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Darren Law to drive Corvette DP in Grand-Am

Chevrolet on Tuesday at Daytona International Speedway revealed the first of Grand-Am’s third-generation Rolex Series Daytona Prototypes.

The new cars might not turn out to be much quicker than their predecessors–DPs retain most of the existing suspension, drivetrain and electronics–but most observers should find them more visually appealing. The Corvette DP takes advantage of new regulations allowing for “more potential for brand character and design.” Highlights of the new rules include a smaller greenhouse, a more upright nose and a higher tail.

The Corvette Daytona Prototype is scheduled to test at Daytona on Nov. 16, with Corvette Racing’s American Le Mans Series drivers Oliver Gavin and Antonio García sharing duty in a car fielded by the Spirit of Daytona Racing team. The car’s competitive debut is slated for the Rolex 24 at the same track Jan. 28-29. Four teams will campaign the car in 2012: Spirit of Daytona (one car), SunTrust Racing (one), Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing (one) and Action Express Racing (two).

“Racing and performance are the founding principles of Chevrolet, and bringing the Corvette Daytona Prototype to Grand-Am is a tremendous opportunity,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet vice president for performance vehicles and motorsports. “The opportunity for innovation is what makes the Daytona Prototype-class such a good fit for Chevrolet. 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. We are excited to see the Corvette DP compete in the legendary Rolex 24 at Daytona next January.”

GM Racing director Mark Kent commented, “The 2012 Corvette Daytona Prototype was developed by a multifaceted effort involving Chevrolet, Corvette Designers, Pratt & Miller and Grand-Am, and Chevrolet also worked closely with chassis builders Riley, Coyote and Dallara [who will also unveil new cars in the future].

“The IMSA GTP Corvette Prototype campaigned by Hendrick Motorsports in the ’80s was the inspiration for this new Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototype. And, like the GTP Corvettes, the new Corvette Daytona Prototype contains numerous styling cues from the street version of the Chevrolet Corvette.”

Corvette’s history in Daytona Beach includes Zora Arkus-Duntov–the “Father of the Corvette” and the car’s famous chief engineer in the 1950s and ’60s–setting a flying-mile speed record of more than 150 mph on Daytona Beach, one of a number of record runs there for him. When Daytona International Speedway opened in 1959, Arkus-Duntov turned the fastest laps, 155 mph, in a Corvette SS.

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