Just a few months after the debut of the all-new, mid-engined C8 Corvette Coupe, Chevrolet has given us a first look at the track-only C8. R, replacing the front-engined C7. R used from 2014. The model aims to continue the brand’s two-decade run of on-track success, now using the mid-engined, C8 formula.
Being a Corvette, a reveal in a local dealership decorated with some celebratory balloons wouldn’t cut it, and so Chevrolet held its first ever mid-engined GTLM racer debut at the Kennedy Space Centre, launch place of Saturn V and home of the Space Shuttle.
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The model will make its track debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January next year, painted in a silver and yellow livery inspired by concepts of the past such as the ’73 Aerovette and ’59 Stingray Racer. Don’t fret, though, as a traditional yellow scheme will also be used on the no. 3 car.
Details on what lies under the engine cover are still under wraps, but a downsized, turbocharged unit is to be expected, similar to those of other mid-engined track rivals such as the Ferrari 488 GTE. Power will sit at around the 500bhp mark, a marginal increase over the 5.5-litre NA C7. R it replaces.
Vice president of Chevrolet Performance and Motorsports, Jim Campbell, said: ‘The C8.R is much more than just a race-tuned version of the 2020 Corvette Stingray. It’s a culmination of many years of testing and development between GM Design, Propulsion, Engineering and the Corvette Racing team. The collaboration between these teams has allowed us to take these vehicles’ performance to the next level, both on the street and the track.’
Since 1999, Corvette Racing has seen plenty of success, winning over 100 races, 13 team championships and 12 driver and manufacturer titles. The real question is, will the change in engine layout disrupt the streak, or could it give Corvette an advantage thanks to better weight distribution over its front-mounted machines? Time will tell...