General Motors did not waste any time telling the racing world it will be a player with its new Corvette.
The recently-introduced midengine version of Chevrolet’s iconic sports car was developed in part with road racing in mind, and the C8.R will debut at Daytona for the Rolex 24 next January.
The car will compete in IMSA’s GTLM class, and is the first Corvette with a totally-new platform since the C5.R debuted in 1999. Cars in the GTLM (GT Le Mans) are production-based variants such as Corvette, Ferrari, Porsche, and Ford.
The C8.R will use a new 5.5-litre, 500-horsepower naturally-aspirated V8 engine, which is about 10 more horsepower than the outgoing C7.R engine. This engine will be coupled to a new and smaller Xtrac six-speed sequential gearbox.
As per FIA and ISMA rules, 300 copies of the car must be produced to be race legal, which means there is a strong chance the new V8 will go into street cars. The new Corvette will also have a lower centre of gravity, more even weight on its wheels, and will feature Michelin Pilot Sport GT tires.
During the recent Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, there were nine Corvette teams competing. There has been no official word, but it is expected several of these teams will be driving the new midengined Corvette next season.
Another new race car made its appearance recently. NASCAR’s Next Gen car made its debut for testing last week at Richmond Raceway, but this latest body style will not be entered into competition until the running of the 2021 Daytona 500.
The test car, built by Richard Childress Racing in collaboration with NASCAR, went through some laps with Austin Dillon at the wheel. At first glance, the generic car appears to have functional hood scoops, a larger rear wing, and larger rims and tires from the current 15-inch size.
The Next Gen car will be extensively tested, including wind tunnel sessions and laps on tracks of various lengths in the next 18 months.
Ford has teamed with Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) in developing and building a 410-cubic inch Sprint Car engine for major Sprint Car racing. Andy Durham and Roush Yates have also played a significant part in getting this engine to the tracks. The new Ford power will do battle with the long-established Chevrolet-powered cars.