Corvette Racing begins its 24th season of competition this weekend with the Rolex 24 at Daytona to start the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. It’s the same race – twice ‘round the clock with the toughest, longest race of the season as the opener. Not for the faint hearted. However, this year is different. The racing ‘Vette C8.R GTD is built to new specifications. (AutoInformed – Corvette Racing Entering Two C8.Rs for Daytona Rolex 24; Corvette Racing Goes Global – IMSA, FIA WEC in 2022)
“It’s a single event for our side of the garage before we go off to the WEC. But Daytona still has that big atmosphere and big levels of anticipation of what’s coming and what’s ahead of you,” said Nick Tandy, no. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R.
Corvette Racing returns to the Daytona after a 1-2 finish in 2021 for the mid-engine Corvette C8.R as part of the GT Le Mans (GTLM) category, which ended at the end of the 2021 season. The new GTD-PRO Corvette C8.R will look similar to the GTLM. A revised wing profile will mean a slightly different level of down-force at the rear of the Corvette. The C8.R will run on customer Michelin tires, under GTD regulations.
The GTD-PRO Corvette retains the same 5.5-liter, flat-plane V8 with a slightly decreased power output compared to the GTLM rules package. An anti-lock braking system (ABS), first tested by Corvette Racing at Belle Isle’s race in June, also will be on the IMSA C8.R along with other driver aids that are mandated by the new class regulations. Last week, the team logged three days of testing plus Sunday’s 100-minute qualifying race that set the Rolex 24 grid.
GTD PRO Corvette – What’s New?
- Changes were needed on the Corvette C8.R for the new (and improved?) IMSA GTD PRO class. To change the car from GTLM spec to meet GTD technical regulations, here are some items:
- The mass of the C8.R is increased by 65 kilograms (143 lbs.) relative to Daytona 2021. To accommodate the ballast box required by the GT3/GTD regulations to hold the extra weight, the Corvette Racing had to reconfigure the entire passenger side floor compartment. This required the move of the air conditioning unit, fire bottle, battery box and other electronics. This was no small feat with integration requiring significant effort by the Corvette Racing engineering team, according to Corvette.
- The 2022 Corvette GTD entry is running on customer Michelin tires that are required for the category. This is a change from GTLM where the C8.R ran on expensive confidential tires – ones that were specifically designed for Corvette Racing.
- The power output of the C8.R’s flat-plane V8 is significantly reduced under GTD rules. The difference between the size of this year’s Daytona air restrictor and 2021 is nearly 1.7mm. Not a chance Corvette will give AutoInformed output numbers.
- Related to that, the GTD PRO Corvette is running with a higher angle of attack on the rear wing than previous years. This creates a greater level of drag on the race car and significantly reduces top speed. Sound similar to the spoiler controversies in Formula One last year between Red Bull and Mercedes?
- The addition of ABS is required under GT3/GTD rules. As noted, Corvette Racing tested this in competition for the first-time last year at Belle Isle in the GTLM Corvette. The system continued to be improved throughout testing late last year and early this season both virtually and on non-virtual pavement, claims Corvette. The additional mass without doubt complicates the braking design and set up.
- The differential of the Corvette C8.R must now comply with GT3/GTD regulations. A limited slip differential configuration is permitted with a single homologated set of ramps. This required “removal of some tuning options previously available” on the GTLM Corvette.
- Unlike other GTD teams, the C8.Rs are required to run with torque axle sensors. These directly measure the output of the Corvette engine and the data is used by IMSA for BOP – as in balance of power – to even competition by subtracting power from the fastest. We will see over the season if this is a genuine improvement or just anti-competitive racing with limited technical advances.
Corvette by the Numbers at Daytona
0.034: As in seconds – the winning margin of victory in Corvette Racing’s 1-2 finish at the 2016 Rolex 24. It is the closest finish in race history.
1: As in one team, one manufacturer and one model of car going on 24 years: Corvette Racing and Chevrolet.
2: Number of the overall winning Corvette C5-R in the 2001 Rolex 24. Ron Fellows, Johnny O’Connell, Chris Kneifel and Franck Freon completed 656 laps for 2335.36 miles in the winning effort.
4: Rolex 24 wins in 11 tries for Corvette Racing: 2001 overall, 2015 GTLM (Antonio Garcia/Jan Magnussen/Ryan Briscoe), 2016 GTLM (Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler) and 2021 GTLM (Garcia/Jordan Taylor/Nicky Catsburg)
14: Manufacturer Championships for Chevrolet and Corvette Racing since 2001.
29: Number of GTLM wins for Corvette Racing since the start of 2014. Corvette Racing moves to GTD PRO starting with this year’s Rolex 24.
24: Drivers who have driven for Corvette Racing at Daytona – Justin Bell, Ryan Briscoe, Nicky Catsburg, Kelly Collins, Dale Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Marcel Fässler, Ron Fellows, Franck Freon, Antonio Garcia, Oliver Gavin, John Heinricy, Chris Kneifel, Robin Liddell, Jan Magnussen, Tommy Milner, Simon Pagenaud, John Paul Jr., Andy Pilgrim, Mike Rockenfeller, Scott Sharp, Alexander Sims, Nick Tandy and Jordan Taylor. The list will grow by one with the addition of Marco Sorensen for this year’s race.
25: Tracks at which Corvette Racing has won races – Baltimore, Charlotte, COTA, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park/Mosport, Daytona, Detroit, Houston, Laguna Seca, Le Mans, Lime Rock, Long Beach, Miami, Mid-Ohio, Portland, Road America, Road Atlanta, Sebring, Sonoma, St. Petersburg, Texas, Trois Rivieres, Utah, VIR, Washington DC and Watkins Glen.
31: Number of drivers for Corvette Racing since 1999.
69: Years since Corvette was introduced to the world on Jan. 17, 1953 in New York City. A total of 300 were produced that year.
120: Victories worldwide for Corvette Racing – 112 in North America and eight at Le Mans.
250: Event starts by Corvette Racing since 1999.
49,723.16: Number of racing miles completed by Corvette Racing at Daytona. That’s more than two full trips around the Earth at its equator (approx. 24,900 miles).
333,179.36: Total number of racing miles completed by Corvette Racing since its inception. Corvette Racing is more than halfway to the distance traveled by Apollo 13 – the longest manned spaceflight in history: 622,268 miles. And probably against the racing team’s requests or wishes, GM hasn’t spent nearly as much.
Corvette Racing at Daytona
- No. 2 Corvette C5-R: Ron Fellows/Chris Kneifel/John Paul Jr. – 3rd in GTS
- No. 4 Corvette C5-R: Andy Pilgrim/Scott Sharp/John Heinricy – 12th in GTS
- No. 3 Corvette C5-R: Ron Fellows/Chris Kneifel/Justin Bell – 2nd in GTS
- No. 4 Corvette C5-R: Andy Pilgrim/Kelly Collins/Franck Freon – 10th in GTS
- No. 2 Corvette C5-R: Ron Fellows/Johnny O’Connell/Chris Kneifel/Franck Freon – 1st in GTS (overall win)
- No. 3 Corvette C5-R: Andy Pilgrim/Kelly Collins/Dale Earnhardt/Dale Earnhardt Jr. – 2nd in GTS
- No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Ryan Briscoe – 10th in GTLM
- No. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Robin Liddell – 5th in GTLM
- No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Ryan Briscoe – 1st in GTLM (Magnussen fastest race lap)
- No. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Simon Pagenaud – 3rd in GTLM (Gavin pole)
- No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Mike Rockenfeller – 2nd in GTLM (Garcia fastest race lap)
- No. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler – 1st in GTLM (Winner by 0.034 second)
- No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Mike Rockenfeller – 4th in GTLM
- No. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler – 9th in GTLM
- No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Mike Rockenfeller – 3rd in GTLM (Magnussen pole)
- No. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler – 4th in GTLM
- No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Mike Rockenfeller – 6th in GTLM
- No. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler – 8th in GTLM
2020 (Rolex 24 – January)
- No. 3 Corvette C8.R: Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor/Nicky Catsburg – 4th in GTLM
- No. 4 Corvette C8.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler – 7th in GTLM
2020 (WeatherTech 240 – July)
- No. 3 Corvette C8.R: Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor – 1st in GTLM
- No. 4 Corvette C8.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner – 5th in GTLM
- No. 3 Corvette C8.R: Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor/Nicky Catsburg – 1st in GTLM
- No. 4 Corvette C8.R: Tommy Milner/Nick Tandy/Alexander Sims – 2nd in GTLM