Corvette C6R GTE: A championship winning formula
The 61st annual 2013 Sebring 12 hours kicked off the final year of the ALMS season with Corvette Racing capturing first place in the GT category. This will be the last 12-hour race that will take place before the merger with Grand Am in 2014. Corvette Racing finished this last ALMS Sebring race in style with their remarkable victory in their Corvette C6R GTE. They won after a hard fought battle to the finish with a Risi Ferrari. Drivers Tommy Milner, Richard Westbrook, and Oliver Gavin extracted maximum performance out of the Corvette to take the victory.
The winning Pratt & Miller C6R’s are also winning with private teams in Europe. The French team, Larbre Competition, is set to continue their winning formula this weekend in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), as well as the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hours in June. Larbre Competition entered the famed 12 Hours in 2011 when the ACO created the Intercontinental Le Mans Challenge (ILMC). After a difficult first race at Sebring in 2011, the Larbre returned in 2012 in the renamed FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and ultimately captured 3rd and 5th in the GTE-Am category.
In 2013 the Competition will face a new team with a C6R GTE racing against them. Dutch Corvette C6R team V8 Racing will compete this year with their new GTE C6R and their current classic C6R "GT1". After a successful shakedown test in Barcelona (and further testing this week in Portimao), V8 Racing looks set to take the fight for this year’s GT Open Championship against Ferrari's, Aston Martins, and Porsche's.
Since its (full season) debut in 2010, the Pratt & Miller built GT2/GTE machines have captured several class victories and championships in the US and abroad (with the FIA WEC). These results have impacted several sports car racing series that has added pressure to their rivals to increase their performance. They are learning that is it difficult to beat these battle hardened American veteran racers.
The private efforts in Europe and abroad, cement the passion for Corvette with the teams who race them and the fans that attend, to see them race. "The C5R concept was simple: a big engine, big tires, good handling and a driver that knew how to use it", explains experienced C5R/C6R driver Bert Longin. "The C6R was technically more evolved than the C5R and took a little bit longer to understand the details when you were pushing it. But the keyword in the success of both Corvettes is their great power output and astonishing reliability. It simply didn't break."
"The current GTE C6.R that I am now driving is a very good car", explains Tommy Milner. "It has great torque from the engine and is able to brake and put down all of that power very well. It has proven to be a winner throughout its life (including recently at Sebring)."
The current cars winning history will be overshadowed with the arrival of the 7th generation Corvette. The C7R will be the eventual successor of the current Championship winning C6R. The impact that the new C7 will have on GT racing will be as significant as when the original C6R was launched in 2005. This new racer will continue the winning heritage of the C5R and C6R that it will replace.
“Racing improves the breed and there is no better example than the C7 and C7 race car.”, explains Tommy Milner. “As was the case with C6, the designers at GM took lessons learned from the race track and applied that to the new C7. I'm looking forward to testing the C7R sometime in the second half of the year and racing it next year!”
Fans across the globe are anxious for the C7R to take center stage to compete against the worlds best sports cars in the US and the international stage. It will debut at the 2014 24 Hours of Daytona and 2014 12 Hours of Sebring in the new Unified racing series in the US.