Motorsport Dreams: All-New Corvette Z06 GT3.R Targets Key Racing Championships in 2024

Chevrolet recently revealed its new Corvette Z06 GT3.R race car, developed in a joint venture between GM Competition Motorsports Engineering and Pratt Miller. It made its public debut last weekend at the 2023 Rolex 24 At Daytona, with plans to enter the racing scene next year.
Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.R 13 photos
Photo: Chevrolet
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The Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.R stands out as a landmark vehicle in the brand's motorsport history. With more shared components and features with its road-going ZO6 sibling than ever, the brand's new race car represents a new echelon of technology transfer between racing and production vehicles.

Furthermore, the GT3.R will be eligible for multiple North American and global championships starting next year, with Chevrolet offering highly advanced technical support for its motorsport customers.

Both production and racing teams worked closely together to bring to life this cutting-edge racing machine. The result is a GT3-spec Corvette that is suitable across many different tire specifications, offering an excellent balance between a wide array of track-focused setup prospects while not sacrificing the overall performance or drivability on various racing surfaces.

Production series meets racing prowess

Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3\.R
Photo: Chevrolet
Underneath the Z06 GT3.R's body sits a strong and lightweight aluminum chassis frame, taken straight from the Chevrolet's Kentucky Bowling Green Assembly plant. Then it is transformed into true racing underpinnings at the Pratt Miller facility by adding a custom-built steel roll cage and double-wishbone suspension, highlighting the same front and rear configuration as the road-going ZO6.

The motorsports engineering team also fitted race springs and dampers, competition-specific rotors, calipers, and pads, and a set of 18-inch wheels similar to the ones found on the C8.R.

The Corvette GT3.R also benefits from advanced aerodynamics, which includes a carbon fiber splitter, diffuser, and wing, optimizing downforce, stability, drag reduction, and engine cooling. The aggressive and efficient ducting, which moves air to cool the internal components and the surface body elements from the Z06 production road car, has also been retained, further accentuating the connection between Chevrolet's production series and competition-spec offerings.

The unparalleled transfer of technology also persists underneath the hood. At the heart of the GT3.R lies a powerful 5.5-liter, flat-plane crankshaft, dual overhead cam V8 engine derived from the production Z06. The engine, named the LT6, was developed at the Performance Build Center starting from 2019, initially undergoing thorough testing on the C8.R before being fitted to the ZO6.

The LT6 motor shares over 70 percent of its parts with the production Z06 unit, thus conferring a high degree of reliability and dependability alongside remarkable performance. Components such as the crankshaft, connecting rods, cylinder heads, fuel injectors, coils, gaskets, and various sensors are all shared between the two vehicles. Power figures are estimated to downgrade the 600 hp mark from the 668 hp of the ZO6, as the GT3.R must respect strict motorsport standards in the categories it will compete in.

Additionally, Corvette Racing has played a crucial role in the development of Chevrolet's V8 engines for production and racing purposes, deploying the invaluable lessons learned from the development of the C5-R until the C7.R programs into their current generation of powerplants.

As Russ O'Blenes, the director of the Performance and Racing Propulsion Team, stated on this topic, "The flow of information from Corvette Racing to production engineering and back has helped us build race and street-car engines that are fast, reliable, and efficient."

Complete driver safety and thorough testing - a must

Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3\.R
Photo: Chevrolet
The Corvette Z06 GT3.R prioritizes the safety of its drivers through the implementation of cutting-edge protection measures and structure features. Chevrolet and Pratt Miller have collaborated to incorporate these elements, building upon the already established construction of the C8.R.

For instance, the Z06 GT3.R includes a robust side-impact crash structure between the Driver's side door and roll cage, made entirely of carbon fiber and Kevlar outer casing, with an aluminum honeycomb construction inside. This innovative feature traces its roots to its first appearance in the C7.R.

Additionally, the incorporated steel roll cage of the GT3.R Corvette has been slightly modified from the earlier racing models to make it easier for pilots to get in and out of the car during heated racing events, further demonstrating the commitment of Chevrolet and Pratt Miller to ensure full-on safety and convenience of their drivers in the new GT3.R.

The testing process for the Z06 GT3.R was an extensive effort, following a two-year testing schedule. Chevrolet and Pratt Miller began using virtual simulation through the Driver in the Loop simulator as early as 2021. It allowed the engineers and designers to evaluate and fine-tune the design and performance of the Z06 GT3.R before it hit the track.

After the virtual simulations, the Z06 GT3.R underwent its first on-track test in September 2022, giving the team a full year for meticulous on-track development before the car is finally delivered to customers toward the end of this year. The successful correlation between the simulator sessions and real-world track testing gives the team confidence in the development process and shows the thoroughness of their efforts to create a top-performing car.

A motorsport legacy

Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3\.R
Photo: Chevrolet
The Corvette Z06 GT3.R is a continuation of the legacy of championship-winning Corvette race cars that started with the introduction of Corvette Racing and the Corvette C5-R in the late 1990s. Over the years, the program has secured an impressive 122 race victories worldwide, including 113 in the IMSA competition. These wins have resulted in 14 Manufacturer's and Driver's championships and 15 Team titles, making Corvette Racing the most successful team in IMSA history.

The C8.R, which preceded the Z06 GT3.R, has already proven successful with 15 wins worldwide since its on-track debut in 2020. The 2023 season will be its second and final motorsport season, with two planned appearances in the WeatherTech Championship and the FIA WEC.

As s side note, starting in 2024, the FIA WEC will shift from the current GTE regulations to the global GT3 platform, a move which, in turn, may benefit the Corvette GT3.R in its avant-garde racing form.

Customers always take the top spot

Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3\.R
Photo: Chevrolet
Corvette Racing is committed to providing customer support for the all-new Z06 GT3.R. Chevrolet. Corvette Racing has designed a comprehensive customer support program available to teams worldwide to ensure that the Z06 GT3.R is a successful and competitive racing car, no matter the circumstances.

Parts trucks will be a constant presence at North American race events starting in 2024 and support planning to extend to other regions of the world in the first couple of years of the Z06 GT3.R program. The racing support is conceived to provide complete spare parts packages for bodywork and internal components right on the spot, with professional engineers offering invaluable technical assistance and other vital services like pre-race documentation, data analysis, and post-event support.

Even more, the in-person support at the racetrack may be supplemented with Corvette Racing and GM Motorsports engineering consultants, which will be able to deliver unrestricted remote engineering and operations support, ensuring an unhindered motorsport experience for their customers.

Setting Sights on the 2024 Championships

Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3\.R
Photo: Chevrolet
Chevrolet and Corvette Racing are geared up for a promising future as they set their sights on major sports car racing events in 2024.

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will witness a maximum of four Corvette Z06 GT3.R entries, spread between a mix of GTD PRO and GTD teams, at the starting line of the iconic Rolex 24. The global racing stage will also see two Corvette chassis bound for the FIA WEC with hopes of a double entry in the GT category, including the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans.

As Chevrolet Motorsports continues to evaluate future competition prospects, they will participate in SRO Motorsports, such as SRO America and the Intercontinental GT Challenge.

And with that, the scene is set for the hotly-anticipated arrival of the Z06 GT3.R in the 2024 championships, marking a new chapter in the vibrant history of Corvette Racing. At the moment, the two-year testing program concluded with promising results. Furthermore, the full-fledged customer support program that Chevrolet will deploy will ensure a seamless experience for teams on and off the track.

As Chevrolet and Corvette Racing gear up for their next challenges in the following 2024 championships, the question remains: will the Z06 GT3.R live up to the legacy of its predecessors and rule supreme on the racetracks of the world? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure, the motorsports world is on the edge of its seat, eagerly awaiting the thrill of those races.

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About the author: Dan Marinescu
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Since his early childhood, Dan developed an avid passion for cars and, now he sees himself as a genuine petrolhead. His enthusiasm comes from his father, an automotive engineer. They love to reminisce about the days when his dad showed him the inner workings of an engine and why everything does what it does.
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