What better way to celebrate the Corvette C8.R’s 1-2 start for the upcoming Rolex 24 at Daytona than with 45-minutes of pure in-car sounds? The new ride-along audio comes from the championship-winning No. 3 Corvette C8.R driven by Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor, and Nicky Catsburg at IMSA’s 2020 season finale at Sebring International Raceway.
The mid-mounted, naturally aspirated, 5.5L V8 makes 500 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque. The DOHC V8 spins a flat-plane crankshaft, a first for Corvette, and it’s the first time a Corvette has shown up without pushrods since the C4 ZR1 used the aluminum DOHC LT5 V8 built by Mercury Marine. This new flat-plane crank V8 engine is based on the production V8 coming to the C8 Corvette Z06, and is expected to be called the LT6.
Because of how a flat-plane crank works, the C8.R has lost some of the bass-heavy sound and fury previously belched out by the C7.R and its LS7 based 5.5L V8. The old 16-valve small-block had been with Corvette Racing in some capacity since 1999 and had powered the brand to more than 100 wins.
On a cross-plane V8, the four crank journals are arranged at 90-degree intervals which leads to an unevenly spaced firing order. That’s what gives American muscle cars a syncopated and baritone burble-burble. Cross-plane cranks also require heavy counterweights to keep the engine properly balanced, the additional rotating mass is detrimental to high-revving operation.
Flat-plane V8s operate more like two inline-four-cylinder engines glued together. The firing order cycles from one bank to the other, the spacing amplifies exhaust scavenging and bumps up the engine’s efficiency. It’s the scavenging and sky-high redline that make for the new engine’s distinctive sound.
Apparently, the C8.R’s 5.5L V8 is actually the largest displacement V8 outfitted with a flat-plane crank currently in existence. The sound is somewhat evocative of the old 2.4L V8s used by Formula 1 in the mid-2000s, minus the ear-piercing 19,000 rpm redline. We don’t think this Chevy V8 turns nearly as fast, but it’s still a screamer.
The C8.R will be back on track this weekend as Corvette Racing attempts to take its first Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona class victory since 2016.
Click to listen to all of the C8.R’s glory on the Marshall Pruett Podcast – a show focused purely on racing – in order to get the full aural experience. Headphones – good ones – are highly recommended.