Chevrolet and Pratt Miller have worked together to incorporate a number of features into the GT3.R, building on safety construction from the C8.R. The Z06 GT3 features a side-impact crash structure between the driver’s side door and roll cage. Pioneered in the C7.R, the box features an outer casing of carbon fiber and Kevlar, and is filled with an aluminum honeycomb construction.
The GT3 Corvette’s integrated steel roll cage is slightly modified from the current racing Corvette to provide easier ingress and egress.
The reveal of the Z06 GT3.R follows a two-year testing program. Virtual simulation through Chevrolet’s Driver in the Loop simulator began in early 2021.
The first on-track test of the Z06 GT3.R took place in September 2022 — which means the Z06 GT3.R will have a full year of on-track development when it gets into the hands of customers in the third quarter of 2023.
“We’re all very pleased with the results from the track testing program so far,” said Laura Wontrop Klauser, GM sports car racing program manager. “What’s even more encouraging is the correlation between simulator sessions and what we’re finding in the real-world track testing. It’s another level of validation that gives us confidence in the development process.”
Driven by success
The Z06 GT3.R is the latest in a line of championship-winning Corvette racecars that date back to the late 1990s and the introduction of Corvette Racing and the Corvette C5-R. Entering its 25th season, the program has scored 122 race victories around the world, including 113 in IMSA competition.
Those wins have led to 14 Manufacturer’s and Driver’s championships and 15 Team titles. No team in IMSA history has won more races or championships than Corvette Racing in that span.
The mid-engine C8.R — the predecessor of the Z06 GT3.R — has won 15 times around the world since its on-track debut in 2020. The 2023 season will be its second and last with a dual program in both the WeatherTech Championship and the FIA WEC. The latter will move from the current GTE regulations to the global GT3 platform beginning in 2024.
Customer support and options
Chevrolet and Corvette Racing is establishing a complete customer support program that will be available to teams running the Z06 GT3.R in North America and elsewhere around the world.
An at-track parts truck will be a fixture at North American race events starting in 2024 with expansion to overseas support ramping up in the first two years of the Z06 GT3.R program.
Corvette Racing will carry full spares packages of bodywork and internal components for its customer teams in supported championships. On the technical side, engineers will assist teams with items such as pre-race documentation, including chassis setup and data sharing plus post-event documentation, data analysis, and relative comparisons.
Full engineering, race strategy and other items also are incremental support options for Corvette Z06 GT3.R customer teams.
Customer integration doesn’t stop at the racetrack. Corvette Racing and GM Motorsports engineers will be available for remote engineering and operations support.
“Supporting our customers is an area where we are putting in a lot of time and effort,” said Christie Bagne, GM assistant sports car racing program manager. “With this being our first customer GT3 offering, we have had meetings with many prospective customers to learn from their previous experiences, find what is important to them from a support standpoint and come up with a program that meets their expectations.”
The 2024 championships
For 2024, Chevrolet and Corvette Racing will continue targeting key sports car racing championships with North American and global entries.
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will see up to four Corvette Z06 GT3.R entries with a mix of GTD PRO and GTD teams starting with the 2024 Rolex 24.
Two Corvette chassis will be bound for FIA WEC in hopes of a double entry in the yet-to-be-named GT category, which would include the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Chevrolet Motorsports will also be evaluating opportunities to be represented in SRO Motorsports including SRO America and the Intercontinental GT Challenge.
Specific team announcements including drivers will be announced at a later date.
“This has been an intense but very rewarding process,” Klauser said. “From the time we announced a Corvette GT3 car, I’ve received more inquiries than I can count. It’s a testament to a known product like Corvette, the minds behind design, development and build, and the quarter-century success of Corvette Racing.”
[i] Assembled from US and globally sourced parts.