The Corvette C8.R could be dead as we know from the 2022 season onward, with IMSA outlining plans for a new GT3-based GTD Pro class to replace the GTLM class after this year.
The new GTD Pro class will feature pro drivers in factory-backed GT3-spec machinery, although customer teams will also be allowed to compete in the category with Pro-Am or Am-Am lineups. This differs from the current GTLM class, which features slightly faster and more advanced GTLM/GTE-spec cars, pro drivers and is mainly intended for factory-backed teams.
As it stands, the Corvette C8.R would not be eligible for the GTD Pro class, as it was built for the GTLM/GTE regulations. While it is technically possible for the Corvette C8.R to be modified to fall within the GT3 framework, Chevy has said this would be a costly and complicated endeavor.
“As far as changing it, it’s a relatively large task to make sure you’re changing the car, if we were to do that, to the GT3 rulebook,” Corvette Racing team manager Ben Johnson told Sportscar365 during an interview last summer. “It’s not something simple that can be done in a relatively short amount of time.”
“To change a car from GTE to GT3 is not as simple as changing homologation stickers, unfortunately. There’s quite a bit of work to make sure you’re meeting all of the technical regulations for the GT3 platform.”
Corvette Racing also has the option of developing a new prototype race car similar to the Cadillac DPi-V.R that would fit within the new LMDh class, which will replace DPi starting next season. Just like DPi, cars in the LMDh class will be based on LMP2 chassis from one of four suppliers: Dallara, Oreca, Ligier and Multimatic. Manufacturers will be allowed to use their own combustion engines, but they will be paired with a spec hybrid system comprising a 67 horsepower Bosch motor and lithium-ion battery supplied by Williams.
Newly appointed Chevy sports car program manager Laura Wontrop Klauser has said Corvette Racing will evaluate both the GT3 and LMDh classes for potential involvement. While it’s not clear which route the team will take, one thing is for sure: Corvette Racing will continue to race in top-tier series like IMSA and the FIA WEC going forward – whether that means developing a GT3 Corvette or a new LMDh prototype.
“We have explored all of the options and they’re still on the table,” Wontrop Klauser said earlier this month. “What we need to understand is where we want to position the key brands that we have in racing, Corvette being one of them. Racing is in Corvette’s DNA. For sure we need to have Corvette on the grid somewhere, but understanding what capacity that’s going to be, that’s been part of figuring things out.”