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The Daytona Prototype Corvette: The Back Story: Oops, I Did It Again

LongRoofian November 16, 2011 Hooniverse Goes To... 17 Comments

Well my fellow Hoons, this olelongrooffan has done it again. Yesterday was the official unveiling of the Daytona Prototype Corvette right here in good ole Daytona Beach, Florida. As all I was doing all day long was working with Manuel Labor, I decided to take the afternoon off and crash the gates at that unveiling to see what could be seen.

Yeah, there were more muckity-mucks in attendance than you could shake a stick at. It seemed like every member of Chevrolet corporate motorsports who wears a suit was there as well as all the big shots from NASCAR (they were there for the fuel injection testing out on the track anyway), Grand American Road Racing, Pratt and Miller Engineering (not a suit in sight with that bunch), Wayne Taylor and his Suntrust Racing team, Bob Stallings GAINSCO team (Bob however was AWOL), and virtually every member of management for both the Spirit of Daytona and the Action Express racing teams. That’s GM’s Jim Campbell at the podium reminding all of us what a great and storied history the Corvette possesses. Hell, he even invoked the name of Betty Skelton.

And all of the team’s drivers made it out for the event. Darren Law, David Donahue, Terry Borcheller, Christian Fittipaldi, JC France and a bunch more were out for show and tell. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. even took a break from NASCAR testing to step inside, see the show and enjoy a plate full of salami and cheese.

Several items were mentioned either by Jim Campbell in his presentation or during the requisite Q and A session afterwards with a member each from Chevy racing, Pratt and Miller and Grand Am Road Racing joining Mr. Campbell on stage. Brad Brownell, who broke the story on this release here on the Hooniverse yesterday summarized those points for me in a much more succinct manner than this olelongrooffan could ever accomplish so I’ll let him speak to them.

1. The beautiful blue car in the pictures is the first of three that have already been built. Bob Stallings-Gainsco Racing and Wayne Taylor-Suntrust Racing have already taken stewardship of their cars (first in line, likely because they have been loyal to GM for years, with both having run Pontiac and Chevrolet engines in the past). There are another two cars being built right now, as Action Express Racing will be fielding two cars and Spirit of Daytona Racing have committed to one full season entry.

2. The new Corvette DP chassis was a joint development between Cheever Racing’s Coyote manufacturing and GM’s de facto racing squad of Pratt and Miller.

3. Talks between GM and Grand Am began nearly 18 months ago, and the three chassis have been in the works for about 8 months from design concept to finished product.

4. Nobody knows exactly how well the car will perform, as it has never been on track before today’s test session. We shall soon find out, I suppose.

5. Dyno testing has been completed, however, which shows the Small Block Chevrolet engine produces 530 horsepower at 7,000 rpm and 450 lbft at 5,500 rpm. The engine has been equipped with aluminum heads and a dry sump oiling system for a lower center of gravity, and to eliminate the slosh effect on an oil pan under g-loading.

6. No estimates have been given on the actual cost to purchase and run a new style Daytona Prototype, though I would suspect that the new chassis are slightly more expensive to build than the outgoing set of chassis (most were originally designed and built in 2003). However, even with a price increase, it is unlikely that these four teams would have paid full price anyway due to heavy subsidies levied by Chevrolet Racing’s marketing budget.

7. As GM increases their presence in Grand Am, it is unlikely that their successful GT2 program will be going away any time soon. GM wants to see another class victory at the 24 hours of Le Mans before they put a bookend on that section of their racing history.

Thanks a million Brad.

After the Q and A session, the floor was open to photographers and, of course, this olelongrooffan stepped right up on that stage and captured some close up images of it for my fellow Hoons.

While I was up there, I approached one of the Pratt and Miller dudes and asked him if any of the technology from the much acclaimed ALMS Corvette had found its way to this Daytona Prototype.

He commented that yes some had and that most of the latches, hinges, tiedowns and other such items from the ALMS Vette had been utilized on this DP.

And trust me, regardless of the mediocre advertising team running the ads geared toward those potential customers who do not follow Hooniverse, the team that came up with the color of this beautiful car and its contrasting engine compartment did a fantastic job.

Now if my fellow Hoons know anything about this olelongrooffan, you know I didn’t just stay around for the show but I had to stay until the bitter end. Plus, my elcheapo 28 dollar ebay acquired camera works a helluva lot better outdoors than indoors. (that there is a giant hint to whomever gets my name for Hoonimas this year!)

Oh yeah, while I was out there waiting for this to show up, I wandered over to the pits area to to check out the NASCAR test session.

And I’m here to tell you, whatever aero changes they tried on those NASCAR machines didn’t work and “two car drafting” was in effect all day long.

That Pratt and Miller engineer also mentioned the headlights were exactly the same at those on the ALMS Vette. Imagine a who know how many hundreds of thousands of dollars race car that is an exercise in parts bin manufacturing!

Yeah, the designers of this DP were able to incorporate a bunch of the street version of the Corvette’s design features into this new body style.

And as much as this olelongrooffan despises “Lambo doors,” on these Daytona Prototypes they are pretty damn cool.

The taillights were flat across the top just below the lower spoiler.   I have seen mention around these webs they are reminiscent of the tail lights on a new Camaro.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to hear this SBC sing but I am confident it possesses a wonderful, throaty melody when at speed. I can’t wait.

The first split window Vette in nearly 50 years!

And just to reassure my fellow Hoons these are original images (hell, I don’t even know how to photoshop!), I got a member of the Spirit of Daytona race team to capture this image just prior to his applying their decals to this beauty.

Oh yeah, I must once again thank Brad Brownell and a special note of appreciation to General Motors for the plate of food and the cold Diet Coke and to the security dude at the Turn 1 entrance of the Daytona International Speedway who, once again, let this olelongrooffan slip by to gather even more trivial information and experiences to share with my fellow Hoons.

  • You're my hero. You can talk your way into Fort Knox! And have the security guard take a picture of you.

  • tonyola

    Great job. Well done.

  • Devin

    Confidence + camera bag = all access pass.

  • craigsu

    Those look more like butterfly doors than Lambo-style. I also notice that it's running on Continental tires, not Goodyears.

    • I'll concede the Lambo doors to you. IIRC, Continental tires were introduced to this series last year (2010).

  • PrawoJazdy

    LongRoofian's balls > Jason Bright's balls

  • BradleyBrownell

    Continental Tire supplies all of the tires to Grand Am.

    I've always said that if you look like you know what you are doing, you can get away with anything.

    • craigsu

      Thanks for the info. It really had me wondering there given the close ties between Chevrolet and Goodyear. This is what the lack of cable or satellite TV does for my racing knowledge.

  • P161911

    Latches, hinges, and headlights shared with the ALMS car. Sounds like he was trying to say "we had to dumb this one down". It is a great looking car though. The first gen of the DP cars were some of the ugliest race cars I have ever seen. Maybe I should put more effort into getting over to Barber to see a Grand-Am race.

    Great work on the pictures.

  • Alff

    Manuel es mi primo. He called me today, complaining about some gringo who bailed off the jobsite.

  • Kristina Clements

    You rock!!! Great post!

  • BradleyBrownell

    [youtube 5FyXE7SpMAE&feature=player_embedded http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FyXE7SpMAE&feature=player_embedded youtube]

    • Van Sarockin

      So, it's a slightly better looking jelly bean? It looks and sounds great. But the appearance was dictated by marketing, not racing. Unfortunately, it looks like Daytona won't be on my appointment tv schedule next year.

      And not that it means anything, but it couldn't get past that 911…

    • Brad…thanks for sharing this, as well as your input to this post…heard the roar of the DP's today but didn't get the opportunity to escape the confines to experience them…this does it for me…it is greatly appreciated..

  • You the man!! thanks for the great post!

  • Someone read up on spy week over at the Toaster. Well done! Great photos and info.

  • Plecostomus

    It's everything I wished the CERV-III could've become. And fucking gorgeous in blue.