This is a banner year for Corvette Racing, as it celebrates its 25th year of participation in American sports car competition.
Now the legendary American team is sharing the secret to its success (122 race wins spanning the globe, including 113 in IMSA) with the rest of the world.
Chevrolet unveiled the 2024 Corvette Z06 GT3.R race car Friday at Daytona International Speedway, a year prior to its official competition debut. A collaboration between GM’s Competition Motorsport Engineering and longtime partner Pratt Miller Engineering, the Z06 GT3.R is a customer version of the car exclusively campaigned by Corvette Racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and FIA World Endurance Championship for the last three years, achieving 15 victories and the 2020 and ’21 IMSA GT Le Mans (GTLM) class championships.
The Corvette Z06 GT3.R is Chevrolet’s first racing car that fully meets regulations for the international technical regulations for GT3 cars. It will be eligible for multiple championships in North America and around the world, backed by a newly established customer support program.
“This has been an intense but very rewarding process,” said Laura Wontrop Klauser, GM sports car program manager. “From the time we announced a Corvette GT3 car, I’ve received more inquiries than I can count. It’s a testament to a known product like Corvette, the minds behind design, development and build, and the quarter-century success of Corvette Racing.”
Like every Corvette, the Z06 GT3.R starts life in Bowling Green, Kentucky, utilizing the same aluminum chassis frame as the production Z06. The GT3.R’s 5.5-liter, DOHC flat-plane crankshaft mid-engine V-8, in development since 2019, is also derived from the road-going Z06.
The Z06 GT3.R features a refined aerodynamic package, including a new rear wing and additional suspension adjustability options to suit a wider range of tires.
Track testing began in September 2022, with Corvette Racing drivers Jordan Taylor, Antonio Garcia and Tommy Milner participating in development of the Z06 GT3.R. Milner, a Corvette Racing team member since 2011, shifts to an endurance driver role this year in the WeatherTech Championship and will lead the final development of the customer racing car.
“For me, it’s a bit of a different challenge in some ways, but I’m excited to help build this GT3 car and be part of the process here at Corvette Racing,” said Milner, a two-time class winner for Corvette Racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 2016 Rolex 24 At Daytona and WeatherTech Championship GTLM champion. “Having done this with the C7 and C8.R generations, it’s another new car and each one is a bit different. It’s been a lot of fun.
“It’s interesting to think that in years past, not many people have had the opportunity to drive these Corvette race cars, and now there will be that opportunity,” Milner added. “In a lot of ways, it’s exciting, because all the times we’ve had third drivers come in, everybody is pretty much unanimous in their excitement to drive our car and has good things to say about the race car. So, it will be fun to introduce some new guys, whether they’re amateurs or professionals, to this car, and kind of help get them up to speed a little bit.”
Milner’s task is to make the Z06 GT3.R as user-friendly as possible for a potential wide range of experience in future drivers.
“So far, the development process has not been really any different from previous generation race cars,” he said. “But there have been more discussions during the process about making the car more suitable for everybody and not just for Corvette Racing. In terms of ergonomics, parts of the car are designed for different size people than us and things like that.
“As we go further into the process this year with some of the finer details, some of the driver aids like ABS and traction control, we’ll be taking more time than normal to really make sure that is usable in all ranges of conditions. It’s not so much what I would like, or Antonio or Jordan would like, but looking at a broad range of skill levels.”
Corvette Racing is IMSA’s most successful team since its 1999 debut, winning 14 manufacturer and driver championships and 15 team crowns.
Chevrolet expects to see as many as four Corvette Z06 GT3.Rs on the 2024 WeatherTech Championship grid, split between the GT Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) and GT Daytona (GTD) classes, with teams to be named later. The marque is also planning for a two-car presence in the FIA World Endurance Championship.