While brief, this clip gives us a glimpse of Corvette Racing’s latest challenger in action at what appears to Kennedy Space Center – the same place the new racer debuted alongside the 2020 Corvette Convertible during a special event this week.
As a fan-shot video first revealed last year, and which this new video backs up, the Corvette C8.R has a much higher engine note than the Corvette C7.R it replaces. There are a handful of explanations floating around the internet for the race car’s radical exhaust pitch, but the most convincing is that it features a newly developed dual-overhead-camshaft V8 with a flat-plane crankshaft. To put it very simply, a flat-plane V8 has a different firing order than a cross-plane V8, which in some scenarios can lend itself to a more high-pitched note.
As per IMSA rules, any car competing in the GTLM class (which the Corvette C8.R will certainly fall within) must be “derived from a series production engine produced at more than 300 units and fitted to a series vehicle from the same manufacturer.” While the chest-thumping Corvette C7.R features a race-specific cross-plane crank 5.5-liter pushrod V8, its design is based on a Small Block, rendering it legal for competition. Similarly, the Corvette C8.R’s engine could be heavily based on the C8 road car’s but feature some different elements and still be legal per IMSA rules. As such, this makes it quite hard to say if the C8.R’s unique engine note is indicative of the arrival of a road-going flat-plane crank Corvette C8.
We’re getting a bit carried away with speculation, so for now, check out the first official video of the Corvette C8.R in action embedded below and feel free to discuss this radical new racer in the comment section. It will make its competition debut at the 2020 Rolex 24 at Daytona in late January, by which time we should have much more information on Corvette Racing’s latest challenger.