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Click the Corvette for a high res gallery from the Detroit Sports Car Challenge

As the 2008 American Le Mans Series season winds down with only two races left, teams are starting to make announcements about the 2009 season. One of the question marks over the last several years has been the future of the Corvette Racing program. With no really competition to speak of, one has to wonder why GM stays in the GT1 ranks. This year, they switched fuels and now run on cellulosic ethanol. Today, the team announced that 2009 will be a transition season as the GT1 C6Rs continue in limited competition. The GT1 cars will run at Sebring and Long Beach before going for a sixth class victory at Le Mans. After Le Mans, a new GT2 Corvette will debut running the rest of the season in preparation for 2010. New international GT class rules take effect in 2010 and are closer to current GT2 rules.

The new C6R will be based on the body and chassis of the ZR1 and cars will be run by the factory team, as well as being available to independent teams. A 6.0-liter version of the LS7.R from the GT1 car will be used in GT2 competition next year, while the 2010 car gets a new 5.5-liter version of the production engine. Like the current GT1 car, the new GT will keep running on cellulosic E85.

[Source: American Le Mans Series]
Photos Copyright ©2008 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      The DBR9 is great competition. But only one DBR9 is running in ALMS this year. These privateers have not shown the speed to compete against the Corvettes. The factory Prodrive DBR9s are probably not going to return to ALMS next year.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This was exactly what I thought would happen. I'm very glad they will be back. But I hope they will not be so restricted with the smaller engines under the new rules. They very much outclassed everyone else so no one wll be sympathetic. And the new rules are leading to a world sportscar championship for FIA rules in 2010. This will be better for the fans of all the brands.
        • 6 Years Ago
        And almost more importantly, bring down the cost of homologation if constructors only have to build one race version and could use it worldwide.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This couldn't be better news for Corvette Racing, but more importantly is what this move will do for the next generation C7 Corvette.

      Corvette Racing is the on-track testing platform for the newest technologies. The Z06's LS7 505 hp V8, carbon fiber body panels and ceramic brakes were all tested on the C6.Rs before being incorporated on production C6 Corvettes.

      Racing a production based C6 Corvette with a smaller engine displacement will ensure that the two major goals of weight reduction and fuel efficiency will be tried and tested in time for 2012 when the new Corvette is expected.
      • 6 Years Ago
      They can do good at LeMans, yet fail at Super GT?!?! Typical.
        • 6 Years Ago
        From what I understand about the FIA/ACO GT1 regulation changes for 2010 is that GT1 cars will actually resemble the GT500 cars (looser regulations regarding aero and body shape modifications, I.E. widebody) and Corvette is not interested in competing under those conditions. They prefer to run in a stricter GT format, which GT2 would be.

        SuperGT regs are written to provide competitive racing (with the ballast penalty system, etc) with the infusion of super high-tech. Maybe ACO's vision is as follows:

        LMP1: coupe/open cockpit high-tech and/or experimental manufacturer entries

        LMP2: open cockpit lower tech (lower cost) privateer entries

        GT1: high downforce, high-tech almost-GTP loosely production manufacturer entries

        GT2: truly production-based grand touring for both manufacturer and privateer.

        There currently isn't quite enough distinction between GT1 and GT2 anyway why not collapse them together and make room for more high-tech stuff? Following Corvette's great success, maybe Shyla is asking why won't they race the new GT1 (superGT) class?

        It's because Corvette Racing thinks GT500 cars look stupid, and would rather ease up on speed and run with the other guys like Porsche and Ferrari.

        As for me, I think a would sports car formula for the GT1 class would do wonders for ALMS as well as FIAGT.

        And if those yellow 'vettes move completely down to GT2, I'll still watch them.
      • 6 Years Ago
      There needs to be more cars in GT1.
        • 6 Years Ago
        There were plenty of cars in GT-1 in Europe. Several Maserati MC-12's, several Saleen S7's, many DBR9's, Murcielago's, and Ferrari 575's, and Ford GT is moving up to GT-1 next year. They chose not to run in ALMS because they were uncompetitive against Corvette Racing.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Let the LSX domination continue :)