Ever since GM got back into full-fledged factory-backed racing with the Chevrolet Corvette, the automaker partnered with Michigan engineering firm Pratt & Miller to build and develop the cars. The lineage that began with the C5.R debuting at the 1999 Rolex 24 at Daytona culminated in this, the new Z06 GT3.R that will make its racing debut at Daytona next year. Pratt & Miller Team Manager Ben Bode gave quick walkaround tour of the new car that also represents a new racing organizational arrangement, GM stepping back from running the program, instead selling the Z06 GT3.R to select teams for $735,000 apiece. This is probably as close as one could get to a factory team, though, with Pratt & Miller leading the umbrella racing program that’s still called Corvette Racing, and entering its own cars. Note the new livery on the GT3 car, with branding for OshKosh, Pratt & Miller’s parent company, in places like the cowl. Two Corvettes will line up at the 2024 Rolex 24 at Daytona, giving members of the Pratt & Miller Motorsports Collective close instruction on how Jake attempts to win.
Customer teams haven’t been announced. It’s no surprise that GM fielded more requests than the automaker expected, however, seeing how much silverware Corvettes have taken home over the decades. Last we heard, customer teams could end up running a second IMSA campaign, and at least two cars will be registered in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s GT3 class. More outings are under consideration, potentially putting cars in SRO America’s Fanatec GT World Challenge America and Intercontinental GT Challenge.
Per GT3 specs, the new challenger starts with a production Z06 aluminum chassis. Everything hung on it is all new compared to the C8.R that raced from 2020 to 2023. New mechanical and aero solutions include a center cooling exit for the radiator, which frees up the former cooling exits in the front fenders to be used as pure air extractors reducing lift at the front. And of course, there’s the all-new 5.5-liter V8 that’s done more than 6,000 miles of testing since late 2021. Some of those testing miles came in the new car during shakedown runs at Sebring. The new mill doesn’t produce the same subterranean bass as the old, but to paraphrase Enzo Ferrari, engine sounds are neither beautiful nor ugly, they become beautiful when they win.
Aero geeks who want insight into another aspect of the Z06 GT3.R that makes even less noise than the engine but is just as crucial to victory should check out Pratt & Miller’s AeroSynthesis Webinar. Sixty-six days until the green flag drops in Florida.