2021 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R #63 Pilot: A. Garcia, J. Taylor, N. Catsburg Team: Corvette Racing Race: 21st overall (2nd in LMGTE-Pro class) at Le Mans in 2021 Spark - S8259 (resin)
In July of 2019, Chevrolet showed the world its eighth generation (C8) of the Corvette. First introduced in 1953, the Corvette is one of the world’s most recognizable sports cars. Manufacturers are always evolving their most successful cars, and the same happened with the Corvette. However, the eighth generation of the car was radically different from its predecessors. For the first time, Chevrolet made a mid-engine Corvette. The new engine layout is a HUGE deal, since it has a tremendous impact on the car’s handling. For the first time a Corvette was in a level playing field with the best from Porsche, Ferrari and McLaren. Up until the C8, the Corvette could only keep up with the competition in a straight line. With the engine now behind the passenger cabin, the dynamic behavior of the Corvette sensibly improved.
The development of the C8 began in 2016. When completed, it was completely different from the previous C7. Due to the engine now positioned behind the passengers, Chevrolet had to make many adjustments. For instance, the passenger cabin advanced 420 mm and trunk volume shrinked 15%, even with two storage spaces front and rear. In terms of power plant, even though based on the previous C7 unit, the C8’s engine is also new. The new power plant is a 6.2-liters naturally aspirated V8 that delivers 490 hp. All that power goes to the rear wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, allowing a 0-100 km/h in just 2.8 seconds. With the optional Z51 Performance package, the C8 can reach an impressive 310 km/h of top speed. Not bad, for less than US$ 60.000,00 at launch. Chevrolet released two versions, the coupe and a convertible with a folding hard top.
The whole objective of a mid-engine Corvette was to improve handling and performance. And that improvement would mostly be noticeable at the race track. Consequently, Chevrolet partnered with Pratt & Miller and right away started the development of the C8.R. The first car was ready in late 2019, debuting at Daytona, in January of 2020. The C8.R uses a stock C8 chassis, stiffened and lightened by Pratt & Miller, which also adds a steel roll cage. The C8.R’s engine, called LT6.R, is a naturally aspirated 5.5-liters V8 with a flat-plane crankshaft and DOHC. It has dry sump lubrication and direct fuel injection, delivering 500 hp and 650 Nm of torque. The gearbox is a 6-speed sequential unit by Xtrac.
At the 2020 24 Hours of Daytona the C8.R finished second in class. Afterward, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the racing calendar suffered many alterations. Nonetheless, the C8.R achieved an 82% GTLM podium ratio, winning both the GTLM manufacturer and drivers’ championships. Due to the pandemic, Corvette Racing didn’t race at Le Mans that year. However, in 2021 they had two cars in the race, C8.R #63 and #64. While car #64 had a heap of bad luck and finished last, #63 fared much better. Piloted by Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg, C8.R #63 came in 21st place overall and second in the LMGTE-Pro class.
In scale, the C8.R #63 is nothing short of great. Spark did an impeccable job, and the model looks outstanding. This was a model that I lusted for, and was a buy-first-ask-price-later case. As soon as I learned that the C8.R would race at La Sarthe, I wanted one. Or more accurately, I needed one. Yet, with the hard time that I had to get my C7.R, I was worried I wouldn’t get one. Nonetheless, my trusted dealer (MVR*) secured one for me and here it is. In the end, a true grail model.
*I suspect he wants to see me flat broke… 😣