The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette, aka C8, was finally revealed in July, but Chevy isn’t stopping there. The automaker is rolling out a racing version of the new Corvette, dubbed the C8.R. The race car, which hits the track in 2020, should get a performance boost from the new Corvette’s mid-engine design.
Chevy has considered doing a mid-engine Corvette for decades, but finally pulled the trigger on the 2020 model. Moving the engine from the front of the car to middle makes for better weight distribution. That should make the Corvette better to drive on the road, but will be even more important on the track where every tenth of a second shaved from a lap time counts. The racing version was developed alongside the road car, helping to improve both versions in the process, according to Jim Campbell, Chevy’s U.S. vice president of performance and motorsports.
“The C8.R is 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, and engineering, and the Corvette racing team,” Campbell said in a statement.
No details on the powertrain have emerged yet, but the C8.R will likely use a modified version of the road-going C8 Corvette’s 6.2-liter V8. The engine may not make the same 495 horsepower, however, as racing rules may restrict output. The race car will still be faster than the road car, at any rate, owing to a lower curb weight, better aerodynamics, and upgraded tires and brakes.
The C8.R will race in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GTLM class, which encompasses modified versions of production cars. The competition will include the Porsche 911 and Ferrari 488. The Ford GT and BMW M8 also currently race in the class, but Ford and BMW may soon pull the plugs on their respective racing programs. Besides beating rivals, the C8.R has a legacy to live up to. The current Corvette racing program has been around for 20 years, with 107 race victories. Chevy claims that’s the most of any professional sports car team in North America.
The Corvette C8.R will make its racing debut at the 2020 Rolex 24 at Daytona, the 24-hour race that kicks off the IMSA season. The race car was unveiled alongside the 2020 Corvette convertible, which gets a folding hardtop roof for the first time.