Corvette Racing burst onto the GT scene in 1999 with the Corvette C5-R, a Pratt & Miller-built racer with a purpose-built small-block V8 engine put together by Michigan-based company Katech Inc. and a five-speed H-pattern transmission.
The C5-R was successful in its debut American Le Mans Series season, taking a number of podiums in the GTS class, including a third-place finish in its first-ever race at the 1999 24 Hours of Daytona.
Midway through the 1999 racing season, Corvette Racing upgraded the original 6.0-liter Katech-built V8 to a larger 7.0-liter V8 LS1.R motor, which would be the engine that powered the car for the remainder of its racing career. This upgraded engine powered the team to its first-ever victory in the 2000 ALMS season at Texas Motor Speedway, which they backed up with a second victory at Road America just two rounds later.
Between 1999 and 2004, the Corvette C5-R took 31 victories in the ALMS, along with overall victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and 24 Hours of Daytona in 2001. With results like these, it’s easy to see why the C5-R is one of the America’s iconic race cars and an important piece of General Motors racing history.
YouTuber 19Bozzy92 recently filmed a Corvette C5-R during a free practice session for the Dix Mille Tours historic racing event at France’s Circuit Paul Ricard. According to him, this particular chassis is C5R-002, which was originally built at the very end of 1998 and then raced throughout the 1999 and 2000 seasons. As we mentioned above, the car was originally fitted with a 6.0-liter Katech V8 before an upgraded 7.0-liter LS1.R engine was installed later on during the 1999 season. It has a Hewland-manufactured five-speed manual gearbox, with Corvette Racing not employing a six-speed manual in the C5-R until the car’s final season in 2004.
If you’re a Corvette Racing fan, you won’t want to miss this high-quality video of the Corvette C5-R. It features both onboard footage and fly-bys, giving us a rare glimpse of the legendary racing Vette in action. Check it out embedded below.