The C8 Corvette convertible debut last night was a bit of a two for one special, as the team at Chevrolet also decided to show off the all new Corvette Racing C8.R GTE race car. This new American bruiser will look to continue Corvette Racing’s storied success in the series since the introduction of the C5.R in 1999, now with the engine behind the driver for the first time. While Chevy played it coy with the mid-engined racer’s technical information, Corvette Racing No. 4 car driver Tommy Milner fired up the engine of the Corvette C8.R, and gave it a few revs.
One thing was immediately clear: it was no longer the bass-heavy thunder 5.5L small block V8 racing engine found in the C6.R and C7.R. There’s more of a pierce to it, and more finesse. Exotic, even, akin to a Ferrari GTE race car. Give it a listen just below.
Also happening earlier this week, the collective automotive fandom was treated to its first real taste of what the C8 Corvette Stingray road car sounds like working out on track courtesy of Road & Track contributor Matt Farah’s YouTube channel. While we’ll let you decide what you think about the Z51-equipped car’s exhaust note, it definitely sounds like a small block V8.
That’s what makes the Corvette C8.R debut video so interesting, as the race car sounds like it is packing a very different engine under the rear decklid.
FIA homologation requirements for the GTE class state that: “engine must be derived from a series production engine produced at more than 300 units and fitted to a series vehicle from the same manufacturer,” which really only means one thing. This DOHC V8 will likely find a home in the C8 Z06, and perhaps other high performance Corvettes to come. Unlike the C7 Z06, the midship iteration will likely ditch the forced induction system for old school natural aspiration, where the big boy Corvettes are expected to gain turbochargers for the first time. Output for the high-revving C8 Corvette Z06 is expected to be in the 600 horsepower range.
The voracious sound of the C7.R at full tilt will certainly be missed by fans of Corvette Racing. That’s not to say the Corvette C8.R doesn’t make a good sound itself, but the engine note isn’t as distinctive as its predecessor’s old school American burble. That being said, this new generation of Corvette race car might just be ready to dominate the GTE class. It’s just a bummer that the Ford GT racing program is already retiring.