The new Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.R will make its first race start from inside the top-10 of an extremely deep GT field in Saturday’s Rolex 24 At Daytona to kick off the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Antonio Garcia led the Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports effort in Sunday’s 15-minute qualifying session to wrap up the Roar Before the 24 weekend. He set a lap of 1:44.786 (122.306 mph) in the No. 3 Oshkosh/Mobil 1 Corvette Z06 GT3.R during a red-flag interrupted run that saw the field get just eight minutes of green-flag running.

Teammate Tommy Milner, in the sister No. 4 Oshkosh/Mobil 1 Corvette Z06 GT3.R, wasn’t far behind at 1:45.215 (121.807 mph). The depth of the class was evident in qualifying with the first 10 GTD PRO cars within a second. Further illustrating that, 23 GT cars were within the same margin.

Two of those belonged to new Corvette team AWA in the GTD class. First-year Corvette factory pilot Nico Varrone qualified ninth in class with the No. 17 Corvette Z06 GT3.R. He set a best time of 1:44.959 (122.105 mph) – one year after winning the Rolex 24 in with AWA in the LMP3 class.

Teammate Matt Bell was 14th in class in the No. 13 Corvette at 1:45.206 (121.818 mph).

The official competition debut of the Corvette Z06 GT3.R comes almost 15 months from the first time the initial test car turned its wheels for the first time on a track. Since that time, continued testing and development has come at circuits around the United States and at Chevrolet’s Driver in the Loop (DIL) simulator.

The Corvette Z06 GT3.R is Chevrolet’s first car built to global GT3 regulations. It’s based on the production Corvette Z06 supercar with the two sharing a significant amount of DNA.

The racecar is built on the same production aluminum chassis frame – from Chevrolet’s Bowling Green (Ky.) Assembly plant – as the road-going Z06. Similar carbon-fiber splitters for front downforce, and the surface area from the top of the windshield to the rear of the Z06 remained intact on the Z06 GT3.R. That includes side air ducts behind the doors — directly inspired by Z06 production road car — that help to cool the engine, transaxle and rear brakes.

The similarities carry over to the hand-built 5.5L, flat-plane crankshaft V8 engine in the Z06 GT3.R. Both original from the Bowling Green factory with the racing version sharing 80 percent of the production content from the Z06, including the crankshaft, connecting rods, cylinder heads, fuel injectors, coils, gaskets and a variety of other sensors.

Corvette’s latest racing challenger benefits from a legacy of previous race- and championship-winning racecars. Three previous generations of Corvette – C5-R, C7.R and C8.R – have visited Victory Lane at Daytona with the program claiming four previous class victories. The goal for this year’s Rolex is to claim Victory No. 5… and No. 6.

The Rolex 24 At Daytona is scheduled to go green at 1:40 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 27 with the race broadcast beginning on NBC. USA Network and Peacock also will air coverage throughout Saturday and Sunday.

Photo: Richard Prince

Photo: Eric Klauser

CORVETTE RACING MEDIA INFORMATION

Corvette Racing media information is updated and available ahead of the Roar Before the 24 as well as next week’s Rolex 24 At Daytona for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Materials include Corvette Racing event advance and quotes, Corvette Racing stats and figures, Corvette Z06 GT3.R racecar comparisons, Corvette Racing Fast Facts, driver biographies and Corvette Racing photography, among other items.

CORVETTE RACING BY PRATT MILLER MOTORSPORTS QUALIFYING DRIVER QUOTES

ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 OSHKOSH / MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R – QUALIFIED THIRD IN GTD PRO: “It was a bit stressful, but luckily I was in the right spot. Basically, I had nobody in front of me or everybody was pushing in front of me so I had nobody behind me. I could actually gauge that. We only had two good laps once the tire temps were up, so it was difficult to really nail both laps. But in a way, I think it was a decent qualifying considering it’s a 24-hour race. We have a lot of GTDs in the mix with us. But it’s still the start of a long week. I’m happy with where we are, and we just need to go from there. It’s going to be a tight race.”

TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 OSHKOSH / MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R – QUALIFIED SEVENTH IN GTD PRO: “We race hard no matter what, that’s for sure. It was definitely a weird little qualifying session there with the long red flag and then really having only two timed laps to really go for it. The good thing is the Michelin tire peaks early on, so realistically that is the best that the tire and car will be. Still I’m happy with our Corvette, happy with the balance. Qualifying position isn’t crazy important for a 24-hour race, so I’m very pleased with our car balance and race car that we think we have going forward. I’m excited to go racing.”

AWA QUALIFYING DRIVER QUOTES

NICO VARRONE, NO. 17 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R – QUALIFIED NINTH IN GTD: “It was very nice actually to be the first one to have the honor of qualifying the new Corvette. It was a super cool experience for us. About 30 seconds after we were on track, we had a red flag so that complicated some things and shortened it quite a bit. It was a bit tough to get everything working and in our range – tire pressures, temperature, etc. In the end, I think we did a good job. I’m happy with how we did. We improved from practice where we were struggling setup-wise. We still have to work on some things to get it ready for this race. But I would say with the new Z06 GT3.R, and also to the team and a new class, everything is working great. I’m looking forward to the 24. We’ll have some days off and the guys have to work some on the car to get everything for Thursday practice, but I think we’re looking good.”

CORVETTE RACING BY THE NUMBERS AT DAYTONA

  • 0.034: As in seconds – the winning margin of victory in Corvette Racing’s 1-2 finish at the 2016 Rolex 24. Up until last year’s LMP2 finish, it was the closest finish in race history
  • 1: Rolex 24 class win for AWA; the team won in LMP3 in 2023. Current team drivers Nico Varrone, Anthony Mantella and Thomas Merrill were part of that lineup
  • 2: Number of the overall winning Corvette C5-R in the 2001 Rolex 24. Ron Fellows, Johnny O’Connell, Chris Kneifel and Franck Freon completed 656 laps for 2335.36 miles in the winning effort
  • 4: Number of Corvette Z06 GT3.R entries for the 2024 Rolex 24 – two from Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports (GTD PRO) and two from AWA (GTD)
  • 4: Rolex 24 wins for Corvette Racing as an entrant: 2001 overall, 2015 GTLM (Antonio Garcia/Jan Magnussen/Ryan Briscoe), 2016 GTLM (Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler) and 2021 GTLM (Garcia/Jordan Taylor/Nicky Catsburg)
  • 9: Corvette/General Motors factory drivers piloting the Corvette Z06 GT3.R in this year’s race: Antonio Garcia, Alexander Sims, Dani Juncadella, Tommy Milner, Nicky Catsburg, Earl Bamber (Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller) plus Charlie Eastwood, Nico Varrone and Alex Lynn (AWA). Bamber and Lynn also are Cadillac Racing factory drivers in FIA WEC
  • 14: IMSA Manufacturer Championships for Chevrolet and Corvette Racing since 2001
  • 24: Drivers who have driven for Corvette Racing at Daytona – Justin Bell, Ryan Briscoe, Nicky Catsburg, Kelly Collins, Dale Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Marcel Fässler, Ron Fellows, Franck Freon, Antonio Garcia, Oliver Gavin, John Heinricy, Chris Kneifel, Robin Liddell, Jan Magnussen, Tommy Milner, Simon Pagenaud, John Paul Jr., Andy Pilgrim, Mike Rockenfeller, Scott Sharp, Alexander Sims, Marco Sorensen, Nick Tandy and Jordan Taylor
  • 27: Tracks at which Corvette Racing has won races – Baltimore, Charlotte Motor Speedway, COTA, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park/Mosport, Daytona, Detroit, Fuji Speedway, Houston, Laguna Seca, Le Mans, Lime Rock, Long Beach, Miami, Mid-Ohio, Monza, Portland, Road America, Road Atlanta, Sebring, Sonoma, St. Petersburg, Texas, Trois Rivieres, Utah, VIR, Washington DC and Watkins Glen
  • 32: Number of drivers for Corvette Racing since 1999
  • 71: Years since Corvette was introduced to the world on Jan. 17, 1953 in New York City. A total of 300 cars were produced that year
  • 127: Victories worldwide for Corvette Racing – 115 in North America, nine at Le Mans and three in the FIA WEC
  • 284: Event starts by Corvette Racing since 1999
  • 99,600: Total number of racing laps completed by Corvette Racing entries since 1999. Barring any issues, the program will go over the 100,00-lap mark at the Rolex 24 of Daytona
  • 361,990.52: Total number of racing miles completed by Corvette Racing entries since 1999. To put that in perspective, Corvette Racing is more than halfway to the distance traveled by Apollo 13 – the longest manned spaceflight in history: 622,268 miles

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