Corvette Racing Working Hard On GT3 Conversion For Corvette C8.R4
Corvette Racing is working hard behind the scenes in order to prepare its Corvette C8.R for IMSA’s new GT3-based GTD Pro class, which will replace the GTLM category from the 2022 racing season onward.
With every manufacturer except Chevy bailing out of IMSA’s GTE-spec GTLM class, the sanctioning body made the decision to indirectly replace the pro-level GTLM class with a class called GTD Pro, which will use the immensely popular global GT3 platform. Compared to GTE-spec cars, GT3 cars have slightly less downforce and power, among countless other small differences. Since Chevy doesn’t have a GT3 car in its stable, IMSA is letting it race the GTE-spec Corvette C8.R on a waiver for the next two or three seasons – allowing Corvette Racing to continue its winning ways in the IMSA series without having to spend millions to develop an all-new car.
GM Authority recently sat down with GM Sports Car Racing Program Manager, Laura Wontrop-Klauser, who said the automaker is working diligently in order to have their slightly revised Corvette C8.R competition-ready for next January. The automaker is currently working closely with IMSA to ensure the GTE-spec Corvette remains in the GT3 performance window, which, not surprisingly, is quite a bit harder than it sounds.
“We already knew that the whole point is to transition to the GT3 platform and these cars are not GT3s, so in order to do that, we have to switch the GT3 platform, which is going to be a heavy redesign on the cars,” she explained. “But we can’t do that over night, so for the next couple of years, we’re working with IMSA to see can we make some changes to the current cars to get them into the same performance window as the GT3 to allow us to be able to race instead of giving up, and that’s the stuff we’re still working through right now.”
One major difference between GTE and GT3 cars, apart from aerodynamics, is the braking system. The GTE class does not allow for ABS, but it is mandatory in GT3 categories. Klauser said the addition of ABS will be one of the biggest changes between the GTE-spec Corvette C8.R and the GTD Pro variant.
“A big easy one is ABS,” Klauser said. “We don’t have ABS on GTLM but for GT3, we need to have it.”
Chevy will also likely be able to convert its car back and forth from GTE to GT3 spec. This would allow it to race in GTD Pro events in IMSA and convert its stable of C8.Rs to GTE spec for appearances in the FIA WEC, which will continue with the GTE formula for the foreseeable future. That means we’ll continue to see the Corvette C8.R race at Le Mans even after GTD Pro regulations take hold in 2022.
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I feel Chevy should not enter in IMSA in 2022 and go for wec full season in 2022 and join IMSA again in 2023 with a GTD car and a Cadillac LMdh.
Chevy has been very ill prepared for this dragging their feet. I will be very surprised if they build a customer car. Chevy has never wanted to do this! Very Very short sided. It would be too much work for 5hem to get this done!
The sands of IMSA have always shifted one way to another. Often it is feast of Famine.
GM has been a loyal partner in the series with IMSA and ALMS. They have been there in good and bad times as others come depending on what suits them at the time. This is just the result of as racing series with high cost and limited exposure. This is also why they spend so much time on BOP as it helps keep the cost down.
GM had no control over the other brands pulling out or going to a limited run. No short sighted here as this is where they have always been and where they wanted to be.
The real trick is to keep the cars viable in IMSA and still have them available for Le Mans. To get the two series to work together has been difficult for years.
GM really wants to race here as the primary Corvette market is America. But they still want to perform on the world stage once a year. WEC is very expensive to run compared to IMSA.
I am pleased to see IMSA is working with GM and I expect the GT3 car will see a pro class to where they can still run. Keep in mind a non pro GT3 car needs an Amateur status driver as a co driver so that would kill their driver line up if IMSA did not act.
I know the teams pretty much Run pro drivers but one of each pair is termed an amateur and what GM has now is all pro.
In the long run I think going to a more stock based car would be interesting. It would better show case the cars. If GM were to offer a run of customer cars that would make for a very highly collectable Corvette for the future. It also would call for a higher price and make GM some money along with it.