Chevrolet Corvette C8.R: The Bowtie’s New Le Mans Contender Makes Surprise Debut

It was believed Chevrolet’s new endurance racer would debut at next weekend’s Petit Le Mans race.

byJerry Perez| UPDATED Oct 3, 2019 1:17 AM
Chevrolet Corvette C8.R: The Bowtie’s New Le Mans Contender Makes Surprise Debut

General Motors pulled the wraps off its new Chevrolet Corvette C8.R race car Wednesday night immediately after the unveiling of the all-new 2020 Corvette C8 Convertible. The showing of the new endurance racer came as a surprise to fans and media alike, who expected the new racing 'Vette to make its first public (non-racing) appearance at next weekend's Petit Le Mans endurance race at Road Atlanta.

The C8.R builds upon the same mid-engine architecture already established by the new C8, which drastically rewrites what it means to be an American sports car in the year 2020. Boasting the No. 4, the new car's livery is inspired by the color of iconic Corvette concepts such as the 1973 Chevrolet Corvette and the 1959 Corvette Stingray Racer. The No. 3 race car, however, will feature a traditional yellow color scheme with silver accents that continues the lineage of the successful GTLM racing Corvettes of the past two decades.

“The C8.R is much more than just a race-tuned version of the 2020 Corvette Stingray," said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. vice president of performance and motorsports. "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.”

Touted as "the most important debut in Corvette’s racing history tonight," the C8.R is Chevy’s first-ever mid-engine GTLM race car and it will have to fill the shoes of some very capable and successful predecessors. Since 1999, Corvette Racing has won 107 races, which Chevrolet claims is the most of any professional sports car team in North America. These 107 wins include 13 team championships and 12 driver and manufacturer titles. In 2015, Corvette Racing became the first sports car team in 15 years to win endurance racing’s Triple Crown: the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the Twelve Hours of Sebring, and the world-famous 24 Hours of Le Mans in the same year.

The C8.R will make its racing debut at the 2020 Rolex 24 at Daytona in January of next year.