Corvette Racing is currently developing its second-generation C7.R, making minor adjustments to the car in order to prepare it for the 2016 WeatherTech (not TUDOR) SportsCar Championship. Most of the changes teams must adhere to for 2016 center around new safety requirements, and their new cars must be ready in time for the IMSA-sanctioned test at Daytona International Speedway in mid-November.
For 2016 the GTLM class will adopt new rules that will ensure all teams have a roof mounted escape hatch in their cars for 2016, just as FIA-sanctioned touring car series will.
“You must have a designated, well-designed area that will allow safety personnel to remove the hatch and slip a backboard in behind the driver before the extricate him. That’s not saying extrication will take place through the hatch, but the application of the neck braces and backboard will.
“And that’s a pretty big deal, because you can’t just cut apart your roll cage and make an opening there,” Fehan explained. “The body and chassis structure in the C7.R is so carefully integrated that the multiple changes must be made to properly add a hatch.”
“Other than that,” Fehan said, “for us, it’s pretty much confined to aerodynamic tweaks – things now allowed by the rules that should help us gain a little more speed and mileage. But to look at the cars, there will be no real discernable difference between this year and next year.”
Also helping Corvette Racing in 2016, RACER explains, is a rule change regarding fuel. This year in the TUDOR championship Corvette Racing uses E85 (85 percent ethanol, 15 percent fuel), however much less ethanol is used in the fuel at Le Mans. Because engines that run E85 have a different compression ratio, the team formerly had to completely change engines when going racing at Le Mans. This year, both WeatherTech and the WEC will use the same ethanol/fuel mix.