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Racing

”Corvette
Photo Credit: Autoblog

The two Corvette C6.Rs are fresh off their successful debut at Mid-Ohio and are now in Elkhart Lake Wisconsin where they will tackle the 4.048-mile high speed track known as Road America. This is a bit of a homecoming for the GT2 cars as Road America was one of the four tracks that the GT2 cars were tested prior to last week’s racing debut.

Road America is one of the favorite tracks for drivers as it features high speed corners and long straights. This track may play to one of the strengths of the GT2 car which appeared to be faster in the straights than some of the other GT2 competitors last weekend at Mid-Ohio.

“Road America is a much different circuit than Mid-Ohio,” said Oliver Gavin, driver of the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R. “It’s a high-speed course, while Mid-Ohio is more of a medium-speed track. It’s still early days for Corvette Racing in GT2, and we’ll continue to learn where we stand in relation to the competition. It’s going to be tight and it’s going to be tough.

“Based on our experience at Mid-Ohio, the team will continue to make refinements,” Gavin said. “We’re still learning how to manage the tires and keep the car good to drive over a full stint. Based on our first run last weekend, I think everyone at Corvette Racing has done a brilliant job. Bring on Road America!”

Jan Magnussen and Johnny O’Connell won the GT1 class last year at the track in the #3 Corvette C6.R, but Mags knows this year’s challenge will be more difficult in the GT2 class:

“It’s completely different from Mid-Ohio in terms of where you need to be fast,” Magnussen explained. “If you don’t have the top speed, the long straights at Road America will be difficult. We’ll see if we have an issue there – I certainly don’t think we will. Our test at Road America went very well, and the car handled beautifully in the high-speed sections.”

Team Manager Gary Pratt also weights in on the successful debut of the GT2 Corvettes at Mid-Ohio:

“Both cars ran without any issues at Mid-Ohio, and that’s a good, good start for a brand-new car,” Pratt said. “We still have a little way to go to catch the competition, and we’ll keep working at it.”

This year’s event at Road America also features the return of the Corvette Challenge II bike race to help fight cancer. The race within a race takes place later today and will feature Corvette Racing Program Manager Doug Fehan taking on Jan Magnussen and SPEED TV Commentator Calvin Fish in a one-lap winner-take-all race around the 4 mile track.

Fans can show their support for Fehan, Magnussen and Fish by pledging a donation. Funds raised will support the Lance Armstrong Foundation, the Austin Hatcher Foundation, the late Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, and the Vince Lombardi Cancer Clinic. The 2 hour 45 minute race at Road America will take place on Sunday, August 16th at 3pm EST with SPEED TV providing live race coverage.



Source:
Corvette Racing


Related:
[VIDEO] Corvette Racing’s C6.R GT2 Debut at Mid-Ohio 2009
Corvette Racing: #3 Corvette C6.R Earns 2nd Place GT2 Finish at Mid Ohio
Corvette Racing: Inside the GT2 Corvette C6.R
A New Era: Introducing Corvette Racing’s GT2 ZR1 C6.R

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Corvette Racing's Johnny O'Connell Interview From SPEED's Wind Tunnel

Corvette Racing’s Johnny O’Connell, fresh off the team’s #2 podium finish at the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio, had the folks from Dave Despain’s Wind Tunnel on SPEED over to his house for a chat about the new GT2 car, future prospects of racing at Le Mans and the Green Challenge.



Source:
SPEED


Related:
[VIDEO] Corvette Racing’s C6.R GT2 Debut at Mid-Ohio 2009
Corvette Racing: #3 Corvette C6.R Earns 2nd Place GT2 Finish at Mid Ohio
Corvette Racing: Inside the GT2 Corvette C6.R
A New Era: Introducing Corvette Racing’s GT2 ZR1 C6.R

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1968 Corvette L88 Scuderia Filipinetti Le Mans Racer

August is a busy month for most of the preeminent automotive auction houses and RM Auctions is no exception. This weekend they host their highly anticipated Sports & Classics of Monterey event in Monterey, California. One of the Corvettes that will be offered for sale is the 1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88 “Scuderia Filipinetti” Le Mans race car which is expected to fetch in the neighborhood of $500,000 – $700,000.

The Corvette L88 Scuderia Filipinetti Le Mans Racer holds a significant place in Corvette’s racing history. With a coil spring front suspension and an L88 engine prepped by Zora Arkus-Duntov and smuggled out the back door to circumvent GM’s ban on racing, the L88 was driven at the 1968 24 Hours of Le Mans by Henri Greder and Umberto Maglioli. The car dominated the Porsches and led the GT class until the 6th hour when a carburetion problem melted a piston.

The Corvette returned to Le Mans in 1969 where it again dominated the competition and led the GT class for 16 hours before it retired due to another mechanical failure. Greder then drove the L88 Corvette that September in the Tour de France, a 5,000 km marathon over nine days including 11 events at 9 different tracks. Despite a constant engine misfire, Greder and co-driver Vigneron captured seven of the eleven events. This account of the race at Clermont is awe-inspiring:

Despite encountering a constant engine misfire which replacing the carburetor, plugs, wires and even the gas tank didn’t cure, Greder and his co-driver Vigneron captured seven of the eleven events (Nürburgring, Rouen, Le Mans, Cap Fréhel, Charade, Albi and le Tourmalet).

At Clermont they finally swapped the distributor for one from a Camaro and the L88’s power returned. Starting the race at Clermont Ferrand (then known as Charade) from the back of the field, Greder (“I was very tired, and so happy to have the power back,” he recalled) passed every car on the straight after the start, went straight across the next two corners, spun and backed into a utility pole. Restarting, again at the back of the field, the rejuvenated Corvette (its driver’s enthusiasm unconstrained by the tachometer, which didn’t work after the distributor swap) charged through the field, catching Gerard Larrousse’s leading Porsche 911R at the start-finish line at the end of the first lap.

“Larrousse said he thought I was out for good and was so startled when he saw me in his mirrors he almost went off,” Greder remembered. But it was too late to catch Larrousse in the overall standings. Greder and the Corvette finished second and won the GT category earning the description “La phénoménale Chevrolet Corvette” in Maurice Louche’s history of the Tour de France Automobile.

The L88 Corvette was then sold to Jean-Claude Aubriet who campaigned it four more times at Le Mans from 1970-73, finishing as high as 18th overall and 2nd in class. The L88 Scuderia Filipinetti Le Mans Racer holds the record at Le Mans for single chassis starts (six).

Today the Corvette has been restored and now sports a 70′s vintage 454 made to look like the classic L88. It retains the coil spring front suspension developed by Zora as well as its M22 “Rock Crusher” close ratio gearbox and J56 heavy duty brakes. Documentation includes copies of the original A.C.O. entry forms from its six appearances at Le Mans.

Check out the new GT2 Corvette C6.R photos and the official press release after the jump.

1968 Corvette L88 Scuderia Filipinetti Le Mans Racer. Photo Credit: Darin Schnabel 1968 Corvette L88 Scuderia Filipinetti Le Mans Racer. Photo Credit: Darin Schnabel 1968 Corvette L88 Scuderia Filipinetti Le Mans Racer. Photo Credit: Darin Schnabel
1968 Corvette L88 Scuderia Filipinetti Le Mans Racer. Photo Credit: Darin Schnabel 1968 Corvette L88 Scuderia Filipinetti Le Mans Racer. Photo Credit: Darin Schnabel 1968 Corvette L88 Scuderia Filipinetti Le Mans Racer. Photo Credit: Darin Schnabel
1968 Corvette L88 Scuderia Filipinetti Le Mans Racer. Photo Credit: Darin Schnabel 1968 Corvette L88 Scuderia Filipinetti Le Mans Racer. Photo Credit: Darin Schnabel 1968 Corvette L88 Scuderia Filipinetti Le Mans Racer. Photo Credit: Darin Schnabel
1968 Corvette L88 Scuderia Filipinetti Le Mans Racer. 1968 Corvette L88 Scuderia Filipinetti Le Mans Racer. 1968 Corvette L88 Scuderia Filipinetti Le Mans Racer.

The full auction catalog description is a must-read for any Corvette racing enthusiast. The 1968 Corvette L88 Coupe will be auctioned on Saturday, August 15, 2009.


Source:
RM Auctions


Related:
[VIDEO] Auction Results: 1969 Corvette L88 COPO Racer
[VIDEO] Gulf One 1963 Corvette Z06 Sells for $1.05 Million
1962 Gulf Oil Corvette Sells for $1.485 Million at Pebble Beach

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Corvette Racing's C6.R GT2 Debut at Mid-Ohio 2009

Corvette Racing’s solid performance in their GT2 class debut at the 2009 Acura Sports Car Challenge raised a lot of eyebrows and puts the ALMS on notice: Jake is here and we take no prisoners! Magnussen and O’Connell get the #2 podium spot while Gavin and Beretta finished 4th. Check out Corvette Racing’s highlights from Mid-Ohio.

Sponsored By:

Bondurant School of High Performance Driving


Source:
NBC Sports


Related:
Corvette Racing: #3 Corvette C6.R Earns 2nd Place GT2 Finish at Mid Ohio
Corvette Racing: Inside the GT2 Corvette C6.R
A New Era: Introducing Corvette Racing’s GT2 ZR1 C6.R

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#3 Corvette C6.R earns 2nd Place GT2 Finish at Mid Ohio
Photo Credit: Autoblog

The new GT2 Corvettes have exceeded all expectations in their GT2 debut at the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio with Magnussen and O’Connell earning the first podium finish for Corvette Racing in the new class. For most of the race, the #3 Corvette ran second behind the #45 Flying Lizard Porsche while Gavin/Beretta was a solid third before dropping to 4th place with less than 5 minutes remaining.

There is some speculation that towards the end of the race the two Corvettes let up just a bit to avoid any performance restrictions that might come from the new cars finishing too strong in their first outing. As the goal for the team is preparation for the 2010 season, I wouldn’t put it past Fehan for employing that strategy.

The final podium in GT2 was Porsche, Corvette and BMW. Clearly this will be an exciting class to watch in the coming months.

We’ll have some quotes and reflections from the team and drivers as they become available.

NBC will televise the race tape-delayed at 2:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, August 9.



Related:
[VIDEO] Corvette Racing: #3 Corvette C6.R Captures 3rd Position in GT2 Qualifying at Mid-Ohio
Corvette Racing: Inside the GT2 Corvette C6.R
A New Era: Introducing Corvette Racing’s GT2 ZR1 C6.R

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GT2 Corvette C6.R shakedown

Jan Magnussen and the #3 Corvette C6.R rocketed to third position during Friday’s qualifying session for the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio. Magnussen turned a fastest lap of 1:21.454. The GT2 Pole goes to the 1:21.022 (100.328 mph) run by #45 Flying Lizard Porsche and three-time champion Joerg Bergmeister. Oliver Gavin qualified the #4 Corvette C6.R at six position and was half a second off the class leader.

Bergmeister took time to comment on the Corvette’s debut in the GT2 class:

“They might be sandbagging. We’ll see what they do in the race,” Bergmeister said. “It’s been impressive so far seeing them close to the top. We have to stay out of the fight with those guys and stay ahead.

We don’t have video of the qualifying session, but thanks to Chris at Corvette Info Center we have a video from Oliver Gavin of a recent GT2 Corvette C6.R shakedown session at Gingerman Raceway.

As said by one of the broadcasters during today’s radio lemans coverage of the qualifying session: “I hear the sound of thunder”.

Update
Check out the Mid-Ohio photo gallery at BadBoyVettes



Source:
American LeMans and Corvette Info Center


Related:
Corvette Racing: Inside the GT2 Corvette C6.R
A New Era: Introducing Corvette Racing’s GT2 ZR1 C6.R

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A New Era: Introducing Corvette Racing’s GT2 ZR1 C6.R

by Keith Cornett on August 4, 2009

A New Era: Introducing Corvette Racing's GT2 ZR1 C6.R

Chevrolet introduced the new ZR1 homologated GT2 Corvette C6.R this afternoon. The new GT2 car is based on the ZR1 Corvette which Corvette Racing’s Program Manager Doug Fehan says looks identical to the production ZR1 except for the required fender flares. Johnny O’Connell, driver of the #3 car was in on the teleconference and says the new Corvette C6.R is amazing and is very comfortable to drive. He did say the car has less aero and the steel brakes vs carbon brakes will be one of the biggest adjustments. O’Connell reiterated that drivers want to go where the competition is and in the ALMS, that’s GT2. GM Racing Manager Mark Kent summed up the move to GT2 the best:

Moving to GT2 is a big step for the Corvette Racing team and allows us to compete on the track with the same competition that Corvette competes with in the marketplace.

Check out the new GT2 Corvette C6.R photos and the official press release after the jump.

Introducing the new Corvette ZR1 GT2 C6.R Introducing the new Corvette ZR1 GT2 C6.R Introducing the new Corvette ZR1 GT2 C6.R
Introducing the new Corvette ZR1 GT2 C6.R Introducing the new Corvette ZR1 GT2 C6.R Introducing the new Corvette ZR1 GT2 C6.R
Introducing the new Corvette ZR1 GT2 C6.R Introducing the new Corvette ZR1 GT2 C6.R Introducing the new Corvette ZR1 GT2 C6.R
Introducing the new Corvette ZR1 GT2 C6.R Introducing the new Corvette ZR1 GT2 C6.R Introducing the new Corvette ZR1 GT2 C6.R

Press Release

Corvette Racing to Introduce Corvette C6.R in GT2 Class at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

Next-Generation Race Cars Strengthen Links Between Competition and Production Corvettes

DETROIT – Corvette Racing will open a new chapter with the competition debut of the next-generation Corvette C6.R at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 6-8. In anticipation of a single GT class in 2010, Corvette Racing will test and develop the latest Corvette C6.R in the GT2 category in the final five rounds of the 2009 American Le Mans Series. With the upcoming move to a unified GT category, the twin Compuware Corvette C6.R race cars will compete against rivals representing Ferrari, Porsche, BMW, Aston Martin, Jaguar, Viper, Panoz, and Ford.

Based on the Corvette ZR1 supercar, the next-generation Corvette C6.R has even stronger links to the production version of America’s performance icon than its predecessors. The GT2 rules require the use of many production-based components, expanding the opportunities for the two-way transfer of technology between the race track and the showroom. The updated Corvette C6.R utilizes the ZR1′s body design, aerodynamic package, aluminum frame and chassis structure, steering system, windshield, and other components. The race team has prepared the cars for the rigors of endurance racing with safety and performance modifications as permitted by the GT2 rules.

“One of the many benefits of the Corvette Racing program has been the opportunity to demonstrate the technology transfer between the race car and the production car,” said Mark Kent, GM Racing manager. “The global movement toward a single GT class will allow us to compete head-to-head with more marketplace competitors while increasing both the production content of the Corvette C6.R race cars and the relevance of racing to our customers. This is a step that positions Corvette for the future of production-based sports car racing worldwide, and a move that is perfectly aligned with GM’s marketing and business objectives in racing.”

Previous versions of the Corvette C5-R and C6.R race cars have dominated the GTS and GT1 categories in the last decade, winning 77 races and eight consecutive ALMS championships. The GT1 Corvettes were retired following Corvette Racing’s sixth victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 14, 2009.

“In our decade in GT1, our primary focus has been on racing victories and the validation of the Corvette as a world-class sports car,” said Tadge Juechter, Corvette chief engineer. “As an authentic way to communicate to knowledgeable customers, nothing beats racing. As a cost-effective means to improve vehicle performance, nothing beats racing. These are the reasons racing is in Corvette’s DNA.

“Behind the scenes, the race team and the production car team have grown closer together, finding numerous ways to support each other and to make both cars better,” Juechter said. “Most automotive companies give lip service to claims like ‘racing improves the breed’ or ‘race on Sunday, sell on Monday’. For team Corvette, it is a daily reality. It is now impossible to imagine one team without the other.”

The upcoming GT regulations required a comprehensive redesign of the Corvette C6.R package. In place of the GT1 Corvette’s steel frame, the GT2 version utilizes the production ZR1′s hydroformed aluminum frame as the foundation for a fully integrated tubular steel safety cage. The GT1 version’s wide, louvered fenders are replaced by production-based ZR1 fenders with wheel flares. In accordance with the aerodynamic regulations, the rear wing is reduced 25 percent in width, the diffuser is a flat panel without fences or strakes, and the splitter extends only as far as its production ZR1 counterpart. Steel brake rotors have replaced the carbon discs used previously, and the wheels are aluminum instead of magnesium. The adjustable steering column and steering rack are sourced from the street Corvette.

“Integrating a steel safety cage that meets GM Racing’s stringent standards as well as the strength and durability targets required in racing is a challenge with an aluminum frame,” explained Corvette Racing engineering director Doug Louth. “Working in conjunction with the structure and chassis engineers in the Corvette production group, we designed, built and tested numerous examples before we finalized the configuration. We went through a similar process with the production Corvette group on the body design and aero components. It was truly a collaborative effort between the production engineers and the race team.”

In the remaining races in 2009, the Corvette race cars will be powered by 6.0-liter GM small-block V8s that are based on the 7.0-liter LS7.R that powered the GT1 version. This reduction in displacement was achieved by shortening the crankshaft stroke from 3.875-inch to 3.32-inch. The diameter of the series-mandated intake air restrictors was decreased from 30.6 mm to 28.6 mm, with a corresponding reduction in engine output from 590 to 470 horsepower. A 5.5-liter production-based GM small-block V8 is currently under development and will be introduced at the start of the 2010 season. The Corvette Racing team is continuing its commitment to green racing with the use of E85R ethanol racing fuel.

While much of the hardware has changed, Corvette Racing’s roster of championship-winning drivers remains the same. Johnny O’Connell and Jan Magnussen will share the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R, and Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta will drive the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6. R. They will be joined by Antonio Garcia and Marcel Fassler at Petit Le Mans.

Corvette Racing also has the continued support of its long-time sponsors and technical partners. Compuware is the team’s primary sponsor, with Mobil 1 supplying low-friction lubricants and Michelin providing its world-class racing tires. Corvette Racing’s sponsors also include XM Satellite Radio, UAW-GM, Genuine Corvette Accessories, Bose, Motorola, PRS Guitars, and BBS.

“Compuware leads the world in application performance solutions, and partnering with Corvette Racing gives us another high-tech, high-performance and high-impact platform for communicating to our customers and prospects,” said Compuware Chairman and CEO Peter Karmanos, Jr. “The launch of the Corvette C6.R in GT2 is a great extension to our relationship with General Motors, Chevy and Corvette. We look forward to even more victories in the months ahead.”

The GT2-spec Corvettes were designed, built and tested on a compressed schedule. The program was approved and announced in September 2008, and construction of the first chassis began in early December. The first track test was conducted at Road Atlanta on April 8-9, followed by single-car tests in Elkhart Lake, Wis., and Sebring, Fla.

“The Corvette Racing team had to take on several challenges simultaneously to execute this program,” said Doug Fehan, Corvette Racing program manager. “We were preparing for our regular race season with the GT1 cars while designing the GT2 version. The cars were being built and tested in the midst of our preparations for Le Mans. The team was multi-tasking to the extreme, operating on a leaner budget and a faster timeline. It was a monumental effort to have these cars ready for the Mid-Ohio race.”

Advanced technology tools enabled Corvette Racing to meet the challenge. “With the short development schedule, we relied on ‘virtual’ design and computer simulation more than ever before,” said team manager Gary Pratt. “We made design, engineering and manufacturing simultaneous processes as much as possible. For example, while the first chassis was being built, we continued to run computer simulations on suspension geometry and refined the aerodynamics using CFD (computational fluid dynamics) because these areas didn’t have to be finalized until later in the production timeline. We have developed the capabilities to do finite element analysis and composite fabrication in-house, which has accelerated our design and production cycle.

“We’re not running for a championship this year, so we’re looking at the upcoming races as preparation for 2010,” Pratt said. “Our only testing from this point on will be at the races, and we’ll be doing it in the public eye. Certainly we hope to achieve the same level of success that we did in GT1, but the caliber of the competition we will face in GT2 is very high. When we started in GT1 in 1999, it took a while to win; now we have 10 years of experience that should help us to become competitive in a new category. Everyone at Corvette Racing is looking forward to the challenge.”

Fehan is confident but cautious about Corvette Racing’s prospects in the GT2 category: “In the limited testing we’ve done so far, we’ve been very impressed with the car’s durability, reliability and performance,” he said. “We’ll continue to focus on those three factors in the upcoming races. We view the rest of this year as a development cycle, and we believe that our experience as a team in preparation, race strategy, and pit stop execution should allow us to be competitive even if there is a slight performance disparity.”

The GT2 version of the Corvette C6.R will make its debut in the Acura Sports Car Challenge at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. The two-hour, 45-minute race is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. EDT on Saturday, August 8. ABC will televise the race tape-delayed at 2:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, August 9.



Source:
[VIDEO] Corvette Racing’s Doug Fehan Talks about the ZR1-Based GT2 Corvette C6.R
[VIDEO] Corvette Racing’s Doug Fehan Talks about Le Mans, Green Challenge and Jake
[VIDEO] Corvette Racing: Gavin and Beretta Win Final ALMS GT1 Race at Long Beach
Corvette Racing: Pratt & Miller GT2 Corvette Spied at Road Atlanta
Corvette Racing: GT2 Corvette C6.R to Wear ZR1 Bodyy

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Corvette Racing: Inside the GT2 Corvette C6.R

by Keith Cornett on August 4, 2009

Corvette Racing: Inside the GT2 Corvette C6.R

As we learn more about the GT2 Corvette C6.R race cars, it’s becoming more apparent that Corvette Racing’s unsung hero is the technological know-how that allowed the team to go from concept approval in September 2008 to race-ready in August 2009. In this next press release from GM Racing, we get a look at the technical insights on the new production GT Race Car and what the engineers faced in designing the next-generation Corvette C6.R.


Corvette Racing's GT2 C6.R

Airflow through the front brakes and radiator is shown in this CFD graphic. Brake cooling air exits the front wheels and travels along the side of the car while radiator cooling air moves over the roof and under the wing (Richard Prince/GM Racing Photo).


Corvette Racing's GT2 C6.R

This CFD graphic shows areas of high and low pressure on the GT2 Corvette C6.R body. Red on the front fascia, sideview mirrors and wing indicates high pressure; blue on the roof and fenders indicates areas of low pressure (Richard Prince/GM Racing Photo).


Corvette Racing's GT2 C6.R

This CFD study visualizes surface vortices and the resulting turbulence as the GT2 Corvette C6.R moves through the air. Airflow around the wheel openings and the wing is highly turbulent as indicated by the blue wakes, while the airflow over the roof is relatively undisturbed (Richard Prince/GM Racing Photo).


Corvette Racing's GT2 C6.R

The streamlines in this CFD (computational fluid dynamics) study illustrate the airflow around the body of the GT2 version of the Corvette C6.R (Richard Prince/GM Racing Photo).


Corvette Racing's GT2 C6.R

This CAD (computer-aided design) illustration shows the overall layout of the GT2 Corvette C6.R’s components, with a GM small-block V8 engine mounted behind the centerline of the front wheels and a 6-speed sequential-shift transaxle between the rear wheels (Richard Prince/GM Racing Photo).

Corvette Racing White Paper: Inside the Next-Generation Corvette C6.R

Technical Insights on Corvette Racing’s Production-Based GT Race Car

DETROIT – Corvette Racing is moving toward the future of production-based sports car racing with the introduction of the next-generation Corvette C6.R race car. With international regulations converging around a single GT class, Corvette Racing will continue its motorsports heritage by racing against manufacturers and marques that Corvette competes with in the marketplace. This white paper highlights the design and development of the latest version of the Corvette C6.R and spotlights its technical features.

The second-generation Corvette C6.R is the successor to the championship-winning C5-R and C6.R race cars that have dominated the GTS and GT1 categories in the last decade. Corvette Racing retired its GT1 Corvette C6.R race cars following the team’s sixth victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 14, 2009. Corvette Racing will compete in the GT2 category of the American Le Mans Series for the remainder of the 2009 season, starting at the series’ sixth round at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 8. During this transition, Corvette Racing will test and develop the next-generation C6.R race cars in anticipation of a unified GT class in 2010.


PRODUCTION-BASED PLATFORM

The next-generation Corvette C6.R race car has strong ties to its production counterpart. Under the leadership of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) and the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the Corvette Racing program’s key objectives include reducing costs, encouraging independent teams to purchase and race Corvettes, and reinforcing the relevance of racing technology to production vehicles.

Doug Fehan, Corvette Racing program manager: “Key elements in the decision to move to the new class were the strong visual and mechanical similarities between production Corvettes and the racing Corvettes, along with the increased production content in the GT2 race car. Corvette is a technological development platform for GM, and this move provided the opportunity to design and develop technology and components that would be relevant to future Corvettes and other GM vehicles. This connection drew the race team even closer to the production Corvette group and gave us new areas to explore together.”

Tadge Juechter, Corvette chief engineer: “Behind the scenes, the race team and the production car team have grown closer together, finding numerous ways to support each other and to make both cars better. Most automotive companies give lip service to claims like ‘racing improves the breed’ or ‘race on Sunday, sell on Monday’. For team Corvette, it is a daily reality. It is now impossible to imagine one team without the other.

“The move to GT2 only strengthens the trajectory we were on. The Corvette race and production teams will grow even closer together, and so will the cars. Having more commonality will increase the synergies in the development process. Facing our market rivals on the track will be a thrill for race fans and strong evidence that potential sports car customers should buy a Corvette. I am confident that endurance racing in GT2 will be an enormous benefit to our customers and to General Motors.”


GT2 HOMOLOGATION

The regulations require the Corvette C6.R race car to be based on a production vehicle. This designated vehicle then determines the specifications for homologation (acceptance and approval) of the racing version. The GT1 version of the Corvette C6.R was homologated on the production Corvette Z06. A crucial step in the design of the GT2 version of the Corvette C6.R was the selection of the Corvette ZR1 as the basis for its homologation.

Doug Louth, Corvette Racing engineering director: “Early in the design process we had to decide whether to use the base Corvette coupe with its steel chassis and narrow bodywork or the Corvette Z06 or ZR1 models, which have an aluminum chassis and wider bodywork. We ran a number of simulations and CFD studies comparing the wide versus narrow bodies and looked at various track width options. In the end, the data favored the wider car, even at a high-speed, low-drag track like Le Mans. Fortunately that aligned with the marketing objective to showcase the ZR1 as the Corvette that offers the highest level of performance.”


ZR1 ROOTS

The Corvette ZR1 is an American supercar that has won accolades for its extraordinary performance and exceptional value. While the GT rules preclude the use of the ZR1′s supercharged 638-horsepower LS9 small-block V8 engine, they do permit the race car to take full advantage of the ZR1′s aerodynamic enhancements that were developed in concert with Corvette Racing. The production Corvette ZR1 has wide carbon fiber front fenders with dual vents, a full-width rear spoiler, and a front fascia splitter – features designed to enhance high-speed stability and driver control.

Fehan: “The ZR1 uses a different splitter and a different rear spoiler than other Corvette models, and both of these enhance the Corvette C6.R’s aerodynamic performance. The ZR1 was conceived as a 200 mph road car and it was developed with input from Corvette Racing. Race team engineers worked with Corvette chief engineer Tom Wallace and his successor, Tadge Juechter, providing track data and CFD simulations that had been done on the race cars. Working together they were able to develop an effective and balanced aero package for the Corvette ZR1.

“The Corvette C6.R race car is now virtually identical to the Corvette ZR1 street car in appearance. The rules in GT1 allowed us to section and widen the fenders, but the GT2 rules require production-type fenders with simple flares to accommodate wider tires. Consequently the race car looks like a production car, because it fundamentally is one.”


ALUMINUM FRAME

The GT2 version of the Corvette C6.R is built on the same aluminum frame that underpins production Corvette Z06 and ZR1 models. In contrast, the GT1 race cars used steel frames from the Corvette coupe and convertible. Both aluminum and steel production Corvette frames are hydroformed, a process that uses high-pressure hydraulics to form complex shapes.

Fehan: “The race team had been exploring the aluminum frame for several years. The traditional methods of connecting a steel roll cage to an aluminum frame simply didn’t provide a level of safety that met GM Racing’s stringent standards. Consequently we have developed a proprietary installation method that is consistent with GM’s commitment to safety.”

Louth: “The race car chassis retains all of the elements in the production chassis structure – the windshield frame, the hoop around the rear of the passenger compartment, the door hinge pillars, the drivetrain tunnel, the firewall, the floor pan – they’re all there. In the GT1 class, these components could be removed, modified, or trimmed down, but the ACO and FIA rules for GT2 require that we maintain all of the primary production chassis structure in the race car.”


AERODYNAMICS

Differences in the GT1 and GT2 rules account for many of the changes in the Corvette C6.R’s aerodynamic package. The front fender louvers used in GT1 are not allowed in GT2. The chord width of the rear wing was reduced 25 percent, from 400mm to 300mm. The diffuser now starts at the back of the rear wheel opening rather than at the centerline of the rear axle; strakes and sidewalls are not permitted, so the GT2 diffuser is a flat panel while the GT1 diffuser was effectively a tunnel. The production-based ZR1 splitter extends 25mm, in contrast to the 80mm splitter allowed under the GT1 rules.

Louth: “CFD (computational fluid dynamics) was the primary tool used to develop the aero package in the short time that was available. During the validation phase, the team performed high-speed straight-line tests and conducted a full-scale rolling-road wind tunnel test. We have been through all of our aerodynamic tuning options at the track, and the baseline aero settings meet all of the performance targets.

“As we developed the race car aero package, we went through a number of reviews with the Corvette design group. They were very interested not only in what we were doing, but what they might take away for future Corvettes. There was a two-way exchange of concepts and ideas, and it proved to be a very rewarding relationship.”

Fehan: “The production splitter we are using in GT2 does not require a massive rear wing to produce aerodynamic balance, and consequently there is less total downforce. This actually makes the car more predictable over a wide range of speeds. The GT1 version had tremendous downforce, but the downforce was directly proportional to speed. In slow corners the car behaved differently than it did in fast corners, so the drivers had to adjust for the amount of grip they would have at various speeds. With the GT2 aero package, the car behaves very predictably in low, medium, and high-speed corners. Consequently the drivers report that the new Corvette C6.R a very good race car.”


SUSPENSION AND STEERING

The GT1 Corvette C6.Rs were equipped with carbon brake rotors, while GT2 regulations require ferrous (steel) brake discs. The Corvette race car’s wheel and tire dimensions are the same in both classes, but the GT2 version uses aluminum rather than magnesium rims.

Fehan: “The production ZR1 has ceramic brakes, which we would love to use in the race cars. However, the series requires steel brakes to help contain cost.”

Louth: “Early in the GT1 program we ran steel brakes in the 24-hour Daytona race, so we did have some previous experience. We also received excellent information from our brake and pad suppliers, and input from GM’s other racing programs. Initially there was some concern about the switch from carbon to steel brakes, but in the end the braking performance is actually very good. Steel brakes don’t produce the absolute stopping power of carbon brakes, but the braking performance – repeatability, consistency and driver feel – hit our targets in fairly short order.

“The GT2 race car has a production steering column, with a fully adjustable steering wheel – a real convenience with as many as three drivers per car. The rack-and-pinion steering is also production.”


SAFETY AND ERGONOMICS

Safety is the No. 1 priority at GM Racing. The GM Racing safety research and development program was founded in 1992, and it expanded from its initial focus on open-wheel cars to encompass stock car racing, sports car racing, drag racing and off-road racing. The racing safety program is built on the foundation of GM’s world-class safety research and testing programs for passenger vehicles.

Louth: “Our chief concern was the aluminum chassis and the attachment of the steel safety cage. Analysis and physical testing of structural components suggest that this car is the safest GT car on the track. We carried over the energy-absorbing panels in the doors, the door bar structure, the crush structure, the right-side safety net, and other safety features from the GT1 Corvettes. These are not mandatory items, but we chose to add those components at a considerable cost and weight disadvantage because driver safety is our top priority.

“Driver ergonomics was not a big challenge because the cockpit layout and packaging is very similar to the GT1 C6.R. The production-based air conditioning system was carried over from the previous version because it had proven to be very effective, although improvements were made in the ducting.”


TELEMETRY

The GT1 Corvettes were instrumented with nearly 100 sensors that monitored everything from engine oil temperature to tire pressures. Much of this information was transmitted in real time from the car to the pit, where engineers and technicians could watch for developing problems. The GT2 rules do not allow telemetry, so this data must now be downloaded during pit stops.

Louth: “Without telemetry, the driver has more responsibility to catch minor problems before they become major problems. Obviously a driver is extremely busy during a race, so he may be less effective at monitoring data and seeing warnings than someone in the pits who is focused on a computer screen. Since we cannot use telemetry in GT2, we are working on our dashboard alarms to alert the driver when there is a problem without distracting him when operating conditions are normal during a race.

“The ban on telemetry is due to cost considerations. However, the downside of not having telemetry is that when something does go wrong, it can result in a catastrophic failure that costs much more. A blown engine, a seized transmission, or a punctured tire that causes a crash and injures a driver are failures that can often be avoided or stopped short with telemetry.”


CONSTRUCTION AND TESTING

The GT2-spec Corvettes were designed, built and tested on a compressed schedule. The program was approved and announced in September 2008, and construction of the first chassis began in early December. The first track test was conducted at Road Atlanta on April 8-9, followed by single-car tests in Elkhart Lake, Wis., and Sebring, Fla.

Fehan: “Testing has gone very well, and that’s not really surprising with all of the lessons we learned in GT1. In the initial track test, we rolled the car out of the trailer and ran for two straight days with absolutely no problems. It was incredible, and everyone was understandably very excited.

“Corvette Racing has the advantage of sophisticated computer models for aero and chassis development, and we have a library of suspension setups. In the first two days of testing, we hit all of the predictions dead on, which validated both our software and our design.

“In the limited testing we’ve done so far, we’ve been very impressed with the car’s durability, reliability and performance. We’ll continue to focus on those three factors in the upcoming races. We view the rest of this year as a development cycle, and we believe that our experience as a team in preparation, race strategy, and pit stop execution should allow us to be competitive even if there is a slight performance disparity.”

Gary Pratt, Corvette Racing team manager: “We’re not running for a championship this year, so the testing we’d prefer to do in private we do in the public eye. We’re looking at the next five races as preparation for 2010. Our goal is to learn as much as we can.

“In a perfect world we’d have the rest of this year to test and then come out with new cars at the start of next season, but we felt we just needed to get out there and race for the Corvette customers and fans. We think we’ll be competitive, but there are many good cars and teams in GT2. We know it will be a challenge, and we’re looking forward to it.”

The GT2 version of the Corvette C6.R will make its debut at the Acura Sports Car Challenge at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. The two-hour, 45-minute race is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. EDT on Saturday, August 8. ABC will televise the race tape-delayed at 2:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, August 9.



Source:
A New Era: Introducing Corvette Racing’s GT2 ZR1 C6.R
[VIDEO] Corvette Racing’s Doug Fehan Talks about the ZR1-Based GT2 Corvette C6.R
[VIDEO] Corvette Racing’s Doug Fehan Talks about Le Mans, Green Challenge and Jake
[VIDEO] Corvette Racing: Gavin and Beretta Win Final ALMS GT1 Race at Long Beach
Corvette Racing: Pratt & Miller GT2 Corvette Spied at Road Atlanta
Corvette Racing: GT2 Corvette C6.R to Wear ZR1 Bodyy

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