At this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, Corvette Racing driver Marcel Fassler went head-on into the barrier at the famed Porsche Curves section of the track, having been being punted off at high speed by an amateur driver in a Porsche 911 GTE.
After the crash, Fassler said he was happy that the Corvette C7.R was the “safest GT car in the field”—high praise for the Pratt & Miller squad that puts the yellow Vettes together. Fassler may be a contracted GM employee, but his statement wasn’t hyperbole—the Corvette C7.R is truly one of the safest tin-top race cars in the world, and that’s because the team is always looking for ways to keep its drivers safe.
In a recent video put together by Mobil 1 The Grid, Corvette Racing explained the various innovations it has implemented to keep its drivers safe. One of the most important safety items on the Corvette C7.R is the driver’s side “crash box,” a metal structure designed to take the brunt of the damage should the car get t-boned by another race car or slide into the barrier on the driver’s side.
The crash box is far from the only safety innovation the team has put in place. They were the first team to determine that having an adjustable seat was a safety issue, so they started using a fixed seat with an adjustable steering column instead. Now it’s against the rules to have an adjustable seat in the GTE/GTLM class. There are other items, too, such as leg boards, a collapsing steering column as well as the rear-facing camera and car identification system—the latter of which is now commonplace, but Corvette Racing and technical partner Bosch had it before anyone else.
Corvette Racing says General Motors is always on board with new safety features and helps the team implement them whenever they come up with new ones. The team also heads back to the drawing board after major crashes, such as Jan Magnussen’s at Monterey in 2009, to see which parts of the car they can improve.
With the forthcoming introduction of the Corvette C8.R, you can be sure the team will take yet another leap forward with regards to safety. The mid-engine car will make its competition debut at the 2020 Rolex 24 at Daytona in late January.
Check out the video embedded below to see and hear how Corvette Racing builds the safest GT cars in the world.