Under The Skin Of Chevrolet’s Corvette C7.R

Vehicle Lead Casey Ringley gets under Chevy’s supercar and finds a lot to love

During the development of the C7.R, we had the great opportunity of working with one of the real drivers at Corvette—Tommy Milner. We’ve actually known Tommy since he was a 14-year old kid just getting started in karts and fooling around with simulation games, so it’s beyond cool to see where his career has gone.

Cutting to the chase here, the C7.R is just a great package for endurance racing. The way it fits into Le Mans rules sees it running at the standard class-minimum of 1,245kg (20kg more than the Porsche and Aston, which both get a break), along with 2×29.1mm air restrictors; this sees the C7.R push-out a healthy 500HP @ 6,000RPM.

The rear wing height and Gurney flap size, additionally, means it pays something of a drag penalty for that power, but overall, the aero’ package is simply excellent. The extra drag turns into a fine amount of downforce, and general ride height/pitch sensitivity is low for a modern GT thanks to the short overhangs. It might not always be fastest over a single lap, but it’s super-easy to push the C7.R at maximum performance over long stints.

The LS5.5R engine (5.5-litre Chevy V8) would, amazingly, be good for upward of 750HP—unrestricted. This matches up with some performance packages Katech produces for similar units you can run on the road. More amazing still is that Corvette averaged 14-lap stints at Le Mans, same as the Aston, despite having a fuel tank that was 10 litres smaller. Direct injection is contributing to that big-time. The torque curve, meanwhile, is massive and, in restricted form, you are right up at 95 percent of peak power from 4,900RPM right through to 6,500RPM. It doesn’t need to rev’ out to the limit for max’ performance, and the fuel savings benefit you get from using fewer RPM can be a huge benefit over the long haul.

Tommy gave the car in Project CARS a run just before the Daytona 24 Hours, and said we were on the right track, but had the default setup running too stiff. That instantly clicked with something I remember from the older C6.R, and that drivers Pratt & Miller Motorsports actually ran that car on softer spring rates than the road car. The setup we’ve ended up with now is a much better match to how they run the car in the real-world. You can make it as stiff as the Vantage GTE or others if you wish, but there really is something to say for letting it roll around a bit more, and it can do that without getting a penalty thanks to really docile aero.

Motion Ratios: 0.71 / 0.78
Damper Transition, front: 30mm/s bump – 60mm/s rebound
Damper Transition, rear: 51mm/s bump – 95mm/s rebound
Unsprung mass: 45 / 55kg

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