While the Corvette Racing team would like more time for testing, officials are confident that the second-generation C7.R will perform well at its on-track debut next month.
“We’re very, very close to having that first chassis done,” program manager Doug Fehan told sportscar365.com. “We’ll be doing some shakedown runs on it shortly. We’ll then pack it up and ship it off to Ladoux.”
In France, the Corvette and its competitors like Ford GT and Ferrari 488 GTB will take part in the mandatory FIA Balance of Performance testing at Michelin’s high speed test track in Ladoux on Sept. 15-20.
The new C7.R isn’t really all that different from the current generation, according to Fehan. It’s basically a response to new safety and performance standards for 2016.
“It has the safety improvements built into it,” Fehan says, “and it has some small aero changes on it and that’s about it. We’re not overly concerned about it.” He admits he would prefer more time to test the car, but time and money prevent the Corvette team from doing much more than systems checks, possibly at GM’s proving grounds in Milford, Mich., before the new C7.R is air-freighted to France.
“I don’t think anybody’s happy with the amount of testing they do for anything at any time,” Fehan said.
Pointing out that neither time nor money “are in abundance at what we’re working on,” Fehan says the Corvette team has “to be very prudent about how we spend both.”
One of the differences for the 2016-spec C7.R is the new rollcage to accommodate the mandatory driver escape hatch.
Fehan says spectators will see “no real discernible difference” when looking at the new car.
“If you just glanced at it, you wouldn’t see anything. It looks the same,” he said. “There’s nothing dramatically new, or dramatically radical and certainly nothing that resembles the Ford.”
Fehan favors the Balance of Performance tests that will lock in each car’s homologation, saying that the series is successful “because the rules are stable.”