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  Chevrolet Corvette C6.R

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Country of origin:United States
Produced from:2005 - 2009
Numbers built:2005: 2
2006: 2
2007: 2
Introduced at:2005 NAIAS
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:November 21, 2007
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Click here to download printer friendly versionAfter a difficult start, the Pratt & Miller run Corvette Racing have become one of the most successful racing teams of recent years. It all started with in 1999 with the C5-R GT racer based on the fifth generation Corvette. Facing strong competition from the Oreca prepared Vipers, the first victory did not come until halfway through the 2000 season. It was the start of a very strong period, which saw the Corvettes win their class at Le Mans in 2001, 2002 and 2004. In January of 2004, General Motors had taken the wraps off the sixth generation Corvette and we all knew it was only a matter of time before Pratt & Miller would unleash a racing car based on the C6. Exactly one year later, Ron Fellows rumbled the C6.R onto the stage at the Detroit show, alongside the brand new Corvette Z06 it was based on.

When developing the new road going Corvette, the General Motors engineers tried to incorporate as many of Pratt & Miller's requests as possible. As a result, the C6 Corvette features a slightly longer wheelbase and conventional headlights. The pop-up headlights had been a prominent feature on the Corvette for over forty years, but they proved to disturb the airflow too much. They were also discarded from the road car as they were too destructive for pedestrians in case of an accident. In any case, it gave Pratt & Miller a much cleaner shape to begin with, which would certainly help the Corvette to match the higher top speeds of the competition. Under the body, the C6.R was fairly similar to the all-conquering C5-R with an all aluminium seven litre V8 providing the power.

The C6.R made its competition debut at the 2005 Sebring 12 Hours were it faced the also brand new Aston Martin; the start of a rivalry that lasts to this day. The first strike was for the Aston, with the two C6.Rs following closely behind, finishing second and third in class. The next major race was the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June. The Astons again proved slightly quicker, but the meticulously prepared Corvettes got the better of the Brits by pounding out fast laps throughout the race. The C6.R's Le Mans debut ended in a fantastic 1-2 victory in class. Back in the United States, it was business as usual again for Corvette, taking the victory in the high profile Petit Le Mans in the fall of 2005. At the end of the year Corvette Racing clinched their fifth consecutive GT1 crown in the ALMS.

For 2006 two new racing cars were constructed, while the first two were sold to European customers. They raced the cars with some success in the FIA GT and Le Mans Series that season. The highlight of their season was a 1-2 victory during the Paul Ricard round of the FIA GT. Corvette Racing themselves continued where they had left off in 2005 and this time beat Aston Martin at Sebring. Le Mans was a carbon copy, with the Astons running faster, but the C6.R's superb reliability making the difference once more. At Petit Le Mans, the Astons finally managed to beat the Corvette again in a major race, scoring an impressive 1-2 victory ahead of the two Corvettes.

As had become common practice, Pratt & Miller built up two new cars for 2007, but this time only one of the 2006 cars was sold. It was raced with considerable success in the Le Mans Series by Luc Alphand Adventures, scoring a victory in the opening round at Monza. Carsport Holland had even more success with their C6.R in the FIA GT series by winning the highly rated Spa 24 Hours race. It was the only major endurance race Corvette had not won yet. The Works team concentrated on the ALMS, where they had no noteworthy competition and again walked away with all the prizes at the end of the season. They were beaten at Le Mans this time though, with the Astons finally proving strong enough and one of the Works C6.Rs retiring very early in the race.

As GT1 racing in this shape seems to be slowly dying out, it is safe to say that the Corvette C6.R was one of the absolute finest of its era. The successes on the track are not only a reflection of the car's intrinsic abilities, but also a showcase of the ability of Corvette Racing / Pratt & Miller. Rumor has it that when they are done racing the C6.R, they will aim a little higher and go for a full bore prototype and overall glory at Le Mans. It must sting at General Motors that the only all-American Le Mans win has been achieved by Ford. If anybody can pull off that second American win, it is certainly Pratt & Miller.

Pictured above are all six Corvette C6.Rs constructed to this date. They are shown racing throughout Europe in 2005, 2006 and 2007 by a variety of teams and during the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in the Le Mans Series and in the FIA GT. The exact location, result and chassis details are listed under each images.

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  Article Image gallery (179) Specifications User Comments (1)