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Corvette C5-R Part of Inaugural IMSA Hall of Fame Class

cor123

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Press Release:

Corvette C5-R Part of Inaugural IMSA Hall of Fame Class

The car that started it all for Corvette Racing’s quarter-century of success


BRASELTON, Ga. (Oct. 15, 2023) – A quarter-century after it first hit the racetrack for its competition debut, the Chevrolet Corvette C5-R has been honored as part of the inaugural class of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) Hall of Fame.


The enshrinement was made official at IMSA’s annual Night of Champions banquet near Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta and site of the season-ending Petit Le Mans race.


Herb Fishel, former Executive Director of GM Racing, was on-hand to mark the C5-R’s induction as one of the first racecar in the IMSA Hall of Fame. Fishel led the team at General Motors that laid the groundwork for Corvette Racing and Chevrolet’s goal of returning to top-level sports car racing at the factory level in the mid-1990s.


The C5-R was born to race, according to Fishel, and was the result of collaboration between many groups within General Motors to create a long-term, factory-level road racing program for Chevrolet. The goal was to position Corvette as competitor to the world’s best sports car manufacturers on the racetrack and in the showroom. So even before the fifth-generation Corvette rolled into dealerships, plans were well underway to return Chevrolet to professional endurance racing.


What has developed from C5-R is an on-going Corvette Racing program where increasing synergies between racing and production engineering have become the norm – the latest examples being the eighth-generation, mid-engine Corvette production vehicles and the C8.R and the Z06 GT3.R that will make its competitive debut in 2024.


“This was a very collaborative effort that established Corvette Racing as one of the premier sports car programs in the world,” Fishel said. “It started with GM and involved various groups from both production – including vehicle engineering, design and powertrain – and racing partners like Pratt Miller and Katech working hand-in-hand. Out of the efforts from each of these groups came the first factory-produced Corvette race car in almost 40 years, and one that changed the landscape of not just Corvette but sports car racing as a whole.”


The Corvette C5-R debuted in 1999 with a class podium finish at the Rolex 24 At Daytona and was a fixture of global GT racing for the next five years. From 1999-2004, Corvette Racing and the C5-R set the standard for racing success with 31 victories in the American Le Mans Series, along with an overall victory at the Rolex 24 in 2001.


Success wasn’t limited to North America. The C5-R scored the first of its three GTS victories at Le Mans in 2001, following with wins in 2002 and 2004. ALMS team and manufacturer championships came in 2001-04. Of Corvette Racing’s 127 victories, nearly 25 percent came with the C5-R.


The C5-R also helped instill Corvette drivers such as Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell as faces of the team and the ALMS. Fellows won 21 ALMS races in the C5-R and captured the GTS drivers’ championship three times, including twice with O’Connell. It also helped launch the sports car careers for future stars like Oliver Gavin.


“It is a tremendous honor to see the Corvette C5-R go into the IMSA Hall of Fame as part of its inaugural class,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. Vice President, Performance and Motorsports. Campbell was part of the leadership team that helped guide the C5-R to its racing debut at Daytona in 1999.


“It also is an honor to have Herb Fishel here to represent the team that brought the C5-R to the track. When you look at what Corvette Racing represents – the synergy between motorsports and the showroom – it all began with the C5-R,” Campbell added. “The fans loved it. Our Corvette owners loved it. It helped set the standard for 25 years of Corvette Racing.”


Ryan Smith
Judy Kouba Dominick
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