By Bill Wood
The Corvette Racing team ends its ALMS GT1 program this weekend at the Le Mans 24 Hours. But this isn't a retirement tour. Corvette Racing is focused on winning its sixth Le Mans title after finishing second in 2007 and 2008.
There are, however, some caveats to this C6.R retirement. This is the final run in the GT1 category of Le Mans style sports car racing. Corvette Racing will turn its attention to the GT2 category with the transition beginning at the American Le Mans Series stop at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in August. That transition will end with the global GT class in 2010 with rules based on the current GT2 regulations.
“The 24 Hours of Le Mans has always been our objective,” said program manager Doug Fehan. “Le Mans became the cornerstone of our program. Corvette's performance credentials were already well established in North America, but we had to nurture a new respect for Corvette in the rest of the world. Le Mans provided the arena to accomplish that, and the results have far exceeded our expectations.”
As a follow-up to that, once Corvette was a global brand it needed to compete against its showroom competition, namely Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin and others. Those brands will be in the global GT category next year, making the move logical for Corvette Racing.
In addition, the C6.R rolling test beds offer financially strapped GM an in-the-field lab for testing GM’s future technology. Would you believe zero viscosity lubricants or kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS) in the future Corvette? Both are being tested. In fact the zero viscosity lubricants will be in the GT2 Corvettes starting in August.
Sounds incredible, but Fehan told me what's next for the program, what the new technology will be and what's that mean for the next street Corvette. Click below for the video interview.• Doug Fehan interview