UNDER THE “HOOD”
As well as the striking new brand-
specific bodywork, the Corvette
Daytona Prototype also shares some
serious DNA with its road-going
counterpart under the hood. Chevrolet
opted for a 5-liter V8, based on the
LS family of small blocks, to power its
fleet of factory-supported entries.
The LS engine has been the sole
powerplant of the Chevrolet Corvette
since 1997, and is the base unit for the
engines that power Corvette Racing’s
highly successful ALMS and 24 Hours of
Le Mans GT program, too.
While its aluminum head and block
originates from the sixth-generation
Corvette’s powerplant, the production-based engine had to be de-stroked to
meet Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series
regulations. However, it still produces up
to 530hp at 6,900rpm, and 450ft.lb of
torque at 5,500rpm, in line with the
other DP engines in the series.
The engines are built and maintained
by Earnhardt-Childress Racing (BELOW),
another familiar Chevy partner that
also builds the motive power for teams
competing in NASCAR, ARCA, SCCA,
short track and sprint car racing.
“ECR Engines works closely with our GM
Racing Powertrains department,” explains
Chevrolet’s Grand-Am program manager,
Jim Lutz. “That allows us to cross-share
information from all of our race programs,
both in road racing and stock cars, etc, so
it’s very beneficial for both parties.”
And thanks to the Corvette’s success
in its debut year, which saw eight wins
from 13 races, Chevrolet claimed the
2012 DP Engine Manufacturers’
Championship – fine reward for its
significant investment in the category.
“Chevrolet has had a lot of
interest in racing cars relevant
to the road car products”
racecars based on the road car product.
This car came at it from the opposite
direction, where, in reality, it was a pure
racecar trying to accommodate the road
car relevance as much as possible.”
With some of the final components still
yet to be fitted, the much anticipated
unveiling of the Corvette DP came on
Nov. 15 at Daytona International
Speedway. One day later, the first car, a
Coyote-chassied DP for Spirit of Daytona
Racing, was put through its paces on the
Florida high banks, less than 230 days
after the program’s official go-ahead.
“Once the car was assembled for the
initial aero testing, right away that started
another very rapid development process,”
Louth explains. “The cars were not 100
percent complete at the first wind tunnel
test. There were a lot of changes in the few
months of development we had.
(TOP) Antonio Garcia
climbs aboard to put
more miles on the
Spirit of Daytona car,
late 2011 at Daytona.
getting up to speed
began for the other
teams who’d be racing
the new Corvette DP,
too, including GAINSCO/
Bob Stallings Racing.