The C8.R's first public track run is a memorable one. Eight cylinders with a total displacement of 5.5 liters and a flat-plane crankshaft come together to play a menacing symphony that sounds almost hypercar-like; you'd be forgiven for assuming it's the soundtrack of an expensive European exotic. The Corvette sings its heart out as it tackles the track's near-constant elevation changes and its 14 corners. Its V8 revs with surprising ease, and the transmission fires off lightning-quick shifts.
We can peg its lap time at under a minute and a half, but we'll need to wait for it to make an official run to get a precise idea of how quickly it goes around the track. It'll be interesting to compare the C8.R's time with the one set by the regular-production version of the hotly-anticipated mid-engined Corvette.
While the two cars are technically similar, and they share many components, there is a major difference between them. The C8.R's 5.5-liter V8 sends 500 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels through a paddle-shifted, six-speed sequential transmission. The street-legal 2020 C8 will launch with a 6.2-liter V8 tuned to make 490 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque, and bolted to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
The C8.R is scheduled to make its competition debut at the Rolex 24 taking place at Daytona in January 2020. The street-legal model will enter production before the end of 2019, though as we reported last week, its chances of being delayed increase with every additional day of the five-week-long strike by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union against General Motors. It will arrive in showrooms in early 2020 priced right under $60,000.