Work is already underway on a brand-new C7.R which will meet new safety and Balance of Performance rules, Corvette Racing team boss Doug Fehan said. One of the major changes is the addition of a safety hatch in the roof, a requirement with the new rule changes.
“When you look [at the new car], the untrained eye will not see any difference at all,” Fehan told Sportscar365 of the new C7.R.
Some manufacturers may opt to use a larger displacement engine in 2016 after receiving a waiver from the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) to do so. Fehan says Corvette Racing could have done this (maybe even going with the 6.2-liter displacement the road car boasts?) but explained using the battle hardened 5.5-liter engine is their safest bet.
“We’ve got a lot of R&D in that engine,” he told Sportscar 365. “From an economics standpoint, we have a tremendous investment to the tooling and the parts. We have a bunch of heads and engine blocks. To change, we’d have to scrap all that.”
Many automakers are expected to switch to turbocharged engines in 2016, something Fehan has expressed concern over. He says “nobody has successfully balanced turbos and naturally aspirated engines,” in his career, but acknowledges the two may be more equal with modern day technologies.
The two next-generation C7.Rs are already under construction at Pratt & Miller’s workshop in Michigan. Initial testing is expected to be complete this summer, with Balance of Performance tests for the new cars set for September.