Chevrolet has debuted the new Corvette Z06 GT3.R racecar, a year before it makes its competition debut at the 2024 Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Making its public debut at Daytona International Speedway ahead of last Saturday’s Rolex 24, the Corvette Z06 GT3.R is Chevrolet’s first racecar that fully meets FIA technical regulations for GT3 cars.
Design and development of the mid-engine Z06 GT3.R is a collaboration between GM’s Competition Motorsports Engineering division and Pratt Miller Engineering. With an eye specifically toward customer racing, the Z06 GT3.R will be eligible for multiple championships in North America and around the world with a high level of parts and technical support available for its customers.
The Corvette Z06 GT3.R will race for the first time as part of the GT Daytona (GTD) PRO category at the 2024 Rolex 24 At Daytona to open next year’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
“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 Z06 GT3.R begins its life as an aluminum chassis frame from Chevrolet’s Bowling Green Assembly plant in Kentucky. The frame provides a lightweight yet strong and durable underpinning for both Z06 and Z06 GT3.R. Once in Michigan at Pratt Miller, a purpose-built steel roll cage is welded onto a base plate, which is secured to the chassis.
A double-wishbone suspension at the front and rear promotes a higher level of adjustability and fitment of racing-specific tire sizes. This is the same front and rear suspension configuration as on the Z06 production vehicle.
The motorsports engineering team added race springs and dampers, competition-specific rotors, calipers and pads. The Z06 GT3.R rides on 18-in. front and rear wheels—the same as on the C8.R.
Advanced aerodynamic strategies also link the road-going Corvette and its GT3 counterpart. Motorsports engineers worked with the GM Design Studio to develop an aero package specific to the Z06 GT3.R to optimize levels of downforce, stability, drag reduction and cooling.
According to Chevrolet, the goal was to design a GT3-spec Corvette that is suitable across different tire specifications, balance-of-performance settings and other customer preferences while not sacrificing performance or drivability on a variety of tracks and racing surfaces.
In order to enhance performance of the Z06 and Z06 GT3.R, each uses similar carbon-fiber splitters which provide optimal downforce at the front of the vehicles. On the underside of the Z06 GT3.R, a new and purpose-designed carbon fiber diffuser routes air from the front of the car toward the rear in order to create an optimal level of overall stability.
The underbody aerodynamic devices work together in complementing the functionality of a new-for-2024 wing that aids in airflow at the rear of the Z06 GT3.R and the creation of downforce for enhanced cornering ability.
Intakes at the front of the Z06 GT3.R draw in air to cool the front brakes. A single, large opening on the hood—a new design philosophy from the C8.R—extracts out air after it moves over the radiator.
From the top of the windshield to the rear of the car, the surface elements of the Z06 stayed intact for the Z06 GT3.R, accentuating the tie between production and racing. Most notable are side air ducts behind the doors—directly inspired by Z06 production road car—that help to cool the engine, transaxle and rear brakes.
The Corvette Z06 GT3.R will feature a 5.5L, flat-plane crankshaft DOHC V8 engine derived from the production Z06. This engine began on-track development in 2019 with the initial testing of the C8.R, ahead of its use in the production Z06.
The LT6 engine for the GT3.R originates from the Performance Build Center in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the same line on which all production Corvette Z06 engines are built.
The 5.5L powerplant shares more than 70% of its parts with the production Z06 engine, including the crankshaft, connecting rods, cylinder heads, fuel injectors, coils, gaskets and a variety of other sensors.
Chevrolet and Pratt Miller have worked together to incorporate a number of features into the GT3.R, building on safety construction from the C8.R. The Z06 GT3 features a side-impact crash structure between the driver’s side door and roll cage. Pioneered in the C7.R, the box features an outer casing of carbon fiber and Kevlar, and is filled with an aluminum honeycomb construction. The GT3 Corvette’s integrated steel roll cage is slightly modified from the current racing Corvette to provide easier ingress and egress.
For 2024, Chevrolet and Corvette Racing will continue targeting key sports-car racing championships with North American and global entries. The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will see up to four Corvette Z06 GT3.R entries with a mix of GTD PRO and GTD teams starting with the 2024 Rolex 24.
Two Corvette chassis will be bound for FIA WEC in hopes of a double entry in the yet-to-be-named GT category, which would include the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Chevrolet Motorsports will also be evaluating opportunities to be represented in SRO Motorsports including SRO America and the Intercontinental GT Challenge.
Specific team announcements including drivers will be announced at a later date.
For more information, visit www.chevrolet.com.