Last week, the 2020 Chevy Corvette C8.R race car made a surprise debut alongside the new C8 convertible. Now the company has finally provided some details on what makes it tick. And the first thing you should know is that it does not use the 6.2-liter LT2 production engine, but rather something designed specifically for racing.
According to Chevy, it's a naturally aspirated 5.5-liter V8, and it has similar output to the production engine. It makes 500 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque, just 5 more ponies and 10 more pound-feet of twist than the regular C8 with performance exhaust. It should have a vastly different character, though, because Bozi Tatarevic reports for Jalopnik that it's a double-overhead-cam engine with a flat-plane crankshaft. That means it should rev higher and faster than the regular C8 engine. It also explains why it sounds so unique, as shown in the video below. Jalopnik also reports that this racing engine could be used as a base for high-performance road Corvettes, which would make for the first double-overhead-cam Corvette since the ZR1 in the early 1990s.
The engine isn't the only change to the racing C8, the C8.R also gets a six-speed sequential manual transmission. The factory car has an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic. Chevy says it created this transmission because it was smaller and lighter, and allowed them to add a large rear diffuser for improved aerodynamics. Obviously there are loads of aerodynamic aids including splitters, wings and things. The race car also loses its front cargo area to a front-mounted radiator. The whole car is also lighter and stiffer than the front-engine C7.R that precedes it. Not everything is different, though. According to Chevy, the race car still starts with a production C8 chassis, and then that chassis is modified to race spec.
The C8.R will make its racing debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January. Before that it will run a "ceremonial lap" at Road Atlanta this weekend before the Petit Le Mans race. Two C8.Rs will be racing next year, one in silver with yellow stripes, and the other with silver stripes over yellow.