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Corvette Racing boss confirms new 5.5L V8 debut

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2010 Corvette GT2 Engine May Possibly Give the Glimpse of The Next Small Block

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[source: General Motors]

PRESS RELEASE

Corvette Racing 2009 Review: Doug Fehan Q&A

The First in a Series of Conversations with Corvette Racing

DETROIT – Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan has seen it all in motorsports, and he had to rely on every element of that hard-earned experience to navigate through a tumultuous 2009 season. In the midst of a global economic storm, Fehan steered Corvette Racing to the team's sixth win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the successful mid-year introduction of the GT2 version of the Corvette C6.R in the American Le Mans Series.

Corvette Racing's 10th anniversary season was a year of transition. The championship-winning GT1 Compuware Corvettes secured a seventh win in the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 21, and made their farewell appearance in the ALMS in Long Beach, Calif., on April 18. The curtain fell on the GT1 era on June 13-14 with a GT1 victory in Le Mans, France, as Johnny O'Connell, Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia stood on the top step of the podium. Seven weeks later, two new-generation Corvette C6.Rs made their competition debut in the GT2 class at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

As the team conducted a five-race test program in preparation for a unified GT class in 2010, Corvette Racing posted five podium finishes and notched its first GT2 win at Mosport International Raceway on August 30. In the series' final five rounds, Corvette Racing scored more team and manufacturer points than any other GT2 entry, and O'Connell and Magnussen tallied the most points in the GT2 drivers championship. The season ended with fireworks at Laguna Seca as Magnussen walked away from his battered race car after a high-speed crash on the final lap of the season.

Under Fehan's leadership, Corvette Racing has become one of the world's premier production sports car teams. An ardent advocate for the Corvette cause and an icon for legions of faithful Corvette fans; Fehan received the ALMS "From the Fans" award in 2004, 2008, and 2009. In the following Q&A, he looks back at the 2009 season and looks ahead to 2010.

Q: Looking in the rearview mirror, what stands out in 2009?

Fehan: "There were really two parts to the season – our final races in GT1 leading up to Le Mans, followed by the debut of the GT2 program. Our focus was and will always be the 24 Hours of Le Mans. When GM was going through its restructuring, our greatest concern was that some might not understand the importance and significance of that event. It was a heartening moment when we were able to get past that point.

"In spite of many uncertainties, the team focused its energy on running the first round at Sebring, which we knew would be a great test of the engineering improvements we'd made in the race cars. And then going to Long Beach, we fulfilled the second half of our mission, which is marketing the Corvette and Chevrolet brands and representing our team sponsors.

"Everyone felt the importance of writing the final chapter of GT1 at Le Mans. They dedicated themselves to succeed, and it was absolutely amazing to see them embrace that idea. It fueled their fire because they knew the team was undergoing its most significant challenge, and concurrently they were designing, planning and building the GT2 cars. The preparation was almost as much fun as the race."

Q: And the highlight of the GT2 portion?

Fehan: "The win at Mosport. Watching the new cars' first laps at Mid-Ohio and knowing that we'd be competitive was certainly exciting, but the victory at Mosport was overwhelming. It happened much sooner than we expected, and it showed ALMS fans what they have to look forward to in 2010 with competition between Corvette, Ferrari, Porsche, Jaguar, BMW, and Ford.

"I think by any measure, the GT2 Corvette introduction was successful. Our objective was to focus on Corvette Racing's core strengths: preparation, durability and reliability. We've learned that is what scores points – it's not always the fastest car that wins races and championships. In five events, we had zero mechanical issues, and the cars were on pace. That was very encouraging."

Q: Surely one of the highlights of 2009 was your stunning victory over Jan "The Flying Viking" Magnussen in the Tour de Road America Bike Ride to Fight Cancer?

Fehan: "That certainly ranks right at the top, but in a different category (laughs). We had some fun, and the race benefited a good cause, the Lance Armstrong Foundation. I challenge the pit crews to improve continuously, and the bike race demonstrated to our drivers that there is going to be continuous improvement in their level of physical preparation as well. I mean, they ought to be able to keep up with the program manager!"

Q: On a serious note, what were the lessons learned in Jan's last-lap crash at Laguna Seca?

Fehan: "Unfortunately the hardest lessons you learn in this sport are always safety related. You never want to put your safety systems to the test, but when that moment arrives, it's very reassuring to know that they are validated. That's what we learned at Laguna Seca.

"Initially we had concerns about running an aluminum chassis, and we had concerns about how the roll cage was integrated into the chassis. The force of the impact exceeded 50 g's, and yet Jan walked away. When we analyzed the chassis after the crash, the safety systems worked just as they were designed, and the aluminum chassis did a marvelous job of absorbing the energy and protecting Jan from serious injury.

"The extent of Jan's injuries was a broken tailbone, which we attribute to the seat design. We have redesigned that part to prevent a reoccurrence in the future, so that is the upside of the incident. Despite the severity of the crash, the crew had the No. 3 Corvette repaired and fully operational within a couple of weeks."

Q: What is the status of the GT-spec Corvette customer car program for 2010?

Fehan: "We currently have two customer cars under construction, but we don't yet have confirmed buyers for them. There has been tremendous interest in the GT-spec Corvette C6.Rs, and we think with continued improvement in the global economy, the interested parties will be able to make a commitment. We'd be delighted to see more Corvettes racing in the ALMS or overseas."

Q: While there will be a single GT class in the ALMS in 2010, GT1 will continue in the FIA series and at Le Mans. What's your perspective on the two classes?

Fehan: "A year ago, there was general agreement regarding a unified GT class, which we will see in the ALMS in 2010. The intention at that time was to base the FIA GT1 class on GT cars, with limited modifications to the engine and aerodynamics. Since then, however, Europe has encountered the same economic issues that we have faced in the U.S., and many members of the racing community understandably wish to retain their current cars for financial reasons. Consequently some of the older GT1 cars will now be converted to the new regulations, including several privately owned Corvette C6.Rs, and the ACO has invited these cars to participate at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. As the economic climate improves, I hope that the decision makers will recognize the benefits of running one GT class at Le Mans and other venues."

Q: Corvette Racing will introduce a production-based 5.5-liter small-block V-8 engine in 2010 in place of the 7.0-liter and 6.0-liter engines used previously. What's the outlook for the engine program?

Fehan: "GM Powertrain has completed the initial dynamometer tests of the 5.5-liter small-block V8, and the race team has conducted the first track test with the new engine. We are quite satisfied with its performance level at this point. We plan to continue development and introduce the 5.5-liter engine package in competition at Sebring."

Q: What are Corvette Racing's goals for 2010?

Fehan: "The ALMS GT championship and victory at Le Mans."

Corvette Racing's next event is the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla., on March 20, 2010. The classic 12-hour endurance race will be televised live on SPEED starting at 10 a.m. ET.

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i made a comment about a 5.5L elsewhere ....maybe it'll have DI?

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i made a comment about a 5.5L elsewhere ....maybe it'll have DI?

Possibly the XTS will bow out with it. I still am wondering about the 4.9L used in the Denali Concept. Those two will be some good engines going into the future.

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Possibly the XTS will bow out with it. I still am wondering about the 4.9L used in the Denali Concept. Those two will be some good engines going into the future.

maybe it was in that thread.

should be good for 400hp.

just an upsized version of the 5.3L with DI maybe?

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maybe it was in that thread.

should be good for 400hp.

just an upsized version of the 5.3L with DI maybe?

Since GM was able to put out a 5.7 liter 405 hp in the c5 Z06...with direct injection why couldn't the corvette team get the 20 percent increase in hp that the 3.6 liter DI compared to non 3.6 Di ?

That should put the new 5.5 liter v8 for corvette at around 470 hp!!!

What do you guys think?

Will the C7 roll out with a base 5.5 liter v8 with 470hp?

Will the camaro SS 6.2 liter motor be allowed to outproduce a new corvette with 426hp? I say no way so we will probably see the first year corvette c7 with more power than the camaro SS so that makes the hp range of the new 5.5 liter v8 between 426hp and my best guess at 470hp..

any thoughts?

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This is the engine Tom Wallace hinted of a while back for the Vette. It will be smaller and have DI the last I heard.

With the smaller size and DI it will retain the same to just a little more power but be much more efficent. DI was the last card for the LS based engine to play with out going hybrid.

The key will be the new C7 will be smaller and lighter to gain more performance in all areas. Lets face it less weight will provide more performance gains than just power would alone.

The Camaro will also see this engine as well as the trucks in a slightly different config. This engine is nothing really new and has been planned for a while. I also expect GM will show us ways they are looking to cut weight in the Camaro and trucks too. At this point everyting at GM is on a Diet from here forward.

Nice to see the Pratt and Miller team go to a race what we race on Saturday we sell on Monday thing. GT2 should be very interesting.

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That should put the new 5.5 liter v8 for corvette at around 470 hp!!!

any thoughts?

I could see a potential 450HP if the redline is towards 7K

otherwise i'm sticking to my ~400hp figure. guessing it will compete with fords 5.0L and barely beat it.

hopefully we shall hear all about it's wonder this month. unless Dwightlooi does a spec sheet for it, i'm just gonna wait now.

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I would guess the 5.5 makes around 400 hp, but they'll get 1 mpg more out of it than they do from the 6.2 liter. Although they'd need DI and whatever they can do with a pushrod to get that. I think this is a move for mileage, and not power, so I wouldn't be surprised if the C7 has equal or slightly less power than the C6.

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I would guess the 5.5 makes around 400 hp, but they'll get 1 mpg more out of it than they do from the 6.2 liter. Although they'd need DI and whatever they can do with a pushrod to get that. I think this is a move for mileage, and not power, so I wouldn't be surprised if the C7 has equal or slightly less power than the C6.

If I was a pushrod hater I would low-ball the horsepower estimate, but I'm not, so I will say that 470 is a more reasonable expectation. Assuming it has DI, the compression ratio possibilities are incredible. A decrease in displacement is always hard to swallow, but the direct injection makes it tolerable.

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I look for a little gain but not a lot. They are looking for MPG and not giving any HP up. The DI will make up for the loss in size and while the smaller engine will incease efficiency.

The C7 will lose weight in size and materials so the 400+ HP they will have will accelerate faster, turn better and stop faster. You don't need 500 HP if the rest of the car is right.

Keep also in mind this engine is also do for the Pick up trucks were they will need more MPG. I suspect we will see more compsite body parts on the trucks.

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Keep also in mind this engine is also do for the Pick up trucks were they will need more MPG. I suspect we will see more compsite body parts on the trucks.

and a future ~7L to, replace the "vortecMax", and a gasser option beside the duramax.

the question will be what will the standard engine be? a v6? or the current 4.8/5.3L options?

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If I was a pushrod hater I would low-ball the horsepower estimate, but I'm not, so I will say that 470 is a more reasonable expectation. Assuming it has DI, the compression ratio possibilities are incredible. A decrease in displacement is always hard to swallow, but the direct injection makes it tolerable.

The 6.2 liter makes 403-424 hp, reducing engine size to 5.5 liters and expecting a 60 hp gain doesn't seam reasonable.

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to be honest if the next vette goes down to say 3000 pounds, you won't need 400hp in the base vette. 0-60 in 4.9 is all that is needed and the power to weight with 3000 lbs and 400hp will be fine. conversely, a weight reduction alone will improve mpg, so if the engine itself uses less gas to get 400hp plus weight reduction hopefully you will get something to the effect of 19/30. the biggest problem will be being able to not continually fight loss of traction.

i would be more concerned that the engine be absolutely bulletproof.

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and a future ~7L to, replace the "vortecMax", and a gasser option beside the duramax.

the question will be what will the standard engine be? a v6? or the current 4.8/5.3L options?

I suspect we will see the 4.3 go away and one of the new V6 engines come in.

Ford and GM still float the turbo V6 idea up frm time to time. They want to try it but are affraid to spend the money if it fails. Most Truck owners might prove to be a hard sell on it. This is a combo preception hurts it more than true performace.

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i made a comment about a 5.5L elsewhere ....maybe it'll have DI?

the corvette race engine had DI last year and the had to remove it when the other teams complained. it will be legal this year.

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just gonna through some numbers around...

a 5.3L makes 315 or ~325 on e85 that's ~61hp per L

the 7.0L make 505 that's 72/L

i'll use the average 66.5

5.5 L ~365hp.

add DI and VVT increases...~15% total = ~420Hp a little more for the vette = 450 ,little less for trucks ~400

my it'll compete against F's 5.0L.....sticking to it.

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I suspect we will see the 4.3 go away and one of the new V6 engines come in.

Ford and GM still float the turbo V6 idea up frm time to time. They want to try it but are affraid to spend the money if it fails. Most Truck owners might prove to be a hard sell on it. This is a combo preception hurts it more than true performace.

A turbo V6 in a fullsize truck is likely to flop. With cost and durability troubles on one side, and customer resistance on the other, I would vote against trying it.

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A turbo V6 in a fullsize truck is likely to flop. With cost and durability troubles on one side, and customer resistance on the other, I would vote against trying it.

You know as well as I that durability is no longer an issue as long as they don't take any short cuts. turbo's today are very durable and not like the 30,000 mile T types of the past.

Cost would be a little but on the other hand building new smaller V8 engines is not all that cheaper either. The other added hybrid trick also add to the cost of making a V8 more fuel efficent.

The only real concern is the accptance of the general truck buyer. I think if GM, Ford and Chrysler all agreed to do it at the same time they would give it a shot but none want to be the lone company to do it and who can blaime them.

There is no reason in the world why why Tubo 6 with over 400 HP would not work in a half ton truck. We all know that it would produce enough power and torque to deal with any job 90% of half ton owners would ever do. The fact is the majority drive around with the beds empty 85% if the time.

The big issue at hand is the preception that a V6 engine in a truck is a dog and an entry level vehicle.

The funny part of all this is most of the new truck owners are on 6 cyliders most of the time any way with displacment on demand. They are just too ignorent about it to know better. The public justs needs to learn with the new things like VVT and DI that it makes small displacment engines very efficent, durable and very powerful. As they build more of them the cost will come down too. The big three in Detroit need to start to educate people more on what the small engines can and are able to do if they want them to buy them. Ford has done some of that on the Ecoboost but GM is still lagging on the merits of the DI 3.6 and other good small engines they have.

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the corvette race engine had DI last year and the had to remove it when the other teams complained. it will be legal this year.

I saw the DI car run at Mid Ohio. They removed it before it became an issue a race or two later and they still ran up front.

I think they had been sand bagging all the way. Pratt and Miller have been at this game long enough to know if they came out too good out of the box they would get weight added or air restrictors. They were getting the cars sorted out and not running for points. I suspect this year they will run good enough to win but not make it look too bad.

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The 6.2 liter makes 403-424 hp, reducing engine size to 5.5 liters and expecting a 60 hp gain doesn't seam reasonable.

You act as if the LS3 is even close to peaked in stock form.

The LS6, at a displacement of 5.7 and marginally larger than the proposed 5.5, made 405hp, and that was quite a while ago. A 5.5, with advancements in technology and the inclusion of direct injection would not be out of place in an upper 400hp category.

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You know as well as I that durability is no longer an issue as long as they don't take any short cuts. turbo's today are very durable and not like the 30,000 mile T types of the past.

Cost would be a little but on the other hand building new smaller V8 engines is not all that cheaper either. The other added hybrid trick also add to the cost of making a V8 more fuel efficent.

The only real concern is the accptance of the general truck buyer. I think if GM, Ford and Chrysler all agreed to do it at the same time they would give it a shot but none want to be the lone company to do it and who can blaime them.

There is no reason in the world why why Tubo 6 with over 400 HP would not work in a half ton truck. We all know that it would produce enough power and torque to deal with any job 90% of half ton owners would ever do. The fact is the majority drive around with the beds empty 85% if the time.

The big issue at hand is the preception that a V6 engine in a truck is a dog and an entry level vehicle.

The funny part of all this is most of the new truck owners are on 6 cyliders most of the time any way with displacment on demand. They are just too ignorent about it to know better. The public justs needs to learn with the new things like VVT and DI that it makes small displacment engines very efficent, durable and very powerful. As they build more of them the cost will come down too. The big three in Detroit need to start to educate people more on what the small engines can and are able to do if they want them to buy them. Ford has done some of that on the Ecoboost but GM is still lagging on the merits of the DI 3.6 and other good small engines they have.

Turbo durability in a truck would be new territory, and therefore a gamble.

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I have to disagree with you Camino they have been using them on the diesels since the '90s and are very reliable and that's at least a good chunk of the market. With that much of the buyers opting for the diesels all being turboed for 2 decades that's a very loyal happy vocal customer base already to help promote gas turbo's.

Diesel is a different animal. Because of its inherent high compression requirement, Diesel blocks are always built to be stronger than gasoline blocks because of thicker walls and more reinforcements. The already flat torque curve - nature of the diesel engine, does not require Turbo to enhance the curve. All turbo does in case of a diesel engine is just offset the Torque and Power numbers higher. Therefore diesel engine can sustain higher loads with ease.

One of the necessity of a turbo in gasoline engine is to force the curve to be flatter. Turbo V6 can produce torque and power numbers equivalent to a V-8, but their applications in cars rarely see the sustained amount of stress a truck application engine will see. And that is where the concern comes. In a car most of the time the engine revs high shifts gear. But in case of a truck used for hauling, plowing, off-roading, etc. the RPM range is pretty much constant.

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I have to disagree with you Camino they have been using them on the diesels since the '90s and are very reliable and that's at least a good chunk of the market. With that much of the buyers opting for the diesels all being turboed for 2 decades that's a very loyal happy vocal customer base already to help promote gas turbo's.

This should be GM's drive as they were the first in America with the Corvair then Starfire & Special all turboed. They all had anemic engines and answered the market with turbos, it just works. They just need to offer different levels of power with the turbos in the sweet spot & the top dog being a big n/a gasser for HP & diesel for TQ(still need the baby DuraMax)

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Diesel is a different animal. Because of its inherent high compression requirement, Diesel blocks are always built to be stronger than gasoline blocks because of thicker walls and more reinforcements. The already flat torque curve - nature of the diesel engine, does not require Turbo to enhance the curve. All turbo does in case of a diesel engine is just offset the Torque and Power numbers higher. Therefore diesel engine can sustain higher loads with ease.

One of the necessity of a turbo in gasoline engine is to force the curve to be flatter. Turbo V6 can produce torque and power numbers equivalent to a V-8, but their applications in cars rarely see the sustained amount of stress a truck application engine will see. And that is where the concern comes. In a car most of the time the engine revs high shifts gear. But in case of a truck used for hauling, plowing, off-roading, etc. the RPM range is pretty much constant.

This is true of gas vs diesel with block thickness also of truck vs car blocks plus the fact trucks are tuned for torque. A small block Chevy is more than capable of making that much torque and withstanding it for many hours. GM's cars also saw much of their time in the 1200-1800rpm range @ hiway speed. Diesels don't have a inherently flat TQ curve they are tuned for it what they have is the advantage of a normally higher C/R and a fuel with higher BTU's than gas does. That is one of the reasons that diesel needs mor wall& deck thickness larger fasteners bigger jurnal sizes.

The differance between cars & trucks has blurred in this country as only 2-5% of 1/2 ton trucks are used for work so they are just big cars now . They will still be able to handle periods of constant output for towing the family boat or camper.GM will be using truck blocks to start off with not Corvette hand builts.

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I think there are some that do not understand the power, durability and torque curve of most modern VVT DI engines.

The 2.0 Turbo in the Solstice has been tested on a Dynojet dyno and has produced 248 lb-ft of torque at 2700 RPM at the rear wheel. It will remain over 200 lb-ft from 2300 RPM to 5200 RPM.

I suspect Ford will offer the Ecoboost V6 in the truck next to the new V8. I think many will be suprised how well it will do for most owners and how much cheaper it will be to run. I just hpe GM is ready with their coming V6 Turbo.

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