The Chevrolet Corvette C5-R was the race-going equivalent version of the Chevrolet Corvette C5. The C5-R was constructed by Pratt & Miller and ran by Corvette Racing, which was the first race car and team to receive full factory backing by General Motors. The C5-R competed in the GTS class and won multiple championships in the American Le Mans Series and took victories in its class at Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring. The C5-R was replaced by its successor the C6.R in 2005.
Corvette Racing Program and C5-R inception
Since the introduction of the Corvette in 1953 they have competed at the race track. Corvette had taken class victories at the world’s biggest stage with wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Sebring and Daytona. Despite its success GM never wanted the Corvette to race therefore a factory backed racing program was never created. Even the ‘Father of the Corvette’ Zora Arkus-Duntov built the Grand Sport in secret under GMs nose in 1963. In later years when GM wanted to promote their brands via motorsports, they would still be discrete about being involved despite having a rather intense factory assistance. In the 1980s, when the Corvette GTP competed in IMSA (International Motor Sport Association), it was still very much a “back door” type of program. The Corvette GTP project was very complex and required factory assistance for its development, yet still it was raced by the Hendrick Racing team, with very little visible factory support or ties.
It was Doug Fehan that would change this approach when he would pitch General Motors in the early 1990s about starting a fully factory backed motorsport program. Previously Fehan had working on GM racing programs with Buick in the IMSA series in the late 1980s. Despite the success of the Buick, Fehan grew frustrated with the lack of acknowledgment from GM. He noticed that GM racing programs were forced to operate under clandestine conditions. Fehan was witnessed that across the board, racing didn’t exist within GM. If a GM backed team won a race, there was no recognition.
In 1992, Fehan approached GM with a plan, which he called the American Patriot. His idea was to build and sell a high-performance car, which would then fund a racing program. Fehan had been working with Pratt & Miller that had built and raced the Intrepid in GTP. He wanted to use them for the American Patriot program but at the time the race team was bleeding around $2 Million a day. Therefore when it came to Fehan asking the board to start the new project, they gave him the nod but he was unable to get the support to get the project rolling. This lead to unfortunately not much coming of the American Patriot project, however later when the development of the new fifth generation Chevrolet Corvette started, GM would readdress the American Patriot program with the new C5 Corvette in mind.
Fehan had seen the early enthusiasm within GM about the new fifth generation Corvette. They were claiming it was going to be the finest Corvette ever built and arguably the best car that General Motors had ever built. They were proud from top to bottom, from a quality standpoint and technological as it represented the most advanced technology within the company at the time. This caused Herb Fishel to suggest that the C5 maybe the perfect base to revive the American Patriot concept. Fehan believed that if they were going ahead with it then they would need full factory involvement. Fehan would assembled a new program and business plan with a template that he could structure the teams efforts around full factory support.
With his new presentation Fehan made his proposal in front of the management within GM. He told them the project’s factory support could not be under the radar like previously. Fehan went with an aggressive approach as he wanted to see this project done the correct way and demanded his team would need two years for development before it would race. After finishing his presentation the room was silent until finally the General Manager of Chevrolet at the time – John Middlebrook, broke the silence and said to the others it was ‘a hell of a plan’, to which they responded ‘it would work’.
This would end the back door approach to racing programs at GM. Some were afraid it may upset many of the long term supporters or those that were recipients of that support. John Heinricy was one of those whom had been running with that support, but he was in full agreement and that Fehan and his team should proceed.
Development of the C5-R
After Fehan secured the backing of General Motors, the program could start its development. They started by driving a factory stock C5 Corvette into the workshop with little idea of what to do with it. Their plan was to just build a race car from the Corvette by utilizing the components and adding race tires, a lightweight body, then go out for a run and see what happens with no specific series in mind.
There was two constructors selected to building and developing the race cars: Pratt & Miller and Riley & Scott. The race car was very close to the factory car and in 1998 the cars were built and ready for testing. Fehan was really impressed with how great of a road car the C5 Corvette was and knowing they would going down the path of a production based series, it would translate into a great race car. This meant little modifications had to be made to the factory frame to make it more competitive. This would prove to be one of the keys to what would be the success of the car. Thanks to the factory C5s hydro-formed frame rails, which the process is to take a large tube, then mandrel bend it into shape, block up both ends, put it in a die, inject high-pressure water into it, which then forms the frame rails. It makes the wall thickness very uniform throughout the entire complex shape, which in result creates an extremely lightweight and very strong frame. This was important as the frame is really the backbone of the race car, and due to this process GM had taken it allowed the team to build a race car capable of competing with the world’s best, with some very high technology.
The engine would be developed by Katech engine development. Katech specialist Kevin Pranger and GM Racing engine development engineer John Rice would lead the development of the LS1 race engine in 1997. Even though the GTS class displacement limit was set at 8.0 liters, Katech had opted to only increase the LS1’s 5.6 liter displacement to 6.0 liters. This decision was made due to the FIA had restricted the GTS class engines output to 600 hp via air restrictors. Katech felt they could produce that power with a modest increase in displacement.
Even though the C5-R engines were production based they were built with racing being at the forefront. A Kinsler port fuel injection system with downdraft individual throttle bodies for each cylinder fed the engine. The racing ignition system featured eight production coils that were mounted on the top of the rocker arm covers. These coil packs were joined by a pair of modules located on a shelf at the front of the engine above the pulleys. The engine internally had been overhauled thanks to the cylinder head ports being enlarged. The valvetrain and crankshaft were constructed of dedicated racing materials and components. The compression ratio had been raised from the factory 10.5 to 12.5:1 and the oiling system had been switched to a dry sump, which pumped the oil through a cooler into a remote tank before returning to the engine.
In 1998 the Chrysler Viper GTS-R was seeing huge success in the international racing arena. The Viper was competing in the GT2 class, which featured rules that seemed to meet the development path of the C5-R. The Viper was attempting to rival the Corvette on the road by being the first real threat to the Corvette’s crown as ‘America’s sports car’. This stirred the motivation into settling on the series the C5-R would compete in as they wanted to take on the Viper at the showroom and at the race track. After settling on developing the car for the GT2 class for the PSCR (Professional Sports Car Racing) series they knew the direction they could build the car based on the homologation rules. The rules at the time required that a car must be built from a production based chassis and the engine must too be built from a production base, however changes to the suspension was permitted. Some of the production components were causing a lack of pace throughout testing, but gradually the team were able to take advantage of the rules and incorporate more changes into the car. Down the line this would translate into filtering those improvements back into the production vehicle.
Despite the rules around the suspension, the C5-R in its early development featured the production based upper control arms. These rules aligned perfectly with GMs vision of wanting to maintain as many production components as possible, as they wanted to keep the race car as close as possible to the streetcar essentially making the race car a marketing tool. For this reason the team tried to keep everything as secret as possible during the development stages, going into great lengths not to raise any suspicion to the public or the press. For two years of testing and development during 1997 and 1998 the team went unnoticed, however this was quite the chore. The team used a small clandestine, completely unmarked fifth-wheel trailer, with the race car was completely unmarked and they went to various small venues and secretly tested the car until they felt they had a car capable of debuting.
For the testing two drivers were recruited; Canadian – Ron Fellows and American – Chris Kneifel. When the testing started, Ron and Chris knew of each other, but really had no relationship as they were competitors having raced against each other in the Trans Am series, with Ron racing for Ford and Chris for Chevy. It was Fellows success as a Ford driver that really landing him a drive for GM. After winning the Detroit Trans-Am race, which was sponsored by Chevrolet that year – Herb Fishel presented him the winners trophy. Throughout Trans-Am the Detroit race was a big event and the rivalry between Ford and Chevrolet meant that Fellows and his Ford winning, certainly grabbed Fishels attention. Fishel later called Fellows and told Ron how much he had become a thorn in his side therefore he was hiring him. The following year Fellows won the Detroit race for Chevrolet.
Then the team were off and running, with the first test taking place in the fall of 1997. Chris Kneifel was the first driver to get in the car, when he shook it down in Michigan. The team was able to stay under the radar thanks to using a maroon Ford dually pickup to tow the white gooseneck trailer. The first shakedown of the car was at Grattan, a track near Grand Rapids, Michigan. The temperature was so cold that the team needed to wait for snow to melt before the car could get on the track. Thankfully, it was nothing more than a shakedown, a plumbing check, making sure the gearbox worked and other components.
In late 1997 the team headed to Atlanta Speedway for a three day test. They wanted to use the speedway to get some high-speed testing in. The team was using a part of the road course section of the track as well, which was rarely used and spent most of its time being a place to park cars during NASCAR events. In the early days of testing the car was really hard on tires. The tires would only survive five to six laps of optimum grip. On the third day of testing the right rear tire exploded at turn three of the oval. The car was pushing around 175 mph through that turn so unfortunately Kneifel hit the wall hard. The car was due to leave the next day for GM for a corporate unveiling. The wreck actually displayed to the team the integrity of the stock components of the car, as they did their job and protected the driver. Fortunately the team were able to repair the car, which was their main test mule they had put a lot of miles on.
Fellows and Kneifel tested the durability of the C5-R throughout its development. Reliability is one of the most important factors in endurance racing, so the team ran a test at Daytona simulating a 24 hour race. This was done by running six hours a day spread across four days. During these tests Kneifel experienced extreme cabin temperatures as the car was not insulated. He had burnt his feet and hip and after his stint he would throw ice over himself. Gary Pratt of Pratt & Miller came over and asked Kneifel why he didn’t stop the run early to which Kneifel replied you don’t stop in a 24 hour test as that would be a waste. It was that attitude that made the team what it is.
As the development of the car was coming to a close, the team needed to start looking to bring onboard more drivers. Endurance races require three drivers per car whereas most the races feature two drivers per car. The decision was made to bring onboard another American driver with Andy Pilgrim. Pilgrim had lots of experience prior to joining Corvette Racing and remained part of the Corvette Racing program until 2003. He was able to get behind the wheel in the new C5-R in November of 1998 during testing at Sebring. Pilgrim was unable to get a lot running time in the car but he was really impressed with the straight line speed and how well it handled. However he was made aware of the body roll, as at the time the engineers were struggling with trying to center the roll. He felt the car was very fast and had good brakes but still had a production car feel to it. Pilgrim was not concerned as he knew the car had potential thanks to the first-class operation Fehan and Pratt & Miller had put together. The team knew the car had its issues but Fehan had hand picked a team that was willing to work towards making the C5-R a race winner. This intense work ethic instilled from the get go, later would be recognized by the team motto of ‘Take No Prisoners’.
After the two years of testing and development the team felt enough improvements had been made for the car to make its debut in competition. Dr Donald Panoz in 1999 had taken over the PSCR series by starting the ALMS (American Le Mans Series). Panoz created a partnership with the ACO to begin a 10-hour endurance race in the spirit of Le Mans, dubbed the Petit Le Mans at his recently purchased race track: Road Atlanta. The inaugural Petit Le Mans took place in 1998 as a part of the Professional SportsCar Racing series, in which Panoz was an investor. For the 1999 season, the series was operating under its new brand as the American Le Mans Series, which adopted the ACO’s rulebook. This partnership with the ACO was designed to automatically allow ALMS teams to earn entries into the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The C5-R had been built to compete in the GTS class for the ALMS, however the debut would be one of the toughest events in motorsports to compete in as the C5-R would make its first ever start at the Rolex 24 hours at Daytona in 1999. A grueling 24 hour race taking on the seasoned Chrysler Viper. People would question Fehan on why would he want to debut the car at one of the world’s toughest races? He said there was two reasons – one being it makes great headline therefore it generates great interest and two: because the team felt the car was ready. The 24 Hours of Daytona at the time was ran by the United States Road Racing Championship (USRRC) and the C5-R would be entered in the GT2 class. Only minor changes had to be made to make the car eligible for GT2, which included switching the carbon ceramic brake rotors to cast iron rotors.
There was a lot of anticipation for the C5-Rs debut. A major PR program had been made prior to the race for GM to promote their new race program. The team was not only under pressure from the media and fans to show what the last two years of work had produced but major executives from GM and Chevrolet were present at the race to see how their money had been spent. The C5-R debuted with a silver and black livery as the team was sponsored by GM Goodwrench. 1999 would be the only year the car would run with this color scheme as 2000 would start the signature Yellow livery that Corvette Racing become world known for.
The race was almost the perfect storybook introduction for the C5-R as it just narrowly missed taking the victory. Unfortunately the infamous sand that spreads around the track at Daytona had been thickened by the rain throughout the race and was the culprit to stealing the top step of the podium from the team. This lead to a fault in the air filters that had allowed the sand to bypass its way into the LS1.Rs combustion chamber and after 20 hours of running, the cylinder bores were worn. Piston blow-by caused crankcase pressure to transition from negative to positive. The engine seals were designed to run with a vacuum in the crankcase so when the crankcase became pressurized due to the sand contamination, oil blew out past the seals. The aerodynamic characteristics of the flat underside and rear diffuser caused most of the oil to accumulate on the rear fascia of the car. By the later hours of the race, the rear of the C5-R was coated in oil and sand. The C5-R had managed to lead twenty of the twenty four hours of the race but finished third after the engine issues. Despite the victory slipping through the fingers of the team, the executives were very pleased with what they witnessed. They had noticed people were excited, racing was good for GM. There was a huge turnout from the Corvette Club and Corvette owners. Overall a lot of enthusiasm had been generated.
After competing at Daytona Fehan wanted to do the crown jewel of endurance racing – Le Mans. General Motors as a factory had never really competed at Le Mans and after Fehan pitched it to them there was some initial pushback but in the end they all agreed if the team felt they could do it, Le Mans would be the place to go. GM was aware the huge challenges Le Mans presented, but if the team could answer those challenges, competing at Le Mans would be the biggest victory for everyone involved.
The C5-Rs second race would take place at Sebring. Prior to competing at Sebring, Corvette Racing had met with the ACO (Automobile Club de l’Ouest) and had their C5-R inspected for eligibility to compete at Le Mans. The ACO is the organising entity behind the annual 24 Hours of Le Mans and if Doug Fehan was to accomplish the dream of the Corvette competing and winning at Le Mans, the ACO must approve the C5-R. Unfortunately the ACO pointed out many items that needed to be changed in order for the C5-R to be legal for Le Mans. Therefore the team built a second-generation car, which competed at Sebring that featured the changes the ACO had requested. Corvette Racing did not have the result they were looking for at Sebring with one of the cars spending a lot of time in the garage during the race due to a differential cooling pump issue and the second car finished in fourth. Whilst the team was competing at Sebring they took advantage of the ACO being present to take a look at their second-generation C5-R , however the ACO responded with “Absolutely not, not even close”. Fehan and the team knew they had delivered exactly what the ACO had asked for previously, yet they managed to keep calm and asked what needed to be changed. It took many different attempts as the ACO kept refusing the changes, which would lead to every time Fehan going back to management with the bad news. GM were beginning to think their time and money was being wasted, but Fehan made GM aware that these are the dues that needed to be paid. They had to be gracious, humble and play by the rules and if they did that, they would succeed. The team went back and built a third generation car at no small expense that was finally accepted by the ACO.
The team ran a limited season in 1999: Daytona, Sebring, Sears Point, Petit Le Mans, Laguna Seca and Las Vegas and would run a single car effort after Sebring. They used these races to develop the car, learning from its flaws and discovering what was needed to make the car competitive. Despite being a season dedicated to development, the C5-R was able to take some fights to the Chrysler Viper ran by the French team; Team Oreca. At Sears Point, Fellows and Kneifel battled hard in the GTS class to finish second to the lead Viper. Later in the season a repeat fight would occur at Laguna Seca, which ended with the same results. The final round of the 1999 ALMS season would also be a test for a potential larger displacement engine from the 6.0L V8. Katech developed a 7.0L V8 for the C5-R to run at Las Vegas allowing the team to consider if the increase in torque would outweigh the mandatory smaller air restrictors.
2000 Season and Le Mans debut
The 2000 season would introduce a new livery for the C5-R. Yellow covered most of the car whilst the sides from the fenders to the rear were colored white. The team would continue to be sponsored by GM Goodwrench. Pratt & Miller took over the sole Corvette Racing constructor, now running both cars. The first race for the team would be back at Daytona for another shot at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Still feeling bitter about the victory being stolen from them the previous year the team had something to prove.
The rivalry with the Chrysler Viper would yet again be in full swing as the race would feature a classic battle. The Corvette Racing team had learnt a lot from the previous year and reliability wasn’t an issue and the C5-R was able to give the Viper a good run for its money. However the pace of the Viper was slightly more than the Corvette and after 24 hours of racing the Corvette would fall second to the Viper by only a 30 second difference. The team went back to the factory and asked where they could find thirty seconds, It became very apparent that small things make a difference in a 24-hour race, no small detail was overlooked.
Despite the frustration there was a lot of confidence within the team after coming so close to their first every victory. Things really felt like they clicked during the Daytona race and it really became the turning point for the program. After being several laps down after three hours, and to come back to finish only 30 seconds to the leader was a bit of an empty feeling for the team but they knew if they did it right, they had the recipe for success. Early on the wins weren’t there, but they knew when they started to come, they would come in bunches. There was never any question that they were not going to be good, and without battling Olivier Beretta and Karl Wendlindger in the Vipers, Corvette Racing believes they would have struggled to make it to the level they are at today.
The second race of the season would take place at Sebring and after Ron Fellows put his C5-R on pole position during qualifying, the team really felt this was going to be their race. Unfortunately after battling early in the race for the lead the engine would suffer problems and forced the Fellows car to retire. The second car really wasn’t as competitive and finished sixth in its class. The Viper had an advantage in speed thanks to its 8.0L V10 and if the C5-R was going to beat the Viper, they needed to increase the displacement of the Katech 6.0L LS1.R V8. The decision was made to start running the 7.0L V8 they tested at Las Vegas the previous year. This was a significant change in the development of the program. When they got the bigger motor, they were also penalized with smaller restrictors, but the increase in torque would prove to be worth the penalty. When it came to Le Mans, the circuit is made up of predominantly long straights, so straight line speed is a key ingredient to being competitive.
24 Hours of Le Mans 2000
Corvette Racing was eligible for Le Mans but the logistics of getting the cars and team to France for the event was a major task. Doug Fehan had been over previously as a visitor to get an idea of what it would take to get an entire race team to Le Mans. He was quickly made aware of serious challenges that lay ahead when even small details such as the outlets were different meaning a lot their equipment would not be compatible. The fittings on air bottles that powered the air guns for tires changes and onboard air jacks, which raised the car were different from the fittings they used in America. They wanted Le Mans to be the target and they knew it was going to be difficult. It was a lot more than just racing. Two race cars, transporters, fifty people and around 12 tons of equipment. All those people needed accomodation and feeding in a country where they don’t speak the language, nor have they ever been there.
They managed to get everything to France and everyone a room. Fehan looked at the tiny details such as providing good and familiar nutrition to the team. Fehan was concerned that despite how rugged the team was, if they were spending many days and nights away from home in a unfamiliar setting could create an erosion of teamwork and spirit. So within Fehans presentation to GM of what he thought would be needed, he raised the importance to bringing over a chef that would cook food in an American style and an American presentation, so when the team sat down to eat, they would know what they were eating. Having spent time at Le Mans before, Fehan knew what was available and knew the team would get tired of eating at one of the three McDonalds. He believed the team shouldn’t need to worry about where they were going to eat, so everything was available for them at the racetrack. They would show up in the morning and have breakfast, they knew where they were going to get their lunch, they would eat their dinner and they were able to go to their clean and comfortable hotel room. Fehan felt due to spending seven to nine days there, the catering would prove very important especially considering the rigours of the schedule.
Le Mans isn’t just a prestigious race and possibly the most famous endurance race in the world, but it allows for a lot of exposure for car manufacturers and their products. The event brings up to 400,000 spectators and is televised all over the world. GM being very aware of this made the most of the opportunity having a huge presence in 2000 by running officially two seperate race teams. The Corvette Racing team competing in the GTS class and the short lived Cadillac LMP1 team.
A few days before the actual race the cars must go to scrutineering for inspection by the FIA and ACO. The event takes place in the town, so huge crowds gathers to see the cars for the first time up close. The team decided to try win over the fans, as at the time Americans were not greatly received in France and the Corvette had a poor reputation with Fehan joking the Corvette in France is believed to be owned by pimps, prostitutes and drug dealers, a tough image to shake. The marketing team decided to take advantage of the French being big fans of cowboy and western movies, so they showed up to scrutineering all wearing cowboy hats. The cars are separated from the crowds by barriers, but the Corvette Racing team decided to invite children to sit in the C5-R and parents to take pictures. At first the parents were very reluctant as they had known from the past that fans were not allowed past the barriers, but after the first kid sat in the car a line started to gather of parents and children waiting to get their picture taken in the Corvette race car. Once the cars clear scrutineering there is a town square where an official picture is taken by professional photographers of all the cars competing. The Corvette Racing team switched their cowboy hats to berets and fake mustaches. The crowd broke out in applause and the photographers were delayed due to shaking from their own laughter. That picture made the front page of the French newspaper the next day.
Despite proving the C5-R could run a 24 hour race previously with two podiums at Daytona, Le Mans brought new challenges. The Circuit de la Sarthe the Le Mans 24 hours takes place on is much different than any of the US circuits. The length of one lap is 8.467 miles and features 38 turns, whereas for comparison the Daytona road course is 3.56 miles and features 12 turns. Most of the Circuit de la Sarthe is made up of public highway that has been closed off for the event. Although the public roads are well maintained they feature typical wear and tear that public roads encounter such as grooves made by heavy trucks running constantly on them. In a low, stiff race car at 200 mph these grooves really upset the car and can make it feel very unstable. The circuit is made up of mostly very long straights, meaning 85% of the lap is spent on full throttle, putting tremendous stress on the engine. The long full throttle applications mean the cars reach speeds approaching and sometimes exceeding 200 mph therefore the top gear of the transmission is engaged for long periods forcing higher temperatures and much more wear than usual. The famous Mulsanne straight is broken up by two chicanes, slowing the cars from 200 mph to around 60 mph within 150 meters (492 feet) or less, which creates immense wear on the brakes and suspension.
The C5-R displayed an impressive performance to the world at its Le Mans debut. Fuel consumption was an issue as Doug Fehan had always stood by; it is not the fastest car that wins endurance races but the one that spends the least time in the pits. The Team Oreca Vipers took first and second place in class with the #64 C5-R ran by Andy Pilgrim, Kelly Collins and Franck Fréon took the third place podium finish in class and 10th overall. This was all despite having starter motor issues throughout the race and also only being able to get 12 laps per fuel load, versus 13 of the Vipers. The sister #63 C5-R finished in fourth right behind the #63 car. A podium finish for C5-Rs debut Le Mans really impressed the executives at GM as well as the fans. Doug Fehan felt that their first race at Le Mans was successful and the third-place podium finish on their first time out, was pretty spectacular, but more importantly, GM agreed. From that point it was a pretty easy sell to keep competing at Le Mans to GM .
Once the team arrived back in the US from Le Mans, Pratt & Miller started building a new car, which would take a new direction moving the car away from its production origins. Gary Pratt of Pratt & Miller said they needed to stop racing with one arm tied behind their back, so the new car was built upon lessons learnt from the last generation car. The team was new to the game of GT racing and had to figure out what was needed to be more competitive. The development of the new generation car came down to a chassis redesign that was centered around making the axle track wider. This was inspired by Corvette Racing’s tire partnership at the time with Goodyear. A new tire had been developed by Goodyear that required some suspension adjustments. The way to make the adjustments was to make the car two inches wider, right up to the maximum width the rules would allow. This would lead to also incorporating other improvements such as reducing the weight of the car by 100 pounds.
2000 American Le Mans Series Season Resumed
The next round on the ALMS calendar was at Mosport in Canada, a very fast flowing track, with many elevation changes. The plan for Corvette Racing was not to run at Mosport but Ron Fellows did some convincing into letting the team race at his home event. He had felt he could guarantee a win at home, which finally GM Racing Group Manager Joe Negri gave the go ahead. The race would prove to be another heated battle with the Vipers. The race started under wet conditions and the new Goodyears were significantly better in the rain than the Viper’s Michelins at the time. The track started to dry out towards the end of the race and an untimely caution came out allowing the Viper to pass Andy Pilgrim with a few laps left in the race. The C5-R finished only 0.3 seconds behind the Viper. It was clear on the day that the Corvette was best car that ran into some bad luck. Negri jokingly asked Fellows about what happened to the guaranteed win.
Yet again Corvette Racing fell just short of that first win, but there was a new attitude within the team. They saw the performance increase from the new changes and knew that first win was just around the corner.
The next round would take place at Texas Motor Speedway with the road course section being used. Yet again Corvette Racing was not supposed to be competing at that round but thanks to Bob McGraw chairman of the Texan based company AER (Authorized Engine Remanufacturing) decided to add AERs financial support the team was present. The convincing argument was that none of the teams had an advantage at Texas due to being the first time for all of the cars to race there.
The day of the race featured very hot conditions, especially in the late afternoon which happened to be Fellows stint in the car. He stressed on how through the slower corners the heat-soak in the car was so bad it hurt to breathe so he would hold his breath through those particular corners. After Fellows finished his stint in the car, he would immediately strip down to his underwear in the garage area within full view, whilst Doug Fehan would hose him down with cold water. Pilgrim also felt the conditions, mentioning that he couldn’t even breathe through his mouth from it drying up so badly. He compared it to like breathing through a hair drier. Pilgrim was managing the heat a little better than Fellows, therefore he would do a double stint. Fellows would do the last stint of the race and took the C5-R across the finish line. Despite track temperatures exceeding 150 degrees, the drivers persevered, which lead to Ron Fellows and Andy Pilgrim bringing the C5-R home to their long awaited first ever victory beating Olivier Beretta and Karl Wendlinger in the Viper by a margin of three laps.
Corvette Racing would skip the next round at Portland to focus their attention with a two car effort at the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. Ron Fellows, Chris Kneifel and Justin Bell drove the #3 car, with Andy Pilgrim, Kelly Collins and Franck Fréon driving the #4 car. Team Oreca were aiming for the Grand Slam of endurance racing with their Vipers which is accomplished by taking the victory at Daytona, Sebring, Le Mans and the Petit Le Mans. Corvette Racing had heard rumors that Team Oreca would be receiving a huge bonus if they were to complete the clean sweep with a win at Petit Le Mans. Corvette Racing wanted to ensure Team Oreca wouldn’t receive that bonus as the C5-R had proven it could get a win in a sprint race, but they wanted to show it could win at endurance races. The result to all this would lead to what is considered as one of the greatest overtakes in endurance racing history.
Heading towards the last few minutes of the 10 hour endurance race, Pilgrim in the Corvette was catching the Oreca Viper being driven by Tommy Archer. With around 20 minutes remaining in the race, the action went back to green after a caution period. Pilgrim’s C5-R was around 20 seconds back from Archer’s lead Viper. Team Oreca ran a three car effort at Petit Le Mans, but Beretta’s car and the other Viper were down a few laps by this point as was the #4 Fellows Corvette due to some minor mechanical issues. With around five laps remaining Pilgrim was running really well and had closed the 20 second gap to be on the rear of Archer’s Viper. The cars were evenly matched with braking but the Viper had a slight advantage in straight line speed and corner exiting, but the Corvette was better in the mid corner especially in turn one and turn 12. Pilgrim had made several attempts to set up an overtake, but Archer was blocking well by braking very late, even locking up the tires at times to hold off the Corvette. Pilgrim had observed that one of the weaker places for the Viper was hitting the apex of turn one. The Viper was suffering understeer at this turn therefore Archer had to really slow the Viper to make the apex.
With two laps remaining Pilgrim noticed in his mirrors that the lead group of prototypes were coming out of turn seven. When passing the GT cars the prototypes tend to split up the cars as the GTs must allow the faster prototypes through. Pilgrim was well aware of this and said to himself he must make the move soon, as when those prototypes get to him, the battle was over. So Pilgrim faked a pass going into turn 10, which made Archer block the inside. This allowed Pilgrim to get a better line out of the turn getting him closer to back of the Viper. Going into the final turn 12, Pilgrim had figured turn one had to be the place for the overtake. By this point in the race, the sun had set and the track was consumed within darkness. There was spot lights located around the circuit but turn one was very dark, making the visibility poor. Pilgrim planned on using the darkness of turn one to catch Archer off guard.
Pilgrim had a great run out of the final turn therefore Archer moved to the middle of the track to protect the inside of turn one. Pilgrim made sure to stay left for the right hander, which meant the bright headlights of the C5-R would fill the left mirror of the Viper. This move was deigned to fool Archer into believing Pilgrim would be taking a traditional racing line through turn one. Archer bought into Pilgrims positioning believing the inside of the turn would be safe and open to steer into. Pilgrim waited patiently until Archer hit the brakes and at that split moment the Vipers tail lights started to glow, Pilgrim threw the C5-R from the left of the track to the right for the inside of turn one. Pilgrim made the move so quickly, he completely surprised Archer. Pilgrim commented after the pass, he was so fearful to check his mirrors expecting the Viper to be right there, so he focused on running through turn two, three and four as fast as possible. After the exit of turn four Pilgrim glanced in his mirror for the first time and had assumed Archer was so close he couldn’t see the Vipers lights in his side mirror. There was so much background light with campfires and track lighting that it was very hard to see behind.
Pilgrim thinking Archer was right there went through turn five carrying a little too much speed, with the car sliding and bouncing all over the curbs. As Pilgrim exited turn five he kept to the right on the straight to allow the faster prototypes by. After they had passed he took another look in his mirror only to notice Archer wasn’t there. He actually laughed out loud at his own frantic driving to outrun his own shadow. It turned out that Archer had lost control of his Viper due to trying to make turn one, only to be surprised by the C5-R being on the inside, therefore he had overreacted by putting the Viper on the rubber debris from the tires found on the outside of most turns after hours of racing. This debris is very slippery and caused Archer to spin the Viper into the gravel trap of turn one.
Pilgrim watched the fireworks to signal the end of the race as he was heading down the back straight, knowing he was about to hand Corvette Racing its first endurance race class victory in the most dramatic fashion. This move became known as the “Pilgrim Pass” and was elected as one the Top 50 Moments in Corvette History by Corvette Quarterly.
The 2000 season ended with Corvette Racing taking second place in class at round 10 at Laguna Seca and a third place in class at the final round of the season in Las Vegas. The 2000 season would mark the ending of one era as the the factory-supported Viper effort left the series at the end of the season, but 2001 would create a new era for Corvette Racing, with another American rivalry thanks to the new Saleen S7-R. The Viper rivalry really forced Corvette Racing to build a better race car and could probably be considered as one of the reasons to what lead to the future dominate success of the team.
The first Corvette C5-R race car built and developed by Pratt & Miller that started it all for Corvette Racing. The car was built using many stock factory GM Corvette C5 components. These production components included the hydroformed steel frame rails, the stock subframe of the C5 was used and featured the production based upper control arms. Under the hood the production cylinder heads, water pump, power steering pump, and the rack-and-pinion steering were all used from the production C5.
The hood had louvers over the top of the fenders to allow the turbulent air created by the wheels at speed to escape, decreasing front end lift. Louvers also featured on the front center to allow the heat from the front tilted radiator to escape. The stock pop-up headlights had been replaced by exposed headlights that Pratt & Miller designed by utilizing frog-eyed fairings over fixed headlights. A small front grille was added at the bottom of the fascia above the splitter that allowed cooling for the radiator. Side skirts were added with the integrated side exit exhaust on each side. A large rear diffused featuring four venturi tunnels and a large rear wing mounted to the frame of the car aided the aero.
Changes were made to the aero the following year in 2000 by removing some of the hood louvers for the radiator and making a waterfall hood allowing a much more direct and cleaner exit of heat, lowering the under hood temperatures. NACA ducts were added to the front portion of the hood that fed the air intakes for the engine.
For 1999 to mid 2000 the C5-R used a Katech built 6.0 liter small-block LS1.R V8, with a 4.125 in. bore and a 3.42 in. stroke. The engine block had increased water passages than the stock LS1 and the bottom end of the motor was made up of Moldex billet crankshaft, Carillo connecting rods and JE forged racing pistons. The cylinder heads were highly modified from the stock LS1 heads increasing the compression ratio to 12.5:1. The valvetrain used a Competition Cams grind on a Chevrolet camshaft blank, which used Iskenderian lifters, Fox pushrods and Jesel 1.9:1 rocker arms. Fuel and air was delivered via a Kinser racing fuel-injection system with cross-ram air horns and a composite airbox. The engine was mounted via an aluminum motor plate fitted to the front of the engine block, which featured a structural aluminum oil pan and a modified stock aluminum front subframe. The lubrication came from an external mechanical three-stage oil pump and dry-sump oiling system with the oil tank being located in the rear of the car under the fuel cell. For the last two rounds of the 2000 American Le Mans Series the engine displacement was increased to 7.0 liters.
The electronics were provided by Delphi Electronics engine computer-and-ignition systems.
The LS1.R V8 was mated to a Hewland five speed H-pattern racing transmission. The driveline featured a 5.5-in. triple-disc Tilton carbon clutch, which ran through a Pratt & Miller 3.11:1 rear end with Metalore axles and CV joints.
The tires were provided by Goodyear Racing which were fitted to BBS forged magnesium center-lock racing wheels. The car was brought to a stop by Alcon 15 x 1.38 front rotors and 14 x 1.26 rear rotors, generating 635 sq. in of braking area a 51 percent increase over the 421 sq. in of the stock production C5.
The paint scheme started in 1999 with a black checkered style over silver, which was switched to a yellow paint with white sides separated by a solid black line in 2000. For the final race of the 2000 season at Petit Le Mans a new purley yellow paint scheme was debuted. GM Goodwrench would remain the sponsor throughout all livery changes.
C5R-001 finished third in its debut race at Daytona in 1999 and finished second at Daytona the following year in 2000.
Le Mans 2000 was the last race for chassis C5R-001.
The sister car to C5R-001 ran an identical setup but competed in six races in the year 2000. Andy Pilgrim drove chassis C5R-002 in all six of its races bringing the car to second place podium finish in Corvette Racing’s debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2000.
Le Mans 2000 was the last race for chassis C5R-002.
Considered the most famous Corvette C5-R and possibly the most popular Corvette Racing chassis. C5R-003 was a second generation car that underwent a lot of adaptations learnt from the previous generation car.
C5R-003 debuted in late 2000 at Mosport Canada and brought Corvette Racing its first ever victory at Texas Motor Speedway on September 2nd 2000. After the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June 2000, major changes were made to the C5-R. These changes featured a wider track to accommodate a new suspension design. Pratt & Miller had gone away from the production based aluminum upper control arms and installed tubular steel upper and lower A-arms that added 1.5 inches to the track. The new suspension was designed to work better in conjunction with the new tires that Goodyear had developed that year. The wider track had increased the cars overall width by three inches. The byproduct of this was a change in body work from flaring the front fenders and widening the rear quarter panels.
The wider track, improved suspension setup and 7.0L displacement developed from the previous generation car made the C5-R extremely competitive meaning C5R-003 won 10 out of 17 races and started a long-time partnership with drivers Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell.
At the 2001 Rolex 24 at Daytona C5R-003 didn’t only take it’s first class win at Daytona but it also won the outright race overall.
For the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June 2001 Corvette Racing had learnt from the previous year and developed a new engine management system that improved fuel mileage. A revised fueling setup also allowed for faster pit stops. These modifications led to Corvette Racing taking their first ever class victory at Le Mans in 2001 and C5R-003 would also run at the 2002 Le Mans also taking the class victory with a new six-speed Hewland transaxle.
In 2002 the team would switch from using BBS wheels to OZ Racing Wheels. The 2002 car would also make minor changes to the front fascia by adding larger brake cooling ducts to either side of the lower front grille. These ducts were relocated from the two small factory C5 grilles (next to the fog lights and turning signals), which were previously used for the brake ducts and engine air intakes.
At Laguna Seca 2001 Johnny O’Connell had to park up and jump out of C5R-003 at the exit of the famous Corkscrew due to a fire. The fire was caused due to minor damage incurred from an incident earlier in the race that had caused the hot side exit exhaust to set fire to the body work. This meant for next round of the American Le Mans Series at Miami, an older chassis was used whilst repairs were made to fire damaged new chassis.
Towards the end of 2001 C5R-003 and C5R-004 featured new upgrades. Aerodynamic changes had been made thanks to a new revised undertray, which helped better direct the low pressure air under the car. New engine air intakes had been relocated lower on the nose by utilizing the production C5 grilles therefore deleting the previous NACA ducts. This decision was made due to the higher pressure air found on that area of the front fascia. Smaller door mirrors were used that produced less drag. The new Bosch engine management system that had been used since Le Mans had been developed. It now allowed for higher compression ratios that generated more horsepower and higher torque figures with the ability to tune each cylinder individually.
Chassis C5R-003 is now part of the GM Heritage collection.
The sister car to C5R-003 featured an identical setup but became very collectible after Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr both raced along with Andy Pilgrim and Kelly Collins at the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona in January 2001. Earnhardt was extremely excited by the Corvette C5-R, claiming it was one of the best race cars he had driven. He purchased a replica of the C5-R he would race at Daytona and was in talks with GM about starting his own Corvette race team. The plan was for both Earnhardt Sr and Jr to compete at Le Mans 2001 in June with Corvette Racing but unfortunately Earnhardt Sr lost his life two weeks later at the Daytona 500 after a crash at Turn Four on the final lap.
C5R-004 would claim three victories within 15 contests taking victories at Petit Le Mans in 2000, which featured the ‘Pilgrim Pass’ and again at Petit Le Mans 2000. The Petit Le Mans 2000 showed off the new Millennium Yellow livery of Corvette Racing, which was a new paint color available for the C5 regular production Corvettes in 2000.
Chassis C5R-004 would help sweep the podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2001 and in 2002 by finishing second to C5R-003 both years.
C5R-004 was sold to Chip Miller and is currently owned by his son Lance Miller.
Introduced in late 2002, the logistics of Le Mans and the American Le Mans Series schedules lead Corvette Racing to decide on building four chassis. The C5R-005 and C5R-006 made their debuts at the Sears Point round of the 2002 ALMS season, while the C5R-003 and C5R-004 were sent to France for the test day and would stay in France to later compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
C5R-005 was one of Corvette Racing’s most dominate cars thanks to winning seven times in 11 races. It would take the win at the 2002 Petit Le Mans and win at the Sebring 12 Hours in 2003. It would help at the end of the 2002 season give Ron Fellows his first American Le Mans Series driver championship. After competing for Corvette Racing C5R-005 was sold to a privateer team to compete in Europe.
Some minor modifications were made by relocating the fuel ports from the being integrated into the rear window to their new position on the lower front quarter panel on both sides, making for faster, easier refueling during pit stops.
The sister car to C5R-005 featured an identical setup. Corvette C5R-006 took three wins in 11 races, including the Corvette Racing’s first class victory at Road America in 2002. In 2005 C5R-006 made a return to motorsports after being sold to Pacific Coast Motorsports. It competed in the 2005 season of the American Le Mans Series, which lead to a third place finish at Portland giving the Corvette brand its first podium lockout in the GT1 class, thanks to Corvette Racing running their new C6.R taking the first and second and Pacific Coast Motorsports taking third in the C5-R.
C5R-006 would later be sold from Pacific Coast Motorsports to PSI-Motorsports to compete in Europe from 2006 to 2014. C5R-006 spent some time in the hands of SRT Racing, competing in Europe through 2006 and 2007. After retiring from competition C5R-006 was sold to Team RaceCraft who fully restored the car in its Petit Le Mans 2002 color scheme.
C5R-007 was the first Pratt & Miller Corvette C5-R not built for Corvette Racing, but instead was a customer car. In the early 2000s a UK based female pop band called Atomic Kitten quickly grew in popularity. The bands management team thought it would be a good idea to market the band via motorsports therefore decided to start a race team. Originally Atomic Kittens managment met with Pratt & Miller in 2000 about buying two C5-R chassis. Pratt & Miller started to build C5R-007 for Atomic Kitten Racing with the original order of two C5-Rs being changed to one C5-R and a Pratt & Miller GT chassis. The GT chassis was a cheaper tube framed C5 Corvette race car built by Pratt & Miller for series such as Trans-Am. The construction of the two cars was coming along smoothly until it came to payment from Atomic Kitten. Unfortunately no payment was made and this left Pratt & Miller with a chassis they had no use for.
Eventually in 2002 Pratt & Miller were able to sell C5R-007 to Patrick Selleslagh, the owner of SRT Racing in Belgium. Patrick bought the car to compete in the 2003 Belcar series. This would start a long relationship between SRT Racing and Corvette Racing as future Pratt & Miller Corvette Race cars were purchased by SRT Racing. C5R-007 competed from 2003 through to 2007 with SRT Racing. At the end of the 2007 season SRT Racing sold C5R-007 to Alexander Talkanista of AT Racing to compete in the 2008 FIA GT series.
C5R-008 had a relatively short racing career and was able to pick up two class victories in eight races. Corvette Racing’s longest serving driver to date Oliver Gavin started his Corvette Racing career in chassis C5R-008.
Many changes were made for 2003 season including a new sponsor. GM Goodwrench was replaced by the American software company Compuware. 2003 would mark the Corvette brand’s 50th anniversary therefore a GM would introduce a special blue/red/white 24 Hours of Le Mans Commemorative Edition Corvette paint scheme for 2004. This color scheme would be used at the 2003 Le Mans by Corvette Racing. This was the first time Corvette Racing had competed at Le Mans in a different color than yellow. The traditional #63 and #64 Corvette Racing used at Le Mans was replaced by #50 and #53. #50 was used to celebrate 50 years of Corvette and #53 was to signify 1953 – the first year of production for Corvette.
C5R-008 wore #50 at Le Mans and #4 throughout the American Le Mans Series.
The aero package of the C5-R went under a major revision. The louvers over the radiator waterfall hood were fully deleted making for one large extraction scoop. The NACA ducts on the hood for the engine air intakes were deleted and relocated back to the two factory C5 grilles, which were now larger than the stock grilles but kept their factory look. The fender louvers had undergone modifications. They now were wider and longer featuring more louvers and were black instead of being painted the color of the car. This made for more front aero improvements along with a newly designed larger and wider front splitter. Additional cooling was made from a small grille added to the center endurance light cover and the brake ducts allocated beside the lower grille had been enlarged.
Chassis C5R-008 was sold at the 2005 Corvettes at Carlisle event to private collector Robert Patrella.
Corvette C5R-009 had a similarly brief racing career as chassis C5R-008 however it was able to take three wins in 10 races. At Le Mans 2003 C5R-009 wore #53 and #3 for the American Le Mans Series.
C5R-009 was able to take Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell to their second straight ALMS GTS title in a tight battle with the Prodrive Ferrari 550.
C5R-009 was involved in a large fire at the hands of Dale Earnhardt Jr during the warm-up session at Infineon Raceway. The chassis was brought back into action during the 2004 season for a three car effort at fourth round of the ALMS season for the Grand Prix of Sonoma. Dale Earnhardt Jr and Boris Said were set to race the C5-R with altered paint scheme with a new thick black stripe on the doors and an offset black strip running from the hood across the roof mirrored by a thin black stripe on the inside of the thick stripe. This car was also wearing Earnhardt Jr’s red #8 similar to his NASCAR cup car.
As Earnhardt Jr was entering the track at the start of the morning warm-up session, he lost the rear end of the car under throttle at turn eight causing a spin into barriers. Being the start of the session the car was full of fuel and as a result of the accident the fuel filler neck had been torn from the fuel cell allowing fuel to leak out the car, which immediately caught fire. Earnhardt Jr was dazed from the accident and remained in the car whilst the flames surrounded him in the cabin. He was able to climb out the car under his own power, and after being tended to by the track marshals and medical team he was then put on stretcher and flown by helicopter to a local hospital. He suffered an injury to his knee and minor burns. Although his injuries were serious, they were fortunately not life threatening and he was able to make a full recovery.
Important safety lessons would be taken from the Earnhardt Jr accident by the team adapting the fuel filler male valve that delivers the fuel to the female valve within the car being greatly increased in length. This allowed fuel to be delivered much deeper to the fuel cell, therefore eliminating the risk of fuel sitting accidentally within the neck.
C5R-009 was seriously fire damaged and was allegedly written off however it was seen in 2005 at the Corvettes at Carlisle event and was sold along with chassis C5R-008 to private collector Robert Patrella.
The 2004 season would mark the final year of the Corvette C5-R operated under Corvette Racing. Chassis C5R-010 would start the partnership of drivers between Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Jan Magnussen. Beretta had been a thorn in Corvette Racing’s side during the battle between the Team Oreca Vipers. Magnussen was a very fast Danish driver with experience in Formula 1 and had previously raced for the Panoz Motorsports team in the American Le Mans Series.
C5R-010 first victory came at Le Mans 2004 and would start the first of three back to back Le Man class victories for Gavin, Beretta and Magnussen with Corvette Racing. Gavin and Beretta won three straight races late in the 2004 season which included the Petit Le Mans.
Some minor changes had been made to the C5-R thanks to an addition of canards located just ahead of the front wheels. The front splitter had been adapted by a slight increase in width and length. The rear wing had been revised with the reduction of the raise in the center of the wing to a much more subtle curve. For the 2004 season the decision had been made to drop the Goodyear Racing Eagle tires to start a now long time partnership with the French tire manufacturer Michelin. Corvette Racing the previous year at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2003 saw the class rival Prodrive Ferrari 550 Maranello’s run on Michelins and the difference was huge. The Michelins produced more grip than the Goodyears of the Corvette, and also featured a much slower wear rate allowing the Ferraris to double-stint their tires, whereas the Goodyears of the Corvette needed to be changed almost every pitstop.
One of the bigger changes for the C5-R was replacing the six-speed Hewland H-pattern racing transmission with a six-speed sequential transmission from Xtrac. This new transmission allowed for much faster and accurate shifting, whilst also taking some strain off the drivers. This was thanks to no need of the clutch pedal on the upshifts, meaning the driver could keep their foot planted on the gas pedal whilst going up the gears. The new transmission along with the new Michelin tires made the 2004 season the most successful of Corvette Racing history to date.
Katech updated the LS1.R 7.0L V-8 engine for the 2004 season due to rule changes with the air restrictors. Horsepower had been reduced, however Katech were able to generate a lot more torque from a lower RPM range, which in conjunction helped improve fuel economy thanks to lower shift points. Katech had assembled eight engines qualifying and race at Le Mans. A total of 96 hours had been logged to prepare for Le Mans in June 2004 with two 24 hour dyno sessions performed before Sebring in March. Another 24 hours of testing was conducted at the Sebring race made up by the 12 hours in the race followed up with another 12 Hours of testing after. A final 24 hour test was conducted after April’s Open Test Session. Katech had constructed the 2004 Le Mans motor with the engine blocks running without cylinder liners. Instead a Nicom (Nickel and Silicon) coating, was electroplated into the cylinder walls by U.S. Chrome, which created an engine block with structurally much greater strength.
For the 2004 Le Mans 24 Hours, Corvette Racing had logged over 11,000 miles of testing on the new Michelins during off-season testing in preparation for a Le Mans comeback. To the delight of the French crowd at Le Mans, the Corvettes were on Michelins. This along with the revisions to the aero package and chassis made the C5-R over 50 kgs (110 pounds) lighter. The weight saving came from replacing the glass windshield with a polycarbonate windshield that saved 14 kgs (31 pounds) alone. The battery had been replaced with a lighter one that saved an additional 6 kgs (13 pounds). The new package made the Corvette’s much faster with a six second a lap faster qualifying time over the 2003 car. Corvette Racing swept the GTS class podium with a 1-2 finish relegating the best Prodrive Ferrari to third place finish.
For the 2004 season Corvette Racing updated the livery. A new slightly darker tint of yellow was used with a new solid black line that turned into a checkered flag used on the sides. The line started from top of the front fender to the rear ducktail spoiler, which mimicked the same line that seperated the yellow and white on the 2000 color scheme. A solid black line that turned to a checkered flag also wrapped around the large radiator duct/waterfall hood.
Chassis C5R-010 was sold to Alpine Ski Racer turned race team owner/driver Luc Alphand in late 2005, and was raced by the Luc Alphand Aventures team in Europe throughout the 2006 and 2007 seasons.
Chassis C5R-010 and 011 were absolutely dominant taking first and second place class victories in all ten races they competed in. This new transmission along with the new Michelin tires meant that Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell took four GTS class wins in chassis C5R-011 with the first race and victory for the car being at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2004. C5R-011 would take the victory at its final factory outing at Laguna Seca to wrap up a major chapter in Corvette Racing history of the C5-R as the following year the C6.R would be introduced.
Chassis C5R-011 was sold to Paul Kumpen in The Netherlands and was able to pick up seven additional wins internationally including multiple wins in FIA GT competition.
Chassis C5R-012 was built purley to serve as testing and development car the new C6.R generation race car. Its first test on-track was in 2003 with Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell handling most of the testing. C5R-012 was also the car drove on stage by Ron Fellows wearing the body of the C6.R at the 2005 North American International Auto Show to debut the new Corvette Racing machinery.
Chassis C5R-012 never raced by Corvette Racing and only served as a test mule. Once testing had concluded it was sold and renamed to C6R-012, which still competes today in historic racing events.
|Model:||Chevrolet Corvette C5-R|
|Body Style:||Two-door coupe hatchback|
|Layout:||Front engine, longitudinal powertrain placement|
|Driveline:||Rear wheel drive|
|Manufacturing Location:||Pratt & Miller, New Hudson, Michigan, USA|
|Engine:||Katech LS1.R, 6.0L V-8||Katech LS1.R, 7.0L V-8||Katech LS1.R, 7.0L V-8||Katech LS1.R, 7.0L V-8|
|Displacement (cu in / cc):||366 / 5997||425.9 / 6980||425.9 / 6980||425.9 / 6980|
|Valvetrain:||Overhead Valve, two valves per cylinder||Overhead Valve, two valves per cylinder||Overhead Valve, two valves per cylinder||Overhead Valve, two valves per cylinder|
|Fuel Delivery:||Sequential multi-point electronic indirect fuel injection||Sequential multi-point electronic indirect fuel injection||Sequential multi-point electronic indirect fuel injection||Sequential multi-point electronic indirect fuel injection|
|Lubrication:||Mobil 1, Dry Sump||Mobil 1, Dry Sump||Mobil 1, Dry Sump||Mobil 1, Dry Sump|
|Horsepower (hp / kW @rpm):||600 / 447 @ 7,200||610 / 455 @ 6,200||620 / 463 @ 6,200||570 / 425 @ 5,400|
|Torque (lb ft / Nm @ rpm):||495 / 671 @ 5,600||570 / 770 @ 5,600||495 / 671 @ 5,600||620 / 841 @ 4,400|
|Fuel:||Elf Racing Fuel (Unicol 76 for Daytona)||Elf Racing Fuel (Unicol 76 for Daytona)||Sunoco Racing Fuel||Sunoco Racing Fuel|
|Transmission:||Hewland five-speed H-pattern||Hewland five-speed H-pattern||Hewland six-speed H-pattern||Xtrac six-speed sequential|
|Front:||Short/long arm (SLA) double wishbone, fabricated steel upper and lower control arms, coil over adjustable shock absorbers, anti-roll bar|
|Rear:||Short/long arm (SLA) double wishbone, fabricated steel upper and lower control arms, coil over adjustable shock absorbers, anti-roll bar|
|Front Rotors (in / mm):||Alcon carbon ceramic (15 / 381)||AP Racing Carbon ceramic (15 / 381)|
|Rear Rotors (in / mm):||Alcon carbon ceramic (14 / 355.6)||AP Racing Carbon ceramic (14 / 355.6)|
|Front Calipers:||Alcon six-piston calipers||AP Racing six-piston monoblock calipers|
|Rear Calipers:||Alcon six-piston calipers||AP Racing six-piston monoblock calipers|
|Tire:||Goodyear Racing Eagle||Goodyear Racing Eagle||Michelin Racing|
|Tire Compound:||Soft, Medium, Hard, Wet||Soft, Medium, Hard, Wet||Soft, Medium, Hard, Wet|
|Wheels:||BBS forged magnesium single center-lock wheels||OZ Racing Wheels single center-lock||OZ Racing Wheels single center-lock|
|Front wheel size (Inches):||18 x 12||18 x 12||18 x 12|
|Rear wheel size (Inches):||18 x 14||18 x 14||18 x 14|
|Front tire size:||25 x 9 x 18||25 x 12 x 18||25 x 12 x 18|
|Rear wheel size:||28 x 12.5 x 18||28 x 14 x 18||28 x 14 x 18|
|Wheelbase (in / mm):||104.7 / 2,659.4||104.7 / 2,659.4||104.7 / 2,659.4|
|Overall length (in / mm):||182.8 / 4,643.1||182.8 / 4,643.1||182.8 / 4,643.1|
|Overall width (in / mm):||76.4 / 1,940||78.7 / 1999||78.7 / 1999|
|Overall height (in / mm)||45.8 / 1,163.3||45.8 / 1,163.3||45.8 / 1,163.3|
|Dry weight (pounds / kg):||2,815 / 1,276.9||2,705 / 1,227||2,511 / 1,139|
|Front axle track (in / mm):||73.2 / 1,859.3||74.7 / 1,897.4||74.7 / 1,897.4|
|Rear axle track (in / mm):||74.6 / 1,894.8||76.1 / 1,932.9||76.1 / 1,932.9|