Leno sought the expertise of official GM racing team, Pratt & Miller, who specializes in the engineering of American Le Mans Series Corvette C6.R race cars. The objective was to build a Corvette Z06 capable of running on E85 ethanol.
The popularity of American television talk show host, Jay Leno, is almost rivaled by his well-known love of cars. With one of the world's largest private collections of automobiles spanning almost 100 years, Leno's enthusiasm is unquestionable. As a spokesperson for GM, Leno has made appearances at the SEMA show in Las Vegas for the past few years and this year is no different. But this time, the vehicle being presented is a project car that Leno was directly involved.
Leno sought the expertise of official GM racing team, Pratt & Miller, who specializes in the engineering of American Le Mans Series Corvette C6.R race cars. The objective was to build a Corvette Z06 capable of running on E85 ethanol. However, the project was more than converting the LS7 engine to run on alternative fuel. A custom built 8.2L (500-cubic-inch) all-aluminum small-block V-8 that pumps out approximately 600 horsepower and 585 lb.-ft. of torque was the result.
Although, it uses stock LS7 cylinder heads, intake system and dry-sump oiling system, the engine was milled from a solid block of billet aluminum. Developed by Katech Engines for Pratt & Miller the engine also uses forged steel crankshaft, forged rods and forged pistons. Naturally, the fuel system control unit was modified to accommodate E85 fuel and the blueprinted and reinforced T-56 six-speed transmission uses a high-performance Centerforce dual-friction clutch.
For the exterior, Leno wanted his C6RS to be a street-legal replica of the C6.R race cars and Pratt & Miller included an arsenal of carbon fiber components off their C6.R parts shelves. From the press release below, “...with wider front and rear fenders and a wider rear fascia with an integrated spoiler on top and a racing-style diffuser at the bottom (the diffuser incorporates an LED-lit backup lamp). A C6.R-style waterfall hood front fender louvers, rockers and lower grille opening further define this special Corvette – and all of the car’s front-end panels are made of carbon-fiber, including custom brake air ducts routed through the front fenders. With all of its body modifications, Leno’s C6RS is 1.6 inches wider than stock.”
Like many before him, Leno wanted to prove the polluting stigma associated with performance cars is not permanent and that alternative fuel technology can make the same results if not better. For full details see press release below.