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Chevrolet Unveils Corvette Z06 GT3.R at Daytona

Customer-focused Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.R makes public debut at Daytona…

Image: GM

Chevrolet has unveiled its new customer-focused GT3 car, the Corvette Z06 GT3.R, at Daytona International Speedway exactly one year before its projected race debut.

The first Chevrolet racing model designed to meet FIA GT3 regulations will replace the Corvette C8.R as the General Motors brand’s flagship sports car for global use.

Next year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona is set to mark the race debut of the mid-engined GT3.R, which is based on the Z06 production road vehicle and has been developed jointly by GM’s Competition Motorsports Engineering and Pratt Miller Engineering.

Chevrolet has stated that “at least four” new Corvettes Z06 GT3.Rs will race in the 2024 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with a “mix” of entries in the GTD Pro and GTD classes.

Plans are also afoot for two chassis to be sent to Europe for the FIA World Endurance Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Alongside those programs, Chevrolet is “evaluating opportunities to be represented” by teams in other GT3 championships such as Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS and the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli.

GM’s sports car racing general manager Laura Wontrop Klauser told Sportscar365 in October that the initial “bulk of the volume” for the car would be found in North America.

Chevrolet’s factory motorsport operation Corvette Racing plans to establish a “complete customer support program” that will include a parts truck on-site at North American races next year, expanding to other regions within the first two years of the project.

Corvette Racing will also assist customer teams with dedicated engineers.

“The Corvette Z06 GT3.R breaks new ground for Chevrolet and the Corvette Racing program,” said Mark Stielow, director of GM Motorsports Engineering Competition.

“This customer-focused race car leverages learnings from throughout Corvette Racing’s lengthy and successful history, plus the expertise of our Corvette production design, engineering and powertrain teams.”

Christie Bagne, GM’s assistant sports car racing program manager, added: “Supporting our customers is an area where we are putting in a lot of time and effort.

“With this being our first customer GT3 offering, we have had meetings with many prospective customers to learn from their previous experiences, find what is important to them from a support standpoint and come up with a program that meets their expectations.”

As announced in November 2021, the Corvette Z06 GT3.R will be powered by a 5.5-liter flat-plane crankshaft DOHC V8 engine that is derived from the production Z06.

According to Chevrolet, the GT3 engine shares 70 percent of its parts with the road car unit including the crankshaft, connecting rods, cylinder heads, fuel injectors, coils and gaskets.

“Racing continues to play a key role in the development of our production engines,” said Russ O’Blenes, director of Chevrolet’s Performance and Racing Propulsion Team.

“There were valuable lessons learned during the C5-R through C7.R programs that aided in the development of our V8 engines for production and racing – many dealing with efficiency, materials and light-weighting.

“The flow of information from Corvette Racing to production engineering and back has helped us build race and street-car engines that are fast, reliable and efficient.”

Simulator testing of the Corvette Z06 GT3.R started early last year before the first on-track shakedown took place in September.

Chevrolet intends to deliver the car to customers in the third quarter of 2023.

“We’re all very pleased with the results from the track testing program so far,” commented Laura Wontrop Klauser, GM sports car racing program manager.

“What’s even more encouraging is the correlation between simulator sessions and what we’re finding in the real-world track testing.

“It’s another level of validation that gives us confidence in the development process.”

Images: GM

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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