Racing Corvette will make its racing debut in January 2020, the C8 convertible will also be available around the same time.
Chevy has surprised us over and over with the C8 so far and while it decided to ditch the tonneau for a hardtop on the vert starting at $67K, the maverick of the Oct. 2 show at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida was actually the C8.R—no question.
While we know the Corvette Racing Team will undoubtedly have a presence at 24 Hours of Daytona 2020, the racing variant of the production Corvettes have typically been revealed at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. Since the auto show will take place in June for 2020 this time (it was traditionally held in January for 31 years), it makes sense that Chevy would announce it way earlier than that. Especially considering the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season starts at the beginning of the year in Daytona. But we honestly didn’t think it would be revealed alongside the vert at the same time.
While details are purposely scant for obvious reasons, we do know that the C8.R will not simply be a dressed-up, finely-tweaked version of the consumer Vette. It will actually pack some powerful goodies, and all signs point to flatplane crank configuration.
“The C8.R is much 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, Engineering and the Corvette Racing team,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. vice president of Performance and Motorsports, in a recent press statement. “The collaboration between these teams has allowed us to take these vehicles’ performance to the next level, both on the street and the track.”
We already know that the production version of the C8 with a Z51 package is capable of doing 0-60 in under three seconds. However, we strongly suspect Chevrolet will most likely make 2020 the year it switches to flatplane for its racing powerplant, considering the Z06 and ZR1 are also going this route for the C8. The leaked C8.R video at Sebring we saw earlier this year from YouTuber Lanky Turtle pretty much all but confirms this to be true. Listen to the exhaust note. It’s pretty obvious.
And, of course, it makes sense. As Chevrolet indicated during the C8 coupe reveal back in July, they reached the limits of a front-engine layout for the Corvette with the C7, so a mid-engine application was simply inevitable (especially considering it was 60 years in the making anyway). Given this, the departure from the traditional cross-plane/pushrod config was also unavoidable.