A very worthy addition to our roster of historic retrospectives of significant cars comes courtesy of Corvette Racing with their pictorial tribute to the first Pratt & Miller built ‘Vette of the modern era.
The Corvette C5-R scored big wins in major races and Championships, the standard-bearer, and the standard-setter for what followed!
CORVETTE CHASSIS C5R-001
First up in Corvette chassis history is the one that started it all, Corvette C5R-001. It placed second at Daytona in 2000 and third in 1999. Its first race was as #2 and not the familiar No. 3.
CORVETTE CHASSIS C5R-002
Corvette chassis C5R-002 competed in six races and was third in class at Le Mans in 2000. Andy Pilgrim drove it in each of its six appearances.
CORVETTE CHASSIS C5R-003
Corvette C5R-003 is possibly the most famous Corvette Racing chassis in history! It was the first race-winner (Texas 2000) and won the Rolex 24 overall in 2001. C5R-003 won 10 times in 17 races including Le Mans in 2001 and 2002. It also started a long-time partnership between Corvette legends Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell.
CORVETTE CHASSIS C5R-004
Three wins in 15 contests for Corvette C5R-004 including the ‘Pilgrim Pass’ at the 2000 Petit Le Mans with a repeat victory the next year. It gained worldwide notoriety when Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr., drove it at the 2001 Rolex 24 At Daytona alongside Andy Pilgrim and Kelly Collins at the 2001 Rolex 24.
CORVETTE CHASSIS C5R-005
Corvette C5R-005 was one of Corvette Racing’s most dominant cars. It won seven times in 11 races including Petit Le Mans in 2002 and the 2003 Sebring 12 Hours. It also helped program legend Ron Fellows to his first American Le Mans Series title in 2002. After life in North America, C5R-005 went on to race throughout Europe as the second car for the Selleslagh Racing team (see 007 below) in privateer hands until 2008.
CORVETTE CHASSIS C5R-006
Corvette C5R-006 took three wins in 11 races in the hands of Corvette Racing, including the program’s first at Road America in 2002. It went on to race in the hands of Pacific Coast Motorsports in the 2005 ALMS season with all three Corvettes finishing on the GT1 podium at Portland – a first for the brand.
Post ALMS it raced on in the national French GT Championship and in selected FIA GT races, including the Spa 24 Hours with PSI.
CORVETTE CHASSIS C5R-007
A Fun Fact: Corvette C5R-007 is the only Corvette chassis NOT to be fielded by Corvette Racing. It was built for Selleslagh Racing Team (SRT) in the Belgium Racing Car Championship (Belcar). It is by far the most ‘experienced’ C5-R chassis with 71 races throughout Europe but it never appeared at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It did, however, compete at the 24 Hours of Spa on multiple occasions.
After long and faithful service with SRT it was sold to Alexander Talkanitsa Sr and raced on until 2008 in FIA GT racing and in races in the Czech Republic
CORVETTE CHASSIS C5R-008
Corvette C5R-008 had a relatively short career but it made results count: two wins in eight races. It also was the car Oliver Gavin drove for the majority of his first full season with the team. The #4 Corvette in IMSA, it also wore the #50 at Le Mans in 2003.
CORVETTE CHASSIS C5R-009
Corvette C5R-009 had a similarly brief career as chassis 008. It claimed three wins in 10 races and started as #53 at Le Mans before continuing on as #3 in the American Le Mans Series. It carried Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell to a second straight ALMS GTS title in a tight battle over Prodrive.
CORVETTE CHASSIS C5R-010
The 2004 season was the final one for the Corvette C5-R in factory hands. Chassis C5R-010 marked the beginning of the Oliver Gavin/Olivier Beretta/Jan Magnussen partnership that began in 2004. Its first victory was Le Mans in 2004 – the first of three in a row in France for the trio. Gavin and Beretta won three straight races late in the season including Petit Le Mans. This chassis went on to race extensively in Europe (including Le Mans) until October 2009 with Luc Alphand Aventures and then DKR Engineering.
CORVETTE CHASSIS C5R-011
Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell closed out their Corvette C5-R run with four wins in chassis C5R-011. This car’s first race was a class victory at Sebring in 2004, and it won its final factory outing at Laguna Seca. Seven additional wins followed internationally including multiple wins in FIA GT competition in the hands of GLPK Carsport.
The car then became one of a pair (including chassis 10) that found their way to DKR Engineering in Luxembourg who used both in FFSA GT until 2009, Chassis 11 then found another buyer in Belgium and undertook more limited racing as late as 2011, the last C5-R in contemporary competition.
CORVETTE CHASSIS C5R-012
A bonus item in our Corvette history project. Chassis C5R-012 served as the testing and development car for the C6.R generation. It tested on-track for the first time in 2003 with Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell handling most of the testing duties. Fellows also drove this on stage to debut the C6.R at the 2005 North American International Auto Show.
Pics courtesy of Corvette Racing and copyright Richard Prince Photography