Chevy’s factory sports car racing team will compete in the newly established GTD Pro class in this year’s IMSA WeatherTech Championship after the series abandoned the GTLM class the team previously competed in over a lack of participation. The GTD Pro class is limited to GT3 class cars, which have less downforce than the GTE class cars that were used in GTLM but are less expensive to run and thus more widely used. Thanks to this change, the GTD Pro class will include a total of 13 cars for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, including Corvette Racing’s two No. 3 and No. 4 C8.R entries.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, Corvette Racing driver Jordan Taylor said the team is prepared for the more intense GTD Pro battle after a somewhat uneventful 2021 season that saw it race only a handful of part-time entries from Porsche and BMW.
“We’re looking forward to the competition,” Taylor said. “The last couple of years, we were mainly racing our teammates. BMW and Porsche were there, but when you get down to racing just your teammate, those are the toughest guys to race. They have similar equipment and the same tools as you, plus they’re great drivers.”
“I’m looking forward to having 13 cars to battle,” he added. “I’ve missed battling on starts and restarts, the strategy wars. That’s my biggest thing. I missed the actual racing side of what we had in the past.”
In addition to having less downforce, GT3 class cars also use anti-lock brakes and a spec tire provided by Michelin that’s designed to work on front, mid and rear-engine vehicles. In GTLM, teams could work with a tire manufacturer to develop an exclusive tire designed specifically for their vehicle, which Corvette did to great effect with its supplier, Michelin.
“The biggest aspect is understanding the way the tire works,” Taylor said of the GTD Pro change. “The team has spent so many years with Michelin to develop the confidential tire to work properly for our car”
“Understanding how that works and maximizing it for not just one lap but over a stint will be a huge thing to learn.”
Corvette Racing is fielding its Corvette C8.R in GTD Pro after being granted a special waiver from IMSA last year. The Corvette C8.R was built to the GTE regulations but will be modified to fit the GT3 framework. In addition to different spec tires and an ABS system, the modified Corvette C8.R will have different aerodynamic components.
The GTD Pro field for the Rolex 24 at Daytona is looking extremely competitive, consisting of factory-backed entries from a wide variety of experienced GT3 manufacturers such as Porsche, Lamborghini, BMW, McLaren, Lexus, Ferrari, Aston Martin and Mercedes-AMG.
The 2022 Rolex 24 at Daytona will kick off on January 29th.