Corvette Racing will be able to race in IMSA’s newly established GTD Pro category from 2022 onward, with the NASCAR-owned sanctioning body saying it’s ready to make accommodations to allow the Corvette C8.R to race amongst GT3 machinery.
IMSA is set to do away with its GTLM category at the conclusion of the 2021 racing season and will replace it with a new GT3 category for pro-rated drivers only called GTD Pro. The Corvette C8.R is not built to FIA GT3 regulations, but the more advanced FIA GTE regulations, which would normally mean the C8.R would not qualify for GTD Pro. Chevrolet is unable to produce a GT3-spec Corvette C8.R for next year, however, leaving IMSA with the choice of either letting the Corvette C8.R race among GT3 cars or not having a Corvette Racing car on the grid at all.
The latter of those options would be a disappointment for race fans as well as General Motors, which has been one of IMSA’s biggest supporters over the years, competing in both the GTLM and DPi prototype categories. As such, IMSA president John Doonan is prepared to make an exception for the Corvette C8.R for 2021 should Chevy decide it wants to continue to compete in the premier American road racing series.
“Corvette and all the brands in IMSA are very important partners of ours,” Doonan told Racer this week. “We want to do everything we can to make their continued participation as relatively easy as possible. So we’re in a decision mode, working very closely with the partners at Corvette Racing, GM as well, and all the other manufacturers to make sure that we can put them in a position to be able to continue to compete, right away, in GTD Pro, with an eye on what we can do with them going forward.”
“In the end, it’s their company’s decision to make relative to creating a GT3-spec car,” Doonan added. “And we’ll let them be the ones to share that news when they’re ready to. But for the short term, IMSA is putting ourselves and everybody who’s involved, from the tire makers to all the other manufacturers, in a position to let folks compete as easily as possible, given their current product, and to also have an eye on the future, which would be using only GT3-spec cars.”
IMSA decided to get rid of its GTE-spec GTLM class due to dwindling participation, with both Porsche and BMW backing out of their full-time GTLM programs at the end of last season. Just three full-time GTLM entries are racing in IMSA this year – two Corvettes and a single privateer Porsche 911 RSR, which pushed IMSA to do away with the series and replace it with GTD Pro. The GTD grid, by comparison, is extremely healthy, currently consisting of more than 20 full-time entries from a variety of privateer teams running GT3 machinery from Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, Acura, Lexus and Mercedes-AMG.
Corvette Racing will continue to race in Europe in the FIA WEC with the Corvette C8.R in the coming years as well, with the WEC set to hold onto GTE machinery for the foreseeable future. The team has not made an announcement with regard to its potential GTD Pro future as of this writing.