Chevrolet has revealed their new Corvette Z06 GT3.R race car that will begin competing next year. Its first race will be in the GTD (GT Daytona) PRO class at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January 2024. This is the first race car that Chevrolet has built that meets all FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile) technical regulations for GT3 cars. The new Z06 GT3.R will be eligible for entry into several North America and international racing series.
“The Corvette Z06 GT3.R breaks new ground for Chevrolet and the Corvette Racing program,” said Mark Stielow, director, GM Motorsports Engineering Competition. “This customer-focused racecar leverages learnings from throughout Corvette Racing’s lengthy and successful history, plus the expertise of our Corvette production design, engineering and powertrain teams.”
The No. 3 Corvette C8.R won the 2021 Rolex 24 At Daytona, Corvette Racing’s fourth class win. Only one Corvette C8.R will be competing in the 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Corvette Racing are entering their 25th season of competition. To date, they have won 122 races around the world including 113 IMSA races, 14 manufacturer’s and driver’s championships and 15 team titles.
“Corvette Racing has been an important influence on the design of Corvette production cars for 25 years,” said Tadge Juechter, executive chief engineer, Corvette. “Corvette production and racing teams worked together closely in development to maximize the benefits of a mid-engine design, sharing lessons learned that set both programs up for all-out performance on the track.”
Up to four Z06 GT3.R’s will be competing in the 2024 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, in both the GTD and GTD PRO classes. Two Z06 GT3.R’s will be competing in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), including the granddaddy of all endurance races, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“Racing continues to play a key role in the development of our production engines,” said Russ O’Blenes, director, 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 V-8 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.”
The Corvette Z06 GT3.R race car will be powered by a 5.5 litre flat-plane crank DOHC V-8 engine derived from the road going Z06 production car. Both race and road car Z06 engines are built at the Performance Build Center in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The first on-track test of the Z06 GT3.R took place in September 2022.
“We’re all very pleased with the results from the track testing program so far,” said 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.”
“Supporting our customers is an area where we are putting in a lot of time and effort,” said Christie Bagne, GM assistant sports car racing program manager. “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.”
The Corvette Z06 GT3.R was designed and built in collaboration with General Motors’ Competition Motorsports Engineering division and Pratt Miller Engineering.
“This has been an intense but very rewarding process,” Klauser said. “From the time we announced a Corvette GT3 car, I’ve received more inquiries than I can count. It’s a testament to a known product like Corvette, the minds behind design, development and build, and the quarter-century success of Corvette Racing.”
Photography By Chevrolet