The R3C-2 was a twin float seaplane built for the Schneider Trophy race. In 1925, it took place at Chesapeake Bay in Baltimore, Maryland. With 232.57 mph (374.274 km/h), pilot Jimmy Doolittle won the trophy with a Curtiss R3C-2. The other two R3C-2s, piloted by George Cuddihy and Ralph Oftsie, did not reach the finish line. The next day, with the same plane on a straight course, Doolittle reached 245.7 mph (395.4 km/h), a new world record. For the next Schneider Trophy, which took place on 13 November 1926, the R3C-2's engine was further improved, and pilot Christian Franck Schilt won second place with 231.364 mph (372.34 km/h).
A Curtiss R3C appears in Hayao Miyazaki's Porco Rosso animated movie featuring a romanticized interwar aviation. The Curtiss R3C is flown by a pilot himself named Curtiss. The dialogues also reference the 1925 Schneider Trophy.