Corvette Racing’s C6.R and a 2011 Supersonic Blue Corvette ZR1 are sharing the stage at the Paris Motor Show. Chevrolet is using the display to show visitors how technology gleaned from racing makes a better street car. Check out a couple pictures and the official press release highlighting the track to street technology transfer after the jump.
Official Press Release
Built upon the pioneering spirit of company founder Louis Chevrolet who designed and raced the first Chevrolets with great success in the early 1900′s, Chevrolet today has a bank of knowledge and expertise that is put to good use in the development of production models. At the Paris Motor Show, two of the latest examples in the form of the Chevrolet Cruze and Corvette ZR1 are proudly displayed, alongside their race-car stable mates, for visitors to appreciate how technology gleaned from the race track can also be technology for the road.
Although Chevrolet has been competing in production based endurance racing since the mid-fifties, with the start of the modern Corvette racing program in 1999 the sharing of technologies for road and race car became intrinsically linked. With the latest incarnation of the Corvette ZR1 and the C6.R race car, that shared DNA has been taken to a whole new level.
Rules currently in force in GT racing require the use of some key production based components so that put simply, today there would not be a Corvette ZR1 without the race program.
This year’s C6.R which competed at the 24 hours Le Mans in the GT2 Class and in the American Le Mans series is homologated on the Corvette ZR1; a preliminary glance at the latest ZR1 body gives away plenty of clues.
Starting at the front of the car, the front splitter which improves high speed down force and the open grille which forces air into the engine are the first give-aways. The aero design of the headlamps are a direct descendant from racing, while the front fenders are of carbon fiber to keep weight to a minimum, and suitably flared to accommodate wider tires when necessary.
Front and rear brake ducts in the bodywork keep the brakes cool – a very necessary design feature given the ZR1 road car is slowed by carbon ceramic brakes mated to six piston calipers at the front and four piston caliper brakes at the rear.
More carbon fiber is used in the construction of the roof to save weight, while at the rear, both the ZR1 and C6.R race car use an identical full width rear diffuser and rear spoiler.
Simply admiring the shared bodywork of the ZR1 and C6.R doesn’t indicate the technical commonalities beneath the skin, arguably where Corvette owners benefit most from the Chevrolet Racing input. For instance, the hydro formed aluminum frame rails on which the ZR1 is built are used for the C6.R race car, as is the frame used to house the windscreen, the drive train tunnel and the floor pan.
Climb aboard the new ZR1 and owners can even take pride in the knowledge they will be using the same steering system as in the C6.R, where the steering column, fully adjustable wheel and rack and pinion steering rack are shared.
Under the hood of the ZR1 lies an engine which is the most powerful built for a production model by Chevrolet to date. Because of the GT racing regulations, the final displacements and power outputs of the two engines vary slightly, nevertheless many of the processes and materials used for making the hand-built engines of the ZR1 stem directly from Chevrolet Racing; the dry sump lubrication system and titanium values are examples.
In essence there can be few current examples where the synergies between a full production road car and the race car equivalent are so great as that of the ZR1 and C6.R – a fact made all the more remarkable given the ZR1′s suitability as practical, everyday transport.
Chevrolet Cruze race car
From its earliest design stages, the Cruze had the look of a car that would be suitable for racing and so it has proved so far with Chevrolet’s current campaign in the WTCC, where the team currently leads the Championship with three rounds (*please note: this will be two rounds as of Sept. 30) remaining.
With its ‘four-door coupé’ styling and smart livery, the Cruze race car has a clear identity and distinctive presence on the WTCC grid. The race car benefits from some of the road car’s intrinsic design features, such as a wider track, close-to-the-ground stance and a body structure with strong torsional rigidity, while design of the Cruze bodywork has also been proven to provide effective aerodynamics.
A number of other factors make the Cruze a great road car to develop into a race car, such as its excellent weight distribution, where much of the mass is centrally located to provide safe and predictable handling. As for the mechanics working on the car over a race weekend, they love the Cruze because components can be accessed and, if necessary, changed quickly and easily.
Much of the exterior bodywork of the race car is lifted directly from the production version, so for example the doors, hood, rear screen headlamps and rear lamps are all production specification. Under the body, the race car also uses the standard road car front sub frame, chassis and steering system.
Powering the Cruze race car to a series of WTCC wins is a 2.0L 4-cylinder motor that develops 280 hp which has of course been developed specially for race use, but is based on GM’s gasoline engine block found in the road going Cruze. The engine of the race car sits in exactly the same position as the standard road car while they also share the same wet sump lubrication system.
Wayne Brannon, president and managing director of Chevrolet Europe explained the rationale behind competing in a series such as the WTCC. “The Cruze is sold in 70 countries around the world and is our most successful nameplate globally. At the same time, for us the link between racing and road car development is deep-seated and real. The WTCC is therefore the perfect platform for us to be able to compete around the world in a high class series against other manufacturers, and to demonstrate not only Chevrolet’s racing heritage but specifically Cruze’s performance credentials.”
Corvette ZR1 photo credit: AP Photo/Michel Euler