of torque. Sporting peg drive (as found on any serious race car), the wheels are specially designed BBS units in a striking black-chrome finish. Some serious rubber is specified to wrap those unique rollers: Michelin Pilot Sport tires are sized 295/30ZR18 in the front and a massive 345/30ZR19 in the rear. Stopping power is provided by a special Brembo braking system featuring aluminum hats and floating discs.
Outside, the factory-issue front and rear valances, front and rear fenders, and hood were all replaced with P&M-fabricated carbon-fiber panels. Only the stock roof, doors, and door surrounds were retained. The tops of the front fenders are pierced by the same louvers found on the C6.R; for C6RS duty, the louvered sections are designed to extract hot air from the engine room. C6.R-style front-end cutouts feed air to the radiator and the front brakes. The front splitter is an exaggerated, bare-carbon-fiber blade, just like the one on the race car. Just aft of the splitter is an undertray that is aerodynamically configured to settle the airflow under the car.
Out back, the stock Reverse lights were removed and relocated as a thin strip of Led lighting running across the rear of the car, just below the license plate. This frees up the rear architecture of the C6RS for airflow passageways that evacuate air from under the car, further improving aerodynamics. The hood also received the C6.R touch, with a deep valley cut in the center to allow direct airflow to and away from the radiator. The underside of the hood is finished in glossy, bare carbon fiber. The Z06-style hoodscoop is fully functional, with ducts to feed the C6RS air plenums. Similarly, the oversized side airscoops incorporate a duct that forces cool air onto the rear brakes.