The Corvette news has been coming hot and heavy lately. We’ve recently seen the arrival of the new C8 Corvette Z06, and its competitive twin, the Corvette Z06 GT3.R, which will be offered on a first-come-first-serve basis to teams and individuals looking to compete in global GT3 racing. That’s all well and good, except, the shift to a customer-centric approach could mean the end of Corvette Racing as we know it.
Since its inception in 1999, Corvette Racing has always operated as a partnership between Chevrolet and Pratt & Miller Engineering, which builds the race cars and operates the program on behalf of GM. Corvette Racing has always run as a tight two-car team.
According to GM sports car racing program manager, Laura Wontrop Klauser, the introduction of the new customer-focused Z06 GT3.R and the changing GT3 class landscape as dictated by both IMSA and the ACO, have already led to questions about the future of Corvette Racing.
Namely, will it continue to exist?
“We’re still figuring that side of it out,” Klauser told Sportscar365. “A lot of it is that we’re just feeling out what the landscape looks like and what’s appropriate for this style of racing.
“We would like to continue on with having Corvette Racing on the grid as people know and love it but obviously it’s going to have to change in some way because of the different classes and the customer program will be a huge part of GT3.
“We’re not ready to commit to anything right now. We’re going to wait and see.”
None of that sounds entirely encouraging in terms of what will become of Corvette Racing. But it’s not like Chevrolet’s partnership with Pratt & Miller would evaporate, it would just cease to exist as an official factory-backed race team. The team at Pratt & Miller will still be contracted to build the customer Z06 GT3.R. When the car arrives in 2024 it will share the same aluminum chassis, similar aerodynamic features, and bodywork, along with the same 5.5L flat-plane DOHC V8 as the production C8 Z06.
A final decision won’t be made until the 2024 season, as Corvette Racing will continue to field a pair of modified Corvette C8.R race cars during the 2022 and 2023 racing seasons. The current GTE cars will be stepped down to GT3-spec rules thanks to a revised aerodynamic package, a reduction in power, along with spec tires, and spec ABS.