When the United SportsCar Championship kicks off at the end of the month with the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the grid will be packed with European machinery from Aston Martin, Porsche, Ferrari and more. And that's just in the GTLM class. But the contest American racing fans are likely to be watching most closely will be the showdown between the next-generation SRT Viper and Chevrolet Corvette racecars. We've already seen the Viper GTS-R which Chrysler's SRT Motorsports will be fielding in the series, but Chevrolet has just lifted the veil on the new Corvette C7.R here at the Detroit Auto Show.

The racing version of the Stingray, the C7.R was developed alongside the new Z06. It's based on a new aluminum frame that's 40-percent stronger than the C6.R it replaces, with a 5.5-liter V8 of unspecified output mounted up front routing power through a rear-mounted transmission. Though the engine (whose displacement is limited by racing regulations) is carried over from the C6.R, it now features direct injection for the first time, giving the C7.R more power, more precise throttle control and three-percent better fuel economy, an important development in endurance racing, where a single pitstop can be the difference between a race won or lost.

Aerodynamic enhancements include a forward-titled radiator, ventilation in the hood and front quarter panels, an aggressive front splitter and a giant rear wing. The Corvette racing team, however, has done away with the NACA ducts used on previous versions in favor of ducts in the rear quarter panels to cool the transaxle and differential.

As menacing as it looks here on the show floor, we'll be looking forward to seeing a pair of new C7.Rs tangle with the competition – the Viper in particular – when the Rolex 24 kicks off on January 23, not to mention the rest of the United SportsCar Championship season and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the landmark race which previous racing Corvettes have won seven times. Scope out our images in the gallery above and the video and press release below for a closer look.
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New Corvette C7.R Shares Tech with New Z06
2014-01-13

- Co-developed with 2015 Corvette Z06, sharing chassis, engine technologies and aerodynamics strategy
- Makes competition debut Jan. 25 at the 52nd Rolex 24 At Daytona
- Continues legacy of Corvette Racing, which includes 90 global victories and 10 manufacturer championships since 1999

DETROIT – Chevrolet today unveiled the Corvette C7.R race car, which was co-developed with the all-new 2015 Corvette Z06. They represent the closest link in modern times between Corvettes built for racing and the road, sharing unprecedented levels of engineering and components including chassis architecture, engine technologies and aerodynamic strategies.

"When it comes to endurance racing, Corvette has been the benchmark of success for nearly 15 years," said Jim Campbell, U.S. vice president, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. "A great deal of the team's success can be attributed to the symbiotic relationship between Corvette Racing and the production vehicles. The 2015 Corvette Z06 and new C7.R will be more competitive on the street and track due to successful design of the Corvette Stingray – which itself is heavily based on the C6.R race car."

Corvette Racing will field two C7.R race cars in 2014, starting later this month at the 52nd Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 25-26. The race kicks off the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship – a new series debuting this year after the merger of the American Le Mans Series and GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series. The C7.R will compete in the GT Le Mans class in 11 races around North America.

The team is also is expected to compete in June at the 24 Hours of Le Mans – a race Chevrolet and Corvette Racing have won seven times – in the GTE Pro class.

Since the team's competitive debut in 1999 with the Corvette C5-R, Corvette Racing has earned unmatched success. The C5-R and C6.R led Chevrolet to 90 victories around the world and 10 manufacturer championships in the American Le Mans Series. In 2013, Corvette Racing won five races and swept the manufacturer, team and driver championships in the GT class for a second consecutive season.

A key part of the team's success is the technology transfer between Corvette production cars and race cars.

"Corvette Racing sets the gold standard for technology transfer between the track and street," said Tadge Juechter, Corvette chief engineer. "We are continually taking what we learn in competition, and applying it to improve production Corvettes – which then make better race cars. As a result, the new Corvette Z06 is the most track-capable production Corvette ever while the new C7.R is poised to be even more competitive on the race circuit."

Many of the architectural and aerodynamic features of the C7.R are based on equivalent components and technologies from the 2015 Corvette Z06, including:

New, aluminum frame
As before, the race car and the Z06 will share the same, production-based aluminum frame. However, for the first time, the frames for the race car and production Z06 will be built in-house at the Corvette's Bowling Green, Ky., assembly plant.

By leveraging advanced manufacturing materials – such as laser welding, Flowdrill-machined fasteners and a GM-patented aluminum spot-welding process – the production structure is significantly stronger than its predecessor. For Corvette Racing, this equates to a race chassis for the C7.R that is 40 percent stronger than the outgoing C6.R.

"In the first lap in the C7.R, the drivers felt the increase in chassis stiffness," said Mark Kent, director of Racing for Chevrolet. "The drivers instantly noticed that the C7.R handling was better over changing surface features and rough track segments. This is important as our drivers don't always stay on the smooth pavement, and are constantly driving over curbing at corner apexes."

Direct-injected engine
The addition of direct fuel injection to the Corvette Z06 will enable the technology to return to a Corvette race car for the first time since the end of the GT1 era in 2009. It promises greater efficiency, which can make a significant difference in long-distance endurance racing such as Daytona and Le Mans through fewer time-consuming pit stops.

"Direct injection offers two advantages for the race team," said Kent. "First, it offers drivers more precise throttle control, so that even the smallest changes in the driver's throttle position delivers a proportional response from the engine. Second, direct injection typically improves fuel economy about 3 percent. That could be enough to bypass one fuel stop during a 24-hour race. Given that races are often won and lost in the pits, a 3 percent gain in fuel economy could translate to a significant advantage in track position."

Aerodynamics
The aerodynamic strategies of the Corvette Stingray came directly from the Corvette C6.R – including the forward-tilted radiator, functional hood and front-quarter panel vents, and rear transmission and differential cooling intakes.

The Z06 and C7.R take that aerodynamic foundation to the next level, sharing aggressive strategies for increased cooling and aerodynamic downforce, including similar front splitters, rocker panels, and front- and rear-brake cooling ducts.

"We worked concurrently with the race team developing the aerodynamic packages for the Z06 and the C7.R," said Juechter. "We even used the same modeling software to test both cars, enabling us to share data and wind-tunnel test results. As a result, the aerodynamics of the production Z06 produce the most downforce of any production car GM has ever tested, and we are closing in on the aero performance of a dedicated race car."

There are, of course, differences between the race car and production Corvette Z06. For example, the C7.R carries over the powertrain for the C6.R, as the GT rules limit the maximum displacement to 5.5L, and prohibit forced induction. By comparison, the new Z06 boasts a supercharged 6.2L engine estimated at 625 horsepower. Both engines, however, are based on the historic small block architecture.

The suspension on the C7.R is modified to accommodate wider racing tires and larger brakes, again part of the GT regulations.

On the aerodynamic side, one major difference is the shift away from U.S. National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, or NACA, ducts on the C7.R. The C6.R used two NACA ducts, on top of the rear bodywork and near the position of the rear wheels, for cooling. For the new C7.R, there are now openings on each of the rear quarter panels, above the brake ducts, which will draw air to help cool the race car's transaxle and differential.

Additionally, one of the primary results of the C7.R's aero detail is making the rear wing a more-significant part of the car's aero package. A larger radiator inlet has the added benefit of generating smoother airflow over the rear wing and making its use more efficient to the handling and stability of the race car at high speed.

About Chevrolet
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.5 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 32 Comments
      Mike Fernandez
      • 11 Months Ago
      Nothing beats hearing a GT Vette rip past you on the track in person. These cars sound like absolute monsters and make the Ferraris and Porsches sound embarrassingly weak.
        gtv4rudy
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Mike Fernandez
        Yea, but real race fans love all the sounds from the big bores to the small bores.
      Scooter
      • 11 Months Ago
      Woot! Now bring it to Gran Turismo 6
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Scooter
        [blocked]
      davebo357
      • 11 Months Ago
      Here's hoping it wins its class at the 24 hours of Le Mans. That'd make for a great first year.
      tony36619
      • 11 Months Ago
      And just for thought. This has less power than the production zo6... im a child right now.
      SteveM
      • 11 Months Ago
      I must be odd man out as far as how I see the competition. I'm always thrilled to see either American team win against such illustrious European machinery. Given my druthers I pull for Corvette Racing, but I think the Viper team is pretty impressive as well. It's pure Americana, and it's how we roll. Nothing sounds better down a straight than that pure American muscle.
        Cory Stansbury
        • 11 Months Ago
        @SteveM
        What is sad these days is that the car competitiveness is won in the rule committee negotiations. The inherent platform seems to be less important than the teams' abilities to win favorable rulings and the teams themselves (obviously the clockwork of Team Corvette is a huge advantage).
          SteveM
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Cory Stansbury
          Agreed, their pit strategy and the crew's speed may be responsible for more wins than the car itself.
          LLL
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Cory Stansbury
          LOL u girls must not watch lap times hahaha
          LLL
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Cory Stansbury
          the Euros crying about the Vette got it handicapped at Lemans in 2013 Perhaps a more even race this year
      fran
      • 11 Months Ago
      YESSSS!!
      Sir Duke
      • 11 Months Ago
      I'm sooo ready for Daytona 2014. 28mm restrictors are choking this engine to within one inch of its life. Here is food for thought, Why can't we have a GT-Unlimited class. Keep the current classes intact, and turn cars like the 'Vette, Viper and Astons loose in a GTU class. I am willing to bet, they may even challenge for overall wins.
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Sir Duke
        [blocked]
        LLL
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Sir Duke
        BTW,, the Vettes did win FIRST overall at Daytona in 2001!! in fact,, they finish 1st AND second Overall in 2k1! WOW! too bad American cars can only go in a straight line LOLOLOL!!!!
      Jared
      • 11 Months Ago
      Hopefully the Vettes and Vipers dominate the series.
      rsxvue
      • 11 Months Ago
      I've always been a fan of the ALMS Corvettes and this one is no different. Flat out gorgeous. Cannot wait to see it in action at Long Beach.
      ROLO
      • 11 Months Ago
      i cant wait..... awww mannn :)))))))))))))))
      RWD
      • 11 Months Ago
      Look good and mean! That black decklid spoiler looks fantastic (not the wing), the colorless taillights also look great. I think both of those things should be offered on the road car.
        RWD
        • 11 Months Ago
        @RWD
        LOOKS good and mean... still looking for that edit button.
      ChemicalNBC
      • 11 Months Ago
      I need to know moar!!! What kinda Trans are the factory teams using, fuel efficiency vs the non-DI LS motors, etc... Jan 23rd can't come soon enuff.
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