The Corvette Racing program has really become the textbook case of how (and why) a car company goes racing. Not only does the Chevrolet Corvette benefit from the “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday” strategy that Zora Duntov outlined nearly 60 years ago while making his case that Chevrolet needs to be a performance brand. Racing also provides a developmental role in validating the car and its individual systems. Those systems that can improve the performance of a car in a 24 hour race can just as well improve the performance of the production Corvette you’re driving on the street right now.
However, the technology transfer with Corvettes and its racing program isn’t a one-way street. The production Corvette also provides its proven technology right back to the racing program. Corvette Racing’s Program Manager Doug Fehan is so much a believer that technology transfer benefits both programs that he dubbed the phrase “Cascade Engineering”. Cascade Engineering, according to Fehan, continues to improve both the racing and production programs with each iteration of the car.
For example, the C5 Corvette was used as the basis for the Corvette C5-R racer. What the racing program learned during the C5-R years was then built into the production C6 Corvette. The racing program then develops the C6.R Corvette and what is learned and tested on the track helps validate the engineering for the production Corvette ZR1.
As Fehan says during his regular-occurring talks at Corvette Corrals and at the yearly NCM Bash, Cascade engineering has brought us the 505 hp LS7 V8 engine, dry-sump oil system, carbon ceramic brakes, wider use of carbon fiber, better aerodynamics and Michelin tires.
Now that the production C6 Corvette is winding down and the next-generation C7 is coming next year, Fehan was asked in an article appearing in Modern Tire Dealer about the future of Corvette Racing and he responded with the following:
“I think, on the horizon, probably one if not the most exciting time await us and that is the introduction of the next generation Corvette, for the street, which I know our fan base, our customer base is very, very excited to see and then of course after that is introduced we’ll be competing with that version on the race track. Once again, the fan base is really excited about that. That’s something that will all come down oh probably in the next twenty four months, which for us is right on the horizon. It seems like a long time but in racing time that seem like it takes about twelve minutes. A year goes by faster than you can think, so we are already working on the race car, I know the production car is very, very close to being finalized, it’s going to be a very exciting twenty four months for everybody who enjoys racing and loves Corvette.”
Exciting times indeed!
Modern Tire Dealer
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