Next-Generation Corvette Race Car Revealed
Corvette Racing opened a new chapter in its history with the competition debut of the next-generation Corvette C6.R at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 6-8, 2009. Based on the Corvette ZR1 supercar, the new Corvette C6.R has even stronger links to the production Corvette than its predecessors and utilizes the ZR1's body design, aerodynamic package, aluminum frame and chassis structure, steering system, windshield, and other components.
In anticipation of a single GT class in 2010, Corvette Racing will test and develop the new Corvette C6.R in the GT2 category in the final rounds of the 2009 American Le Mans Series and will compete against rivals representing Ferrari, Porsche, BMW, Aston Martin, Jaguar, Viper, Panoz, and Ford. "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," said Mark Kent, GM Racing manager. "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."
The upcoming GT regulations require a comprehensive redesign of the Corvette C6.R package. In place of the GT1 Corvette's steel frame, the GT2 version utilizes the production ZR1's hydro-formed aluminum frame as the foundation for a fully integrated tubular-steel safety cage. The GT1 version's wide, louvered fenders are replaced by production-based ZR1 fenders with wheel flares. In accordance with the aerodynamic regulations, the rear wing is reduced 25 percent in width, the diffuser is a flat panel without fences or strakes, and the splitter extends only as far as its production ZR1 counterpart. Steel brake rotors have replaced the carbon discs used previously, and the wheels are aluminum instead of magnesium. The adjustable steering column and steering rack are sourced from the street Corvette.
In the remaining races in 2009, the Corvette race cars will be powered by 6.0-liter GM small-block V-8s that are based on the 7.0-liter LS7.R that powered the GT1 version. This reduction in displacement was achieved by shortening the crankshaft stroke from 3.875-inch to 3.32-inch. The diameter of the series-mandated intake air restrictors was decreased from 30.6 mm to 28.6 mm, with a corresponding reduction in engine output from 590 to 470 horsepower. A 5.5-liter production-based GM small-block V-8 is currently under development and will be introduced at the start of the 2010 season.
'09 Corvette Production Totals Announced
VETTE has learned the final production totals for the '09 Corvette, including models, exterior and interior colors, and transmissions. Despite a truncated build schedule, a total of 1,415 ZR1s were produced, accounting for over $141 million of sales. Black was the most popular Corvette color this year, while Ebony was the overwhelming choice for interior trim.
2010 Production Begins With Grand Sport
The Corvette's 2010 model-year regular production officially began on July 27, 2009, but the very first '10 rolled off the assembly line in April. The model? An Arctic White Grand Sport replete with an LS3 engine and a T6060 six-speed manual trans. This special VIN #1 Corvette will not be released for public sale and is currently in the GM Heritage Collection.
Chevrolet also produced a one-off Grand Sport [shown here] that was raffled on September 6, 2009, as part of the National Corvette Museum's 15th Anniversary celebration. Its custom exterior featured a unique Black Jake stripe encompassed by a red stripe, matching red fender striping, and a National Corvette Museum logo on the B-pillar.
"This special one-off NCM Corvette Grand Sport coupe was created and inspired by the hard work and dedication of the people who work at the National Corvette Museum," said Kirk Bennion, Corvette Designer. "The chosen colors of white, black, and red were based on the NCM logo. The stripe design embodies the true 'passion for competition' that the Museum has for Corvette's long racing heritage. The Corvette Museum not only displays Corvette's history but is also dedicated to presenting Corvette's latest offerings. This is why we chose the new-for-2010 Corvette Grand Sport for NCM's 15th Anniversary."
Teeters Releases Grand Sport Prints
VETTE columnist K. Scott Teeters is offering something new for Corvette fans, just in time for the holidays. Teeters' "Grand Sport Corvettes" print features six illustrations of these legendary models, including the '63, '96, and '10 editions, plus each car's unique badge. Four print sizes are offered: 11x17, 14x22, 19x29, and 26x40. Prices start at $99.95, plus $5.95 for shipping and handling. The 11x17 print is sized so that it fits perfectly into a standard 16x20 mat opening, making framing easy.
Each vibrant gicle print is made on Summerset Watercolor Paper, and is signed and numbered by the artist in a series of 500. Specific-number prints are available. More Grand Sports prints are in the works.
To order, go to www.illustratedcorvetteseries.com/Tribute_Grand-Sport_Corvette.html or call (800) 858-6670.
Remembering The Sunray '68
Dana Forrester has released the latest in his series of Corvette prints, all of which are based upon original watercolor paintings. "Before the Start" celebrates the '68 model that won its class and placed Sixth overall at that year's 12 Hours of Sebring. Says Forrester, "I wanted to create the pit area prior to the race and used actual black-and-white photos of those pits from 1968."
The limited-edition gicle prints are available in four sizes, ranging from 11x17 to 26x40 inches. Prices run from $100 to $500. For more information, visit www.danaforrester.com.
Michelin Releases Z06 Replacement Tire
Michelin recently rounded out its Corvette tire offerings by unveiling a Pilot Sport 2 Zero Pressure model for the C6 Z06. "Drivers of the ultra-high-performance Z06 demand the very best tire for their car, and the PS2 ZP meets that need," said Nicolas Goubert, Michelin brand category manager.
Available in P275/35ZR18 and P325/30ZR19 sizes, the new tire's design mirrors that of the PS2 ZP that debuted as standard equipment on the '09 ZR1. It includes two tire compounds to maximize both wet and dry handling conditions, while its Variable Contact Patch (VCP) technology is said to reduce impact harshness for a smoother ride. The asymmetric tread design presents large outer shoulder blocks and continuous intermediate and center ribs to enhance steering response and cornering stability. Expect to pay 10-15 percent more for the Michelin than you would for an OE-replacement Goodyear.
Look for more information on the PS2 ZP Z06 in an upcoming issue. -Walt Thurn