Corvette Racing To Compete In Round 5 Of The FIA WEC Season In Shanghai5
Corvette Racing will send one of its C7.R race cars to Shanghai this November to mark the team’s racing debut in Asia, closing out Corvette Racing’s 20th season of competition with a bang. The 6 Hours of Shanghai in China will be the fifth round of the 2018-’19 FIA World Endurance Championship “Superseason”, and although Corvette has never committed to a full-season factory effort in the racing series, the team isn’t entirely unfamiliar, having participated in the 24 Hours of Le Mans – the most famous round of the WEC series – for each of the last 19 runnings.
Corvette Racing’s C7.R will don a special “Redline” racing livery for the event, commemorating the launch of the Redline model series in China. The special-edition Redline treatment is planned to grace four models in that market by the end of the year, eventually expanding to encompass nearly every Chevrolet vehicle sold there.
“Corvette Racing has proven itself as a world-class racing program,” says Chevrolet’s Director of Motorsports Competition, Mark Kent. “Competing in the Shanghai race provides us an additional opportunity to test ourselves against the top manufacturers and teams in the FIA WEC.”
This year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race resulted in a fourth-place finish in GTE Pro for the No. 63 Corvette C7.R, while the No. 64 was forced to retire late in the event due to engine trouble. The Corvette Racing team has managed an impressive eight class victories at the legendary race since it began competing there nearly two decades ago.
In an interview before this year’s Le Mans race, while Corvette Racing Program Manager Doug Fehan didn’t completely rule out a full-season WEC effort for the team, he indicated it isn’t very likely due to the series’ limited marketing value for the team.
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Racing in the full WEC might be of “limited marketing value for the team” i.e. “Corvette Racing”, which is not GM, but a joint venture of GM and Pratt & Miller Engineering, but is important for GM, if GM wants to sell their Chevrolet cars around the globe.
Especially since ACO and FIA have reorganized the world endurance champtionship to end with the 24 Hours of Le Mans as the final and crowning event, where then — starting in 2019 — not only the trophies for the winners of that race will be handed out but also the trophies to the overall winners of the series.
That is why — as reported in an earlier post on Corvette Racing — the bosses of Pratt & Miller which is, as it seems, actually an independent company just working together with GM, said that their market is just the USA, so that GM would have to find other companies in those other parts of the world to race Corvettes there.
So they say on their web site:
“Conceived, designed, constructed, developed, and campaigned by Pratt & Miller Engineering, the Corvette race cars that carry the banner of Corvette Racing have dominated Grand Touring racing in the U.S. and abroad. The close working relationship between Pratt & Miller, the production Corvette group, Chevrolet Racing, and GM Powertrain produced a performance icon that’s recognized around the world. ”
Or the article on “Pratt & Miller” in the en.Wikipedia.org:
“Pratt & Miller Engineering and Fabrication, also known as Corvette Racing is an automotive company formed by Gary Pratt and Jim Miller in 1989.
Based in New Hudson, Michigan, they have been one of General Motors’ (GM) official racing teams since 1999 when they were the key responsibility in the development of the Chevrolet Corvette C5-R. Today, Pratt & Miller constructs, maintains, and runs the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Corvette Racing team with the Chevrolet Corvette C7.R as well as the Pirelli World Challenge Team Cadillac ATS-Vs”
This is what I had in mind, from the earlier article also linked to above:
Fehan doesn’t think there’s much chance of Corvette Racing ever competing in the full FIA WEC season, for the simple reason that money is limited, and the series is primarily European.
“General Motors is a huge conglomerate of brands, divisions and companies. They all run separately but are owned and run by the same people, there are just completely different silos… This program is driven by Chevrolet of North America, and we have a limited budget, and it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for the North American budget to support things going on in other countries.”
What Mr. Fehan of Pratt & Miller is saying, is that GM should better find some other company to organize Corvette Racing in Europe or Asia, if GM wants to use this racing activity as marketing tool for Corvette and Chevrolet and other GM brands.
Pratt and Miler is only a race team and development company. They are contracted by GM to run various racing programs or to develop various models for racing.
They are much like Roush Racing is for Ford.
Now that has not precluded them from selling their cars or building cars for others to race in markets and series they are not involved in.
Some of thier cars have been raced in Europe by Larbre Racing.
In fact they had to borrow the car they sold one year to race at Lemans due to damage in a class to their car.
I got to spend some time with the Pratt and Miller team before they went to France. Great team and great people.
Crew chief Dan Binks is my hero!
Can I have a ZR1 with that paint and lines? Please? Does it come with OEM microfiber cloths to wipe off the drool?