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Corvette C6.R GT2 - click above for high-res image gallery

After a decade of competing with the GT1 big dogs in the American Le Mans Series and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, this weekend marks the start of a new era for Corvette Racing. The race at Mid-Ohio this Saturday (we'll be on hand live) will mark the debut of the all-new GT2 Corvette C6.R. For the last two years, the Corvettes have run without any factory competition in the ALMS GT1 class, and with GT2 being where all the action is, Chevrolet has decided the time was ripe for a change.

The original GT1 C5R debuted in 1999, and in 2005, the team transitioned to the then-new C6.R body style. Over the years, competitors like the Dodge Viper, Aston Martin DBR9 and Ferrari 575 have come and gone, but the Vettes have soldiered on to fight the good fight. After farewell races at Sebring, Long Beach and Le Mans earlier this year, the GT1 cars have been retired. Mark Kent, GM Racing manager, Doug Fehan, Corvette Racing program manager, Tadge Juechter, Corvette chief engineer, Johnny O'Connell, driver No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R all took part in a conference call today to discuss the move to GT2, and we were on the line Read all about it after the jump and check out the high-res gallery below.



[Source: General Motors]

Although GT1 remains relatively popular in European racing, GT2 has become the dominant class here in North America. GT2 cars are less powerful and closer to the production models in dimensions and powertrain configuration. The Ferrari F430 GT and Porsche 911 GT3 have dominated GT2 for the past several years, although a number of other models have been coming on strong recently. This year, factory supported BMW M3s joined the fray as did least two Ford GTs in 2008. A new Jaguar XK should be appearing before the end of the season as well.

The new GT2 car switches from bodywork derived from the roadgoing Z06 to something that looks more like a ZR1. GT2 rules prohibit some body modifications like the reshaped headlights and wider fenders that were present on the outgoing GT1. Instead. the fenders on the new GT2s are now dimensionally identical to the production ZR1. Aerodynamically, GT2 mandates a smaller front splitter and rear wing, changes that manifest themselves as less downforce.

Under the skin is where the biggest changes have taken place. The GT1 used a steel chassis modeled on the base Corvette, while the GT2 switches over to an aluminum chassis based on the production Z06/ZR1. That posed some serious technical issues for the design team in attaching the necessary steel roll cage to the aluminum. According to Corvette Racing manager Dough Fehan, the team has come up with a novel approach to the problem that should make the new car even safer in the event of a crash. Unfortunately, Fehan declined to give details today.

Many of the GT2 rules differences are aimed at lowering cost. Thus, the carbon brakes of the GT1 have given way to more traditional steel brake rotors on the GT2 car. One of the advantages of going to a more production-based platform for the drivers will be the inclusion of a power tilt and telescoping steering column. That will help drivers of different sizes get more comfortable in the car.

Propulsion for the remainder of the 2009 ALMS season comes from a downsized 6.0-liter version of the 7.0-liter V8 that has been running in the GT1 car. The bore size remains the same, with the primary change being a shorter stroke crankshaft. For 2010, some new engine rules in GT2 will mean an all-new engine for the Corvette. Come Sebring next March, the GT2 Vettes will be running a new 5.5-liter V8 based on the next-generation version of the GM small block. Unlike the GT1 engines, the engines for the new cars will be assembled on the line at the GM Performance Powertrain Center alongside the production LS9 and LSA used in the ZR1 and Cadillac CTS-V.

The Corvettes will continue to run on cellulosic ethanol as they have since early in the 2008 season. On the subject of hybrid powertrains, Fehan emphasized that GM has as much knowledge as any manufacturer in the world on the technology. He acknowledged that the team has investigated such systems for the race cars, but he wouldn't commit to any future plans.

The team retains its current partners, with Compuware as the primary sponsor and Michelin and Mobil 1 supplying tires and lubricants. The GT2 Vettes will run the remainder of the 2009 ALMS season starting this weekend at Mid-Ohio and continuing to Road America, Mosport, Petit Le Mans and Laguna Seca. Just as before, the driver lineup stays the same with Johnny O'Connell, Jan Magnussen, and Antonio Garcia in #3 and Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta, and Marcel Fassler piloting the #4 car.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 33 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Auto blog After a decade of competing with the GT1 big dogs in the. The new GT2 car replaces the outgoing GT1 car.motor trade jobs
      • 5 Years Ago
      Can't wait, it's on like Donkey Kong!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Very boss, but I sure will be happy when this black "competition" wheel fad is over. Someday, someone will wake up and realize it makes nice race cars look like they are wearing mockup wheels or something.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Anyone know where to find a schedule for when and where this class runs?
      Sounds pretty interesting.

      Do they show the races on tv?
        • 5 Years Ago
        You're kidding, right? Check the American Lemans Series website.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Now that's a proper sports car!

      I wish them luck and hope they can be competitive. Maybe even win. From what I see it looks like a winner.
      • 5 Years Ago
      aah... Corvette there is no substitute... The only American gas powered car left worthwhile. Give em hell boys.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Finally the first worst kept secret in the paddock finally make a debut and I say nanananana to all the naysayers that said GM financial woes would sink the program. The GT2 program was bought and paid for already when the rumor they were leaving GT2 last year (which was expected two years ago...).

      We're missing Rocketsports' Jag project which was set to debt this weekend as well, but has been pushed back?

      Anyway I expect a cracker of a race in GT2 were the action is anyway, EVEN when the LMP1's and LMP2 were battling it out.

      GM like Audi screamed "We Want Competition", well you got it brother, you see the new Ferrari F458 (There's already a GT2 mule of it)??? You think BMW will laugh this off after dropping their ultra expensive F1 program??? Porsche with its house of cards realigned and a re-newed focus????

      The last 5 races of the season and with The Lizards enjoying a good lead in the GT2 Championship, it just got a whole bunch more interesting...



        • 5 Years Ago
        Given the difference in redlines, at 5.5L a pushrod motor could still be at a disadvantage.

        Every series understands the difference in specific output between a pushrod motor and an OHC one. You should study up on it too.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't get your response at all. Why do you speak of how difficult it is to balance different technologies while simultaneously pushing for a change to the rules that would make them even less balanced?
        • 5 Years Ago
        i know pushrod engines can't rev very high, but they still produce more torque due to sheer size. even with air restrictors , it's very hard to balance the different types of engines. some will always have an advantage , like the diesels have now in Le Mans.
        • 5 Years Ago
        the GT2 regulations for 2010 are unclear , the engine capacity limit is 5L , but Corvette will have 5.5L engines. why not make it like in F1 , specify a clear displacement limit so that it would be fair for all competitors ? a 5.5L F458 GT2 or 911 RSR would have at least 600-650 hp.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I just wish they had debuted at Lime Rock. would have been awesome to hear the vettes ripping by.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, they were great, I think you were right up the track from us, we were directly under the giant tree, gave us shade for the day until around 4 in the afternoon. I was about 2 feet to the left of its trunk. It was an amazing place to sit, when the cars did their jaunt up the hill the side pipes were pointed directly at us. The IMSA lites were nice and loud for us.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You sat against the fence? Were you the guy with those two folding chairs? I was standing right at that corner for at least half of the race.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Was always scheduled to be Mid Ohio. More GM suits closer to Mid Ohio than CT

        BTW... I like the Eddie Van Halen livery. He ROCKS & so does the Vette
        • 5 Years Ago
        Agreed. The Panoz sounded like a friggin' hot rod, and the Ford GT was so cool sounding too. The Ferrari sounded like an angry buzz saw gargling bees (sorry Clarkson, it fits). Plus to have all of the sound held in by the mountains. Its a great track for that.

        I sat right up against the fence on the chicane prior to the uphill. Saw a lot of action back there.
        • 5 Years Ago
        yeah here is a vid, were were right under a tree also. I don't think you'll be able to watch it though unless you have facebook. Should have uploaded it to youtube, oh well.

        http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1087244867342&saved
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, me and my friend were in the folding chairs with the cooler full of beer. We camped so we went over there shortly after breakfast to set up. From watching the qualifying rounds and practices it was easy to see that that was the place to be to watch the race.
      • 5 Years Ago
      damn as a vette guy i soooo cant wait to see this it would be great if they actually win this weekend doubtful,new class first race, but if they did!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Even larger res pics please! I need 1920x1200 on my work computer
      • 5 Years Ago
      Guess I'll be seeing these tear up Road Atlanta in September. If any autoblogers will be at the race come find the 1988 Winnebago Itasca up at turn 2 and 3. I'm sure we'll have beer to go around.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Watching the C6.R GT2s duel it out with Ferrari, Porsche, Panoz, Ford, and Aston Martin this Saturday at Mid-Ohio. Damn it's gonna be a good race!! : )
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