The Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.R Is the Newest Corvette Race Car
Replacing the Corvette C8.R, the Z06 GT3.R will enter IMSA GTD and FIA GT3 competition in 2024, a full year after the 2023 Rolex 24 At Daytona.
There’s a new Corvette race car in town, and it’s the Corvette Z06 GT3.R. Well, it isn’t that new, but it has been refreshed, and more interesting technical details have come to light about the highly-competitive mid-engined ‘Vette racer to make it more customer team focused. But don’t expect anything too different from the Corvette C8.R.
The Z06 GT3.R won’t make its competition debut for another season at the 2024 Rolex 24 At Daytona, with Chevrolet opting to reveal the car at this year’s Daytona 24. What is interesting is that this is the first Corvette that is legal for FIA GT3 competition, where previous cars (including the C8.R) were built for ACO GTLM, LMGTE, and IMSA GTD. GT3 class competition is more strictly homologated in relation to the road cars, whereas the higher tier endurance GT classes allow slightly more freedom of modification. Thus, this is the first Corvette that is friendly to customer racing. Even GM calls it “customer-focused.”
It begins life as an aluminum frame from the Bowling Green, Kentucky Assembly Plant, the home of Corvette manufacturing. The frame is shipped to the longtime Corvette race car constructor Pratt and Miller for the install of the roll cage, and full preparation for racing. There is still decent freedom in designing new suspension geometry for the car, so the Z06 GT3.R uses a dual wishbone front and rear suspension like the roadgoing Z06, but is presumably modified to suit the demands of racing. To use another example of a GT3 car, the BMW M4 GT3 uses dual wishbone suspension that has no relation to the road car.
The outside of the car is largely the same as the C8.R, save for some tweaks to make it look more like the Z06 road car. The engine is also a similar version of the incredible LT6 flat-plane V8 that powered the C8.R.
Here’s the appeal: this is a Corvette race car built for customers, not for a hugely expensive works team. It’s a change in attitude from GM about their race cars and means we should see more Corvettes on endurance grids around the world.
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