Once a factory racing team steps into the frame you quickly realize how wide the gap is between amateur and professionals. Everything from stepped endplates on the front splitter to big extended rear diffusers sees wind tunnel time. If it doesn’t contribute to real downforce or lowering drag you will not find it on a factory Corvette racing car. By contrast, it would seem that many amateur time attackers simply invest in the “bigger is better” philosophy. Everything on the C7.R from the curve in the rear wing to the way air is vented out of the rear bumper is tested to make real gains. Nothing is left to chance.
Bobby Moore’s Bonneville Racer
A low drag feast for the eyes this car shows you exactly what it takes to become the world’s fastest Corvette. Clocked at 271.044mph the 110 octane fueled 501 cu. in. engine produces 1,100 horsepower. The biggest take away from this car is that there is no giant front splitter, no rear diffuser and no huge wing hanging off the back. Top speed is all about low drag and stability. They even cover the wheels to take things to the nth degree. Note the lack of side mirrors. It all adds up.
The Haltech C5 shows the immediate contrast between a circuit based racer and an all-out top speed monster. One of the first things you’ll notice is the need for cooling in the front. Again, this adds drag, but it’s a trade-off in circuit racing that is necessary. Huge canards come off the front bumper like tusks to help with aerodynamic balance and a moderately sized splitter protrudes out with tiny endplates that help keep air flowing correctly. Not the lack of side skirts compared to our next car. Rear wing sits more or less in line with the roof.
Recently spotted at a night test, the C8.R was photographed offering unique insight into the aerodynamics of the newest factory Chevy race car. By relocating the engine to the mid-rear position you can see a noticeable reduction in the height of the hood. Gone is the V8 lump that required a bulbously shaped hood that was commonly seen in the past. From an aerodynamic perspective, this seems to have allowed engineers to lower frontal area which is one of the most crucial aspects of any slipper racing machine. Huge scoops in front of the rear wheels look much larger than on the C7.R which is a great example of how venting requirements change depending on engine position. Side mirrors have also been trimmed down.
Salvaged Pikes Peak Car
This salvage titled Corvette Z06 is the fastest Vette to ever ascend the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Clearly, there is something to this car and aero is playing a big role, so what are we looking at? Well, a huge front splitter is a good example of increasing surface area to use more air with larger dive planes at the end to keep the flow in control. This is more or less what you are likely to see at your typical track day weekend and is a representation of how little you need to do to a Corvette from the factory to make a difference. If anything, this car is the one that is most impressive as it shows how much can be done by doing so little. It also puts into perspective what the C7.R and C8.R are truly capable of. Hope you enjoyed reading.