Many C5R’s are to be seen in race car collections and mostly in the USA. However there are still few around in Europe. C5R-006 and C5R-011 are currently with Team Raceart, run by Roger Grouwels. There is even a rumour of a C5R in Austria still in existence, but so far nothing has been confirmed. This article is going be about C5R-006, which has been completely restored by the Dutch racing team: Team Raceart.
Last year in 2014, I was talking with Roger Grouwels, team owner of Team Raceart based at Maastricht, Netherlands. Roger mentioned to me, that they intended to restore chassis C5R-006 to its original Corvette Racing GT1 configuration. Shifting forward to June this year and during a conversation with Team Manager, Marwin Moonen from Team Raceart, Marwin reported that C5R-006 was ready and that I could visit for a photo shoot of the Corvette, if I wanted to at some point. This is an opportunity that I’m not going let to pass by. Marwin posted a picture set of C5R-006 on the Team Raceart Facebook page and these looked very promising.
If you look at the racing history of the C5R-006, it’s one with a long period of ‘active’ race duty. Amazingly this car was built nearly 15 years ago back in January 2001, by Pratt & Miller. The car was made ready for action in 2002 with Corvette Racing. As car no. 4 the C5R-006’s first race was Sears Point Raceway at Sonoma California on 19.05.2002 in the ALMS series. This was the second race of the racing season and ‘behind the wheel’ were Andy Pilgrim (USA) and Kelly Collins (USA). They continued a strong season with 1st to 3rd in class places during the 2002 race season. C5R-006 was to be used again in action during the 2003 season, with Kelly Collins and Andy Pilgrim again, plus Oliver Gavin (GB). The first race was at Sebring on 15.03.2003 in the ALMS series. C5R-006 no. 4 was doing well during the race, but after a while they had to pull out of the race with a serious gearbox problem. The car came back into action a few months later during the Road Atlanta race on 29.06.2003. This was its last race with Corvette Racing. During the remainder of 2003’s race season and all of 2004 it stayed in the workshops at Pratt & Miller. As a note, C5R-006 was never raced at Le Mans under the flag of Corvette Racing.
For the 2005 racing season it was sold to Pacific Coast Motorsport. They campaigned for most of the season as no. 5 in the ALMS series with Ryan Dalziel (GB) and Alex Figge (USA) behind the wheel. They performed well with the C5R in the ALMS, with top 10 finishing places. Most readers will probably remember in 2005 Corvette Racing campaigned the first C6R GT1 racing cars. The Corvette was later sold overseas to PSI-Motorsport, who would campaign the car in the FFSA, LMES and FIA-GT1 series during 2006. The FFSA series drivers were Philippe Alliot (F) and David Hallyday (F). Later in the season Sébastien Dumez (F) and Jean Luc Blanchemain (F) also drove the car. The Corvette performed its first long distance race during the 24h of Spa-Francorchamps on 30.07.2006 with Pertti Kuismanen (Fin), Markus Palttala (FIN), Bernard Dehez (B) and Vincent Radermacker (B), achieving a 11th place overall.
Season 2007 continued racing the C5R-006 with PSI Motorsports in the FFSA Series again. Jean Claude Police (F) and Mathieu Zangerelli (F) were behind the wheel. The car also appeared during round 1 of the FIA-GT1 series at Monza with Gilles Vannelet (F) and Klaus Engelhorn (A). 2008 was a change for C5R-006, it was racing under the flag of the well-known Corvette Team DKR Engineering from Luxemburg. Jean Claude Police (F) and Laurent Cazenave (F) drove the car for the race season in FFSA during 2008 and 2009. Reports at the time noted that the chassis was bought by DKR back in late 2008 following PSI motorsports putting it on sale during the 2008 season. As with every older race car, C5R’s were starting to be replaced by more recent racing cars like the C6R GT1. It was said that C5R-006 remained in the basement of DKR Engineering during the 2010 and 2011 race seasons. It was bought afterwards by Pieter Dubois from Team Raceart, based in the Netherlands. Pieter wanted to race the car in the Dutch Supercar Challenge where GT1’s were still welcome. GT1/GTS cars were banned from the larger racing series during the 2011 and 2012 seasons. All series like FIA-GT, Blancpain, etc. were converted to GT3 spec, this numbered the days of running GT1/GTS racing cars.
C5R-006 was back racing with Nol Köhler (NL) and Ardi van der Hoek (NL) behind the wheel. The SuperGT class was a true haven for ex GT1 racers. Teams like Mad and Daring Racing were racing C6R GT1 cars and we were to see Viper GT2’s, Ferrari F458 GT2’s racing. The team overall performed a good season. Later on Team Raceart was sold to Roger Grouwels, who was to race a Mosler MT900R GT3 in 2012. Roger had campaigned another C5R in 2011 in the Dutch Supercar Challenge under Rudolph Racing. Chassis C5R-011 (EX GLPK Racing Team) is also owned by Roger Grouwels and is also being restored at the moment (July 2015). Season 2013 was in the Supercar challenge a very challenging year for C5R-006. The Corvette needed a lot of improvements to keep up with the competition. The engine was tuned and updated by Katech for more power, a ‘flappy paddle’ gearbox was installed, improvements from later C5R’s were added – like a wider body and improved cooling. These improvements still made it difficult for the relatively heavy C5R to be able to compete with the lighter GT3 cars on an even footing. Team Raceart moved on to a brand new Dodge Viper Riley GT3 car in 2014. This is the first and only GT3 Viper chassis to be seen in Europe so far.
C5R-006 has been carefully restored to the original configuration during its time with Corvette Racing, and together with C5R-005 these were the only C5R’s to sport the 50th anniversary decals commemorating the 50th anniversary of Corvette. ‘Off the records’, this was only done at the Petit Le Mans race in the ALMS series. During my photo shoot with the C5R-006, I was privileged to see the great job that they did in restoring the car. Every single detail is there, it’s just like its brand new and straight out of the factory, maybe even better! Marwin Moonen and his team can be proud. This car is a real collector’s item and deserve a good home for the future.
Images and text are under copyright © Jonny Bens
Images are under copyright © Team Raceart and Nigel Scott Dobbie
With thanks to Team Raceart (Marwin Moonen & Roger Grouwels), Nigel Scott Dobbie, Registry of Corvette Race Cars (Jan Hyde & Wayne Ellwood), Supercar Challenge & Pratt & Miller for all the information and data.
The Story: C5R-006 restoration at Team Raceart