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Chevrolet's iconic Corvette will make its competitive debut as a Daytona Protoytpe in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series' in the legendary Rolex 24 at Daytona January 26-29, 2012, the 50th anniversary edition of the famous midwinter race. The new Corvette DP will participate in a Grand-Am test at Daytona International Speedway on Wednesday, November 16.
"The opportunity for innovation is what makes the Daytona Prototype class such a good fit for Chevrolet," said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet vice president for performance vehicles and motorsports. "Sports car and endurance racing is an outstanding platform for manufacturers like us to test and learn. The design of this race car incorporates iconic Corvette styling cues and will be immediately recognized by sports car enthusiasts and fans of Grand-Am road racing."
The development of this new race car is a multi-pronged effort, incorporating Chevrolet, Corvette designers, Pratt & Miller and Grand-Am. "Chevrolet also worked closely with chassis builders Riley, Coyote and Dallara," said Mark Kent, GM Racing director.
"the IMSA GTP Corvette prototype campaigned by Hendrick Motorsports in the 1980s was the inspiration for this new Chevrolet Corvette DP," Kent continued. "And, like the GTP Corvettes, the new Corvette Daytona Prototype contains numerous styling cues from the street version of the Chevrolet Corvette."
Corvette has a long history on the banks and the infield road course at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) - and on the sands of Daytona Beach. Zora Arkus-Duntov, recognized as the 'father' of the Corvette and chief Corvette engineer in the '50s and 1960s, set a flying mile speed record of more than 150 mph in a Corvette on Daytona Beach. When DIS opened in 1969, Arkus-Duntov turned the fastest laps of 155 mph in a Corvette SS.
In 2001, a Corvette driven by Ron Fellows, Johnny O'Connell, Chris Kneifel and Franck Freon was the overall winner in the Rolex 24 at Daytona; another Corvette finished fourth that year with Dale Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Andy Pilgrim and Kelly Collins sharing the driving duties.
"Grand-Am's new Daytona Prototype concept is aimed at allowing manufacturers to showcase their brand in an exciting cutting-edge fashion," said Grand-Am president Tom Bledsoe. "Chevrolet, with its new Corvette DP has done just that. The anticipation of seeing this Daytona Prototype compete is building each and every day."
Four teams intend to campaign the Corvette Daytona Prototype throughout the 2012 Grand-Am season: the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Racing; No. 10 SunTrust Racing; No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and the No.'s 5 and 9 Action Express Racing teams.