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.