We knew that the mid-engine Corvette would spawn a racing variant, but we weren’t quite expecting to see it unveiled so soon. During the launch of the new Corvette Convertible at Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday evening, Corvette factory racer Tommy Milner fired up his new racer and made a surprise debut on stage.
This is the car that will carry the Corvette Racing team through the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, which begins with the Rolex 24 at Daytona in late January.
“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,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. vice president of Performance and Motorsports. “The collaboration between these teams has allowed us to take these vehicles’ performance to the next level, both on the street and the track.”
While we don’t yet have confirmation on what the technical specs of the car will be, it is expected to carry a 5.5-liter naturally-aspirated flat-plane crank V8 behind the driver compartment. Early rumors speculated that it might be turbocharged, but recent audio of the car testing seems to indicate that is not the case.
Corvette Racing is North America’s most successful sports car team with 107 race victories since 1999. In the last twenty years, the team has netted 13 team championships, 12 driver titles, and 12 manufacturer titles. 2015 marked the team’s biggest success to date, winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the same season.
While the car has worn a yellow and black livery for most of those years, this time the #4 car will put on a new silver livery with yellow accents. Also on the team will be the #3's traditional Corvette Yellow livery.
Corvette Racing will take on already-committed competition from BMW’s M8 GTE and Porsche’s 911 RSR in the GTLM category. Ford dropped its factory support from the Chip Ganassi-run GT squad, but the team *might* carry on with the program if it can secure enough sponsorship. There is no word yet on whether a Ferrari GTE will join the IMSA battle.