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The Corvette is termed as the “Star-Spangled American sports car” for all the good reasons indeed. To further substantiate the claim, the recently unveiled Corvette C8 Stingray created a pre-delivery noise that no other car in the States has to date. The estimated pre-order figures of around 38,000 C8’s, speak for themselves and barely needs any further explanation.
At the epicenter of all these ripples was the newly redesigned structure of the C8, which now featured a mid-mounted engine, which meant that the new-gen Corvette now gets better power and weight distribution adding up to the already exhilarating performance. The completely reshuffled mechanics in the C8 Corvette pumped in as much as energy in its fanbase to the Corvette racing team as well. The pro-race tuned Corvette that they had been fantasizing since ages was now a reality. A team that has bagged 107 victories in the last 20 years of its present racing program.
Speculations went right this time. Yes, General Motors is bringing the race version of the C8 Corvette very soon. At the recently held Petit Le Mans in Atlanta, Georgia, where the C7.R ran for the last time, Chevrolet showcased its successor and provided a sneak-peak into its packaging. Like its predecessor, the C8.R too will flex its wings in the GTLM class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Despite being necessarily built upon their regular production models, manufacturers of the GTLM class cars have enough room to tweak these machines. The C8.R too adapts the same formula, but not as radically as some others do.
Unlike the C7.R, which shared its several elements with the C5, the C8.R shares its chassis with the regular C8 Corvette but is stiffer and lighter as part of its race tuning. As a race version, it is the closest to the streetcar among all the generations of the Corvette. For the powerplant, Chevy went along with a 5.5 liter V8 instead of streetcars 6.2. The engine makes 500 horses and 480 lb-ft of torque.
However, don’t get tricked by the power figures, which seem closer to the regular Corvette. The closeness is just limited on paper, this racing engine is a different animal altogether. In contrast to the street Corvettes pushrod arrangement, the C8.R’s engine features dual overhead cams and a flat-plane crank. A mechanical apparatus that is commonly used by Ferrari. However, FIA mandates the incorporation of the race engine in at least 300 road production cars, it would be unsurprising if we see the expected Z06 with the same engine. The engine will be hooked to an Xtrac six-speed sequential gearbox, explicitly drafted for the C8.R., keeping in mind its necessity of a race car-specific diffuser.
General Motors says that the new mid-mounted engine truly enhances the overall character of the C8.R, by providing incredible balance and grip, which is further assisted by the Michelin 18-inch Pilot Sport GT competition tires. All these ingredients together make the performance of the C8.R, much more pronounced on the track.
When the C8.R finally makes it debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January, at the opening round of the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, it would don two colors on its skin. A #4 car in Silver with yellow accents on it and a #3 with the inverse color scheme. The color patterns are a homage to the 1972 Aerovette and the 1959 Corvette Stingray racer, that earned resounding fame in the same paint jobs. We would also likely be seeing the signages of various partners associated with Corvette racing over the years like Mobil 1, Michelin and SiriusXM.