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 |  Aug 04 2009, 10:17 PM

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Corvette Racing today unveiled its new GT2-spec C6.R racer and invited folks to listen in on a conference call with those responsible for running the team as well as one of the drivers of the No. 3 car, Johnny O’Connell.

For years Corvette Racing has ran a team of cars in the top-level GT1 category in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but decided to move to the lower GT1 class for several reasons, namely the competition and the marketing potential. For starters, the GT2-spec C6.R is closely based on the new ZR1, whereas the old GT1 cars had little in common with their road-going counterparts. Being so closely related to a street car is ideal for marketing.

“With the international regulations converging around a single GT class, Corvette Racing will continue its motorsports heritage by racing against manufacturers and marques that Corvette competes with in the marketplace, while also increasing the production content of the C6.R race car and the relevance of racing to our customers,” said Mark Kent, GM Racing manager. “This is truly a step that positions Corvette Racing for the future of production-based sports car racing worldwide, and a move that is perfectly aligned with GM’s marketing and business objectives in racing.”

As for the competition, the GT1 class has heated up over the past few years. Traditionally dominated by Porsche, Ferrari is now a major contender. Additional players include BMW, Aston Martin and Panoz. Competition on GT1 is almost non-existent now as Corvette Racing has developed into such a dominating sport over the years (beating Ferrari, Aston Martin, Saleen and Dodge).

“There was literally very little competition on a global basis to race in the existing GT1 category,” said Doug Fehan, Corvette Racing program manager.

As for the cars themselves, they will be much closer to the street legal ZR1 in both appearance and makeup. Using a production aluminum frame (as opposed to a steel one like in the GT1 cars), this new C6.R will share identical proportions with the ZR1, with the lone exception being flared fenders. The front splitter and rear wing will also be much smaller, decreasing downforce considerably. And whereas the GT1 car used carbon ceramic brakes, the new GT2 car will have to make due with steel ones.

Under the hood, Corvette Racing has modified the 7.0-liter GT1 powerplant, adding a new crankshaft to decrease the displacement to 6.o-liters (as the rules demand). A new engine is also in development for 2010 when the rules change to limit the maximum displacement to 5.5-liters. According to Fehan this new engine will be based on a production 5.5-liter V8 that is planned for future GM products. The Corvette Racing GT2-spec C6.R will make its racing debut at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 6-8. Familiar faces Johnny O’Connell and Jan Magnussen will share the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R, and Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta will drive the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6. R.

GALLERY: GT2 Corvette C6.R

corvette-c6.r-gt2-new-(3).jpgcorvette-c6.r-gt2-new-(17).jpgcorvette-c6.r-gt2-new-(4).jpgcorvette-c6.r-gt2-new-(6).jpg Read a transcript of the full teleconference after the jump: Continue Reading…