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General Motors Media Press Release

FOR RELEASE:  August 16, 2001
CONTACT:  Michael Scholl
PHONE:  (248) 341-1041

General Motors To Sell Corvette C5-R Racecars To Customers

On-Track Success Generates Enthusiast Interest

Source: GM CommunicationsDETROIT - General Motors Racing will implement a customer car program this year to deliver a race-ready version of its successful Chevrolet Corvette C5-R to buyers with a passion for performance.

GM has agreed with its partners, Pratt and Miller (chassis) and Katech (engines), to sell as many as five vehicles in 2001. GM Racing has received several inquiries from private race teams seeking the powerful C5-R and has accepted deposits on two vehicles.

To date in 2001, the C5-R has dominated its competition in the races it has entered. It scored an overall win at the 24 Hours of Daytona, a double podium finish at the 12 Hours of Sebring, A 1-2 GTS class finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and class wins at American Le Mans Series races at Texas Motor Speedway, Sears Point and Portland. The C5-R's impressive on-track performance has made it the current manufacturer's point leader in the ALMS GTS class and has propelled Corvette Racing C5-R drivers Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell into the lead in the GTS driver standings.

"It's a natural next step for the Corvette Racing program," said Corvette Brand Manager Rick Baldick. "Corvette is an elite global brand, and our successes on the track have bought a heightened awareness of Corvette's phenomenal performance capabilities worldwide.

"The Corvette C5-R's success has generated substantial customer interest in purchasing these racecars," Baldick said. "Corvette has long been the leader in the U.S. High Sports market segment. Being able to offer customer racecars adds to the brand's cachet on a global basis. It will help us communicate our world-class engineering message to sports-car enthusiasts everywhere."

Individuals who purchase a C5-R will receive the chassis, as well as installation of the engine and engine electronics from Pratt and Miller. The engine and electronics system would be purchased separately through Katech.

"In my view, the C5-R has begun to hit full stride in what is still a young racing career," said Corvette Program Manager Doug Fehan. "We began in 1999 with a limited program, then found our mark and started winning races against the fastest GTS sports cars in the world in 2000 and 2001. Quite frankly, the Corvette C5-R program has achieved success faster than most expected."

The C5-R program was designed to create a GTS-class racer that would capably challenge the best of international competition while maintaining the integrity of the production Corvettes. The racecar is based on the street platform and utilizes a number of common components. These common components include the following:

  • Front and rear chassis cradles are machined to production specs
  • Stock hydroformed frame side rails are used as a base for the roll cage
  • Power steering pump, steering rack, upper and lower front control arms, rear lower control arms, alternator and water pump are all production items
  • Body, which is loosely based on the production car's CAD data uses the production windshield, taillights and marker lights
  • Engine blocks are cast on the production engine casting line

GM is active on the motorsports scene at a variety of levels. The series it which it participates include; Endurance racing (Le Mans, American Le Mans Series), NASCAR (stock cars and trucks), NHRA (drag racing), Indy Racing League (IRL), off-road truck racing, German Touring Car (DTM), British and Australian Touring Car, Formula 3, and rallying.

General Motors has a worldwide tradition of racing production-based vehicles through its Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Holden, Opel, Pontiac, Saab and Vauxhall divisions. GM is the world's largest vehicle manufacturer and a leader in automotive branding, technology and design.

Related Forum:  Corvette Racing

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