Alongside the stunning Corvette Z06 at the Detroit Motor Show 2014, the 2014 Corvette C7.R also makes its debut. It is quite fitting too as the Corvette C7.R was co-developed with 2015 Corvette Z06, sharing a chassis, engine technologies and aerodynamic strategies. It makes its competition debut on January 25 at the 52nd Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Corvette Racing has, so far, achieved 90 global victories and 10 manufacturer championships since 1999. The Corvette C7.R looks to add to these achievements. Corvette Racing will field two C7.R race cars in 2014, starting later this month at the 52nd Rolex 24 At Daytona on January 25-26, the first race of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. The C7.R will also compete in the GT Le Mans class in 11 races around North America. Later in the season, the car is also is expected to compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the GTE Pro class.
The car gets the Z06 aluminium frame, built in-house at the Corvette’s Bowling Green, Ky., assembly plant. It is manufactured using laser welding and patented spot welding to make the structure 40 percent stronger than than outgoing C6.R.
“In the first lap in the C7.R, the drivers felt the increase in chassis stiffness,” said Mark Kent, director of Racing for Chevrolet. “The drivers instantly noticed that the C7.R handling was better over changing surface features and rough track segments. This is important as our drivers don’t always stay on the smooth pavement, and are constantly driving over curbing at corner apexes.”
The 2014 Corvette C7.R gets direct fuel injection for the first time since the end of the GT1 era in 2009. It promises greater efficiency, which can make a significant difference in long-distance endurance racing such as Daytona and Le Mans through fewer time-consuming pit stops.
The aerodynamic strategies of the Z06 and 2014 Corvette C7.R gets increased cooling and aerodynamic downforce, including similar front splitters, rocker panels, and front- and rear-brake cooling ducts. The power train is carried over from the Corvette C6.R as the GT rules limit the maximum displacement to 5.5 litres, and prohibit forced induction. Both engines are based on the historic small block architecture. The suspension on the C7.R is modified to accommodate wider racing tires and larger brakes as part of the GT regulations.
On the aerodynamic side, one major difference is the shift away from U.S. National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, or NACA, ducts on the C7.R. The C6.R used two NACA ducts, on top of the rear bodywork and near the position of the rear wheels, for cooling. For the new C7.R, there are now openings on each of the rear quarter panels, above the brake ducts, which will draw air to help cool the race car’s transaxle and differential.
A larger radiator inlet has the added benefit of generating smoother airflow over the rear wing and making its use more efficient to the handling and stability of the race car at high speed.