A trio of Chevrolet race cars were recently caught testing at Sebring International Raceway in a video posted to YouTube by Corvette Blogger.
In the video, the number 3 Corvette C8.R, which finished third in the 2022 IMSA GTD Pro championship, shares the track with the new 2024 Corvette Z06 GT3.R. Also appearing: the NASCAR Cup Series Camaro that Hendrick Motorsports is preparing for next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Based on the C8 Corvette Z06 road car, the Z06 GT3.R will replace the C8.R in IMSA competition starting with the 2024 Rolex 24 at Daytona, and be available to customer teams. The change is the result of a rules reshuffling by IMSA to address flagging interest in the GTLM class the C8.R was designed for. IMSA is now using the globally popular GT3 class as the basis for its top class of production-based racers, forcing Chevy to switch to the GT3.R.
The Z06 GT3.R is expected to use a version of the naturally aspirated, flat-plane crank LT6 5.5-liter V-8 from the Z06 road car, which also has many similarities to the C8.R engine, and will generally be closer to the road-going Corvette than the C8.R, which was designed for the more liberal GTLM rules.
The other new race car shown in the video is Hendrick Motorsports’ NASCAR Le Mans racer. Essentially a modified version of the Next Gen race car introduced for the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season, it’s slated to race at Le Mans in 2023 in the special “Garage 56” slot. Reserved for one car not conforming to the standard Le Mans rules on top of the normal 55-car field, in the past it’s been used as a technology showcase, with cars like the Nissan ZEOD RC hybrid racing as Garage 56 entries.
Hendrick hasn’t announced a driver lineup, but Jimmie Johnson, who won a record-tying seven championships with the team, has postponed his retirement, and has said racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans is a possibility. Johnson, who switched from NASCAR to IndyCar after the 2020 season, announced his retirement from full-time racing in September, but in November said he would return to NASCAR on a limited scheduled for 2023 as a driver and part-owner of Petty GMS.
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