Corvette Racing had itself a championship year with the new C8.R for the 2020 season. After a clumsy start for the 2020 24 Hours of Daytona, the Corvette Racing team were able to make serious adjustments during a COVID-19 related stoppage in the racing season. When action restarted, the Corvette C8.R was in front, and didn’t look back. The same looks to be the case for the 2021 IMSA season; the No. 3 car piloted by Antonio Garcia and Jordon Taylor are nearly 200 points clear of rivals Porsche in the GTLM class, threatened only by teammates Nick Tandy and Tommy Milner in second-place with the No. 4 car. However, rough waters may be ahead for Corvette Racing for the 2022 season, as IMSA moves to dissolve the GTLM class in favor of a GT3-spec GTD Pro class.
Recently, MC&T was able to catch up with the folks at Corvette Racing to get a feel for what’s next.
Corvette C8.R: “Short Term” And “Long Term” Solutions
“There’s the short term and the long term. Long term, we need to get to a proper GT3 platform to be able to race, and that is a significant tear-up. It’s not a full redesign, but it’s pretty close,” said GM Sports Car Racing Program Manager, Laura Wontrop-Klauser, in an interview with MC&T at Belle Isle in Detroit, during the 2022 Corvette Stingray IMSA GTLM Championship Edition.
“In the short term, because IMSA thankfully realizes we can’t flip a switch and have a brand new car ready, we are working with IMSA to see what we can do to modify the current car to put it in the same performance window so that we don’t have any advantage, and to be able to race knowing that we’ll be moving forward to the proper platform in the future. And that those are the little nuts and bolts we’re still working through right now,” the GM Racing boss continued.
From the sounds of it, the Corvette Racing C8.R will be running slightly modified for the 2022 IMSA season, with some tangible adjustments to the car to keep it competitive. Reading into Wontrop-Klauser’s words a bit, a Corvette C8.R GT3 car will not manifest itself in the “short term.”
Corvette Racing Balancing Both IMSA And FIA
IMSA is expected to waive the Corvette Racing C8.R for the GTD class for the 2022 season. This would effectively put the Corvette C8.R in contention with FIA GT3 race cars, despite not sharing the same spec. Balance of Performance (BOP) measures from IMSA are expected to help even things out.
This would basically be the opposite of when BMW briefly fielded an M6 in the IMSA GTLM class, despite being built to GT3 spec. IMSA allowed the team to race GT3-focused car as a GTLM car, nevertheless.
Corvette Racing will field the C8.R in the GTD Pro class in 2022 IMSA competition here in North America, while adhering to the GTE spec FIA WEC action, which has yet to announce the adoption of the GT3 formula. The FIA and France’s ACO are the governing bodies that put on the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the most famous endurance race on the calendar.
The Future Of Corvette Racing
The Corvette Racing team has their work cut out for them. But with a deep talent well of engineers, mechanics, and a partnership with Pratt & Miller Engineering, which builds the race car, the Corvette C8.R should be ready for the 2022 IMSA and FIA WEC seasons no matter what.
In a previous interview, Laura Wontrop-Klauser told Sportscar365 that Corvette Racing is open to participating in the new top-shelf LMDh prototype class, which would be fast enough to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans outright, rather than just the GTE field. Considering the wild stuff in the pipeline, that could very well happen.
Corvette Racing Driver Tommy Milner in front of the C8.R. Image copyright Mattheus Pach, Muscle Cars & Trucks.