The automaker decided to pull out of the race due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and inevitable scheduling clashes with the IMSA WeatherTech series it races in full-time.
“Corvette Racing has a long history of competing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, so our decision to not participate in this historic race this year was not an easy one,” said Chevrolet‘s U.S. Vice President for Performance and Motorsports, Jim Campbell, in a prepared statement. “Several factors played into our decision, including current conditions and the rescheduled timing. We’re proud Corvette Racing has been invited to the 24 Hours of Le Mans over the past 20 years and regret that we won’t be participating this year. We hope we have the opportunity to race at Le Mans again.”
The 88th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans was previously pushed back from its usual June date to September due to the pandemic. Meanwhile, the newly revised IMSA WeatherTech schedule includes a race at Laguna Seca on September 6th and another at Mid-Ohio on September 25th. The amount of preparation required for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, along with the logistics of shipping personnel and equipment from the U.S. to France, mean Corvette Racing cannot fit in a visit to Le Mans in the same month.
CORE Autosport, which runs the IMSA Porsche GT Team, also announced it would withdraw from Le Mans for a similar reason.
This will mark the first time Corvette Racing has not competed at Le Mans since its debut year in 1999. The team and its iconic yellow Corvettes have taken eight class victories in 20 consecutive Le Mans starts, with the most recent victory coming in 2015.
This year was to be the team’s first visit to Le Mans with the new mid-engine Corvette C8.R. Fans will now have to wait until next year to see the C8.R take on the world-famous Circuit de la Sarthe, though they can catch it on-track in the IMSA WeatherTech Series when it returns for the Six Hours of the Glen on June 25th.