CORVETTE RACING AT DAYTONA: Pre-Race Notes
CORVETTE RACING AT DAYTONA: Pre-Race Notes
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 26, 2022) – Corvette Racing begins its 24th season of competition this weekend with the Rolex 24 At Daytona to start the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. It’s a new season in more than one way as it marks the team’s first foray into GT Daytona (GTD) PRO competition.
The team logged three days of testing plus Sunday’s 100-minute qualifying race to set the Rolex 24 grid. Throughout the weekend, Corvette Racing engineers gathered useful data on a number of new items that are unique to the GTD-spec version of the Chevrolet Corvette C8.R.
The twice-around-the-clock endurance race around at the 3.56-mile road course inside the Daytona International Speedway presents a number of challenges and elements that aren’t found anywhere else in racing, according to two members of Corvette Racing:
NICKY CATSBURG, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/Sirius XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “I love this event and being at Daytona. You’re going to straight into it and starting the season with one of the most important races. There’s no way to ease into things. You have to be on it, and this sets the tone for the season. It’s a unique situation compared to Europe. I’ve done this event several times now, so I’m used to it. Plus it’s a unique setting. The track is cool and fun with the banking. Plus you have a GT class that is this big. It’s an event we all look forward to every year.”
NICK TANDY, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “Daytona is always cool because it’s this big, standalone event. Yes, it’s part of a points-scoring championship but it’s still the Daytona 24 Hours. So it’s always cool. It’s different this year, especially for us on the 4 Corvette side for two reasons. For one, we have this new-spec C8.R GTD car so that’s different and new. I was telling someone the other day that Corvette Racing have been coming here for years and years and years with the same kind of formula and the same knowledge about how things should play out. This year it’s all a bit different and new. It’s fresh and very interesting to go into something new while learning and experimenting while not really knowing how things will work. Plus it’s a single event for our side of the garage before we go off to the WEC. But Daytona still has that big atmosphere and big levels of anticipation of what’s coming and what’s ahead of you.”
CORVETTE RACING BY THE NUMBERS AT DAYTONA
• 0.034: As in seconds – the winning margin of victory in Corvette Racing’s 1-2 finish at the 2016 Rolex 24. It is the closest finish in race history.
• 1: As in one team, one manufacturer and one model of car going on 24 years: Corvette Racing and Chevrolet.
• 2: Number of the overall winning Corvette C5-R in the 2001 Rolex 24. Ron Fellows, Johnny O’Connell, Chris Kneifel and Franck Freon completed 656 laps for 2335.36 miles in the winning effort.
• 4: Rolex 24 wins in 11 tries for Corvette Racing: 2001 overall, 2015 GTLM (Antonio Garcia/Jan Magnussen/Ryan Briscoe), 2016 GTLM (Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler) and 2021 GTLM (Garcia/Jordan Taylor/Nicky Catsburg)
• 14: Manufacturer Championships for Chevrolet and Corvette Racing since 2001.
• 29: Number of GTLM wins for Corvette Racing since the start of 2014. Corvette Racing moves to GTD PRO starting with this year’s Rolex 24.
• 24: Drivers who have driven for Corvette Racing at Daytona – Justin Bell, Ryan Briscoe, Nicky Catsburg, Kelly Collins, Dale Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Marcel Fässler, Ron Fellows, Franck Freon, Antonio Garcia, Oliver Gavin, John Heinricy, Chris Kneifel, Robin Liddell, Jan Magnussen, Tommy Milner, Simon Pagenaud, John Paul Jr., Andy Pilgrim, Mike Rockenfeller, Scott Sharp, Alexander Sims, Nick Tandy and Jordan Taylor. The list will grow by one with the addition of Marco Sorensen for this year’s race.
• 25: Tracks at which Corvette Racing has won races – Baltimore, Charlotte, COTA, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park/Mosport, Daytona, Detroit, Houston, Laguna Seca, Le Mans, Lime Rock, Long Beach, Miami, Mid-Ohio, Portland, Road America, Road Atlanta, Sebring, Sonoma, St. Petersburg, Texas, Trois Rivieres, Utah, VIR, Washington DC and Watkins Glen.
• 31: Number of drivers for Corvette Racing since 1999.
• 69: Years since Corvette was introduced to the world on Jan. 17, 1953 in New York City. A total of 300 were produced that year.
• 120: Victories worldwide for Corvette Racing – 112 in North America and eight at Le Mans.
• 250: Event starts by Corvette Racing since 1999.
• 49,723.16: Number of racing miles completed by Corvette Racing at Daytona. That’s more than two full trips around the Earth at its equator (approx. 24,900 miles).
• 333,179.36: Total number of racing miles completed by Corvette Racing since its inception. To put that in perspective, Corvette Racing is more than halfway to the distance traveled by Apollo 13 – the longest manned spaceflight in history: 622,268 miles. That means Corvette Racing has raced to the moon!
What’s New on the GTD PRO Corvette?
There have been lots of questions about changes to the Corvette C8.R for the IMSA GTD PRO class. There is quite a bit of work the Corvette Racing team has undertaken to transition the car from GTLM spec to meet GTD technical regulations. Here are a handful of key areas:
1. The mass of the C8.R is increased by 65 kilograms (143 lbs.) relative to Daytona 2021. To accommodate the ballast box required by the GT3/GTD regulations to hold the extra weight, the Corvette Racing team had to reconfigure the entire passenger side floor compartment. This required the move of the air conditioning unit, fire bottle, battery box and other electronics. This was no small feat with integration requiring significant effort by the Corvette Racing engineering team.
2. The 2022 Corvette GTD entry is running on customer Michelin tires, which are required for the category. This is a change from GTLM where the C8.R ran on confidential tires – ones that were specifically designed for Corvette Racing.
3. The power output of the C8.R’s flat-plane V8 is significantly reduced under GTD rules. The difference between the size of this year’s Daytona air restrictor and 2021 is nearly 1.7 mm.
4. Related to that, the GTD PRO Corvette is running with a higher angle of attack on the rear wing than previous years. This creates a greater level of drag on the race car and significantly reduces top speed.
5. The addition of ABS is required under GT3/GTD rules. As many observers are aware, Corvette Racing tested this in competition for the first time last year at Belle Isle in the GTLM Corvette. The system continued to be improved throughout testing late last year and early this season both virtually and in the real world.
6. The differential of the Corvette C8.R must now comply with GT3/GTD regulations. A limited slip differential configuration is permitted with a single homologated set of ramps. This required removal of some tuning options previously available on the GTLM Corvette.
7. Unlike other GTD teams, the C8.Rs are required to run with torque axle sensors. These directly measure the output of the Corvette engine and the data is used by IMSA for the BOP process.
The Chevrolet Fan Experience
Chevrolet aficionados will have no shortage of things to see and do at the Rolex 24. That’s because three locations around Daytona International Speedway – the Chevrolet Experience Center, the Chevrolet Injector and Chevrolet Motorsports Display – will be full of Chevrolet vehicles that spectators can learn more about throughout the weekend.
Each location will open at 9 a.m., Friday and Saturday; and 8 a.m., Sunday.
The Chevrolet Experience Center is located next to Victory Lane. The main attraction for Corvette enthusiasts is the 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 – a nearly mirror image of the Corvette C8.R race car. Among its features is a 5.5L, flat-plane V8 capable of reaching 8,600 rpms. The 670hp output is the highest for any naturally aspirated V8 produced by any production car in the world.
In addition, Chevrolet vehicles on display at the Experience Center include the 2022 Corvette Stingray IMSA GTLM Championship Edition, Camaro ZL1, Tahoe High Country and Colorado ZR2, plus a Corvette Z06 chassis.
The Chevrolet Motorsports Display in the Fan Midway will have a number of attractions:
• Production vehicles such as the Corvette Stingray with the Z51 package, Tahoe RST, Blazer RS, Colorado Z71, Silverado 2500 HD Crew Carhartt, Camaro ZL1, a Corvette C8.R showcar and a Stingray cutaway chassis.
• Samples of Chevrolet engines, performance parts and accessories available to fans for purchase from local Chevrolet dealers
• Corvette Racing t-shirts for fans who sign up with Chevrolet
At the Chevrolet Injector, nearly 20 different Chevrolet vehicles are on display throughout the four levels of fan access. Models include Trax LT, Equinox RS, Traverse Premier, Trailblazer ACTIV and RS, Blazer Premier and RS, Silverado 1500 Trailboss, Silverado HD and 2500 Crew Cab LTZ, Corvette Stingray Convertible, Camaro ZL1 and 2SS Coupe, Colorado Z71 Crew Cab and ZR2, Suburban 4WD High Country and Tahoe LTZ
As at the Chevrolet Motorsports Display and Chevrolet Experience, Chevrolet product specialists will be on-hand to answer questions on each model of Chevrolet vehicle throughout the weekend.
Corvette Z06 at Barrett-Jackson
Also of note, the first 70th Anniversary Edition 2023 Corvette Z06 off the production line will be auctioned Saturday at the annual Barrett-Jackson event in Scottsdale, Ariz. Corvette Racing veterans Oliver Gavin and Ron Fellows will be on-hand and take part in the auction.
Net proceeds from the sale of these cars benefit Operation Homefront. Celebrating 20 years of serving America’s military families, Operation Homefront is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to build strong, stable, and secure military families so that they can thrive – not simply struggle to get by – in the communities they have worked so hard to protect.
Corvette Racing at Daytona
No. 2 Corvette C5-R: Ron Fellows/Chris Kneifel/John Paul Jr. – 3rd in GTS
No. 4 Corvette C5-R: Andy Pilgrim/Scott Sharp/John Heinricy – 12th in GTS
No. 3 Corvette C5-R: Ron Fellows/Chris Kneifel/Justin Bell – 2nd in GTS
No. 4 Corvette C5-R: Andy Pilgrim/Kelly Collins/Franck Freon – 10th in GTS
No. 2 Corvette C5-R: Ron Fellows/Johnny O’Connell/Chris Kneifel/Franck Freon – 1st in GTS (overall win)
No. 3 Corvette C5-R: Andy Pilgrim/Kelly Collins/Dale Earnhardt/Dale Earnhardt Jr. – 2nd in GTS
No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Ryan Briscoe – 10th in GTLM
No. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Robin Liddell – 5th in GTLM
No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Ryan Briscoe – 1st in GTLM (Magnussen fastest race lap)
No. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Simon Pagenaud – 3rd in GTLM (Gavin pole)
No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Mike Rockenfeller – 2nd in GTLM (Garcia fastest race lap)
No. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler – 1st in GTLM (Winner by 0.034 second)
No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Mike Rockenfeller – 4th in GTLM
No. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler – 9th in GTLM
No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Mike Rockenfeller – 3rd in GTLM (Magnussen pole)
No. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler – 4th in GTLM
No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Mike Rockenfeller – 6th in GTLM
No. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler – 8th in GTLM
2020 (Rolex 24 – January)
No. 3 Corvette C8.R: Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor/Nicky Catsburg – 4th in GTLM
No. 4 Corvette C8.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler – 7th in GTLM
2020 (WeatherTech 240 – July)
No. 3 Corvette C8.R: Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor – 1st in GTLM
No. 4 Corvette C8.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner – 5th in GTLM
No. 3 Corvette C8.R: Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor/Nicky Catsburg – 1st in GTLM
No. 4 Corvette C8.R: Tommy Milner/Nick Tandy/Alexander Sims – 2nd in GTLM