RaceArt is a team with an interesting race history and is personified by the brilliant Corvette C5.R dating from 2002 presently shimmering in the team’s workshops. This GT1 is one of the icons from the GT racing world and is in its original livery in the workshops of the Dutch team that was so successful past seasons in the Supercar Challenge.
The American Le Mans Series, a name on the lips of all motorsport aficionados. In the high days of the North American endurance championship the prototypes of Audi, Panoz and Porsche competed in the same races as the GT1 muscle cars including Corvette, Viper and Ferrari and in such legendary competitions as Sebring, Petit Le Mans or Laguna Seca. In 2002, 2003 and 2005 these races were the hunting ground of the Corvette C5.R GT1 bearing chassis number 006. The Corvette was one of the icons emanating from Detroit that today is in its third generation in endurance racing. The Corvette C5.R made its debut in 1999 and 11 of these cars would be built in the Pratt & Miller workshops to clinch prizes throughout the world.
Small part of race history on Dutch soil
The car boasts motorsport history in both the U.S.A. and Europe and in its last active years has raced in the Supercar Challenge, especially on Dutch and Belgian soil. Owner Roger Grouwels is justly proud of his ‘American’ and with great passion gives an insight into the car’s competition history:
“The car dates back to November 2001 and the following year our car was raced by the official Corvette team. The car is now back in the livery it enjoyed during the final of the American Le Mans Series of that season. In 2002, 2003 and 2005 it raced in the ALMS, initially as a works car, later as the sole private entered Corvette ever in the American Le Mans Series. In 2006 the car was active in the French GT, the European Le Mans Series as also the FIA GT. At the end of 2011 the car was acquired by Carworld Motorsport and that of the Belgian PS1 team, who competed with the car in Europe. In 2012 we saw the car appear in the Supercar Challenge, for the Team RaceArt that had just been set up. I finally took over the car at the end of 2012 and completed the full 2013 season with it. In fact it was with this car that I won the first overall victory of my career in the Supercar Challenge. It is an exceptional car that I always look back on with pleasure.”
The restoration: an intense story
“Put through the wringer” is an understatement for a car that was raced more than 80 times over 9 seasons. Considering its history, the Race Art team decided the car would best be preserved by restoring it completly. The work was done under the direction of Marwin Moonen from Team RaceArt.
“The car had taken quite a beating and had not been really well serviced for years. A lot of parts and pieces were worn. We decided to take the car completely apart and inspect every nut and bolt before reassembly. Everything on the mechanical side is new or rebuilt including complete driveline and suspension. Also there are spares for virtually every component including body panels and the engine. We intend to sell the car as a complete package to a collector that will see the value and will enjoy racing it at historic events in the US for instance.”
In the meantime the chassis has been thoroughly checked and restored. Following this the chassis was entirely resprayed. All the work was thoroughly carried out and among others include new sheet metal (cockpit tunnel, rear section, fuel cell protection), new insulating material, in addition to replacing all oil, fuel and brake lines. All the wiring looms underwent a thorough inspection, which was also the case of the sub-frames and the suspension components.
On top of that the bearings and ball joints were replaced and the gearbox – a Hewland 6-speed sequential gearbox – was given a full overhaul: as such a new housing was fitted, together with a new crown wheel and pinion and new bearings. The clutch, driveshafts and half-shafts are all new. Last but not least the fuel cells and fuel pumps are new and the ECU was checked and the batteries replaced by Bosch. Also the heart of the car, the brilliant 7-liter V8, was rebuilt by Katech in America and prepared to run without restrictors. Under the American bonnet the car now develops some 650 bhp. All safety elements have been adapted to meet the most modern requirements, among which the safety harnesses, the fire extinguisher and the race seat.
It goes without saying that the look of such a historic race machine is of major importance which is why a special livery was chosen, the one that was solely used in Petit Le Mans 2002, the final of the American Le Mans Series of that year. This specific livery was designed for the 50th anniversary of the Corvette.