Tomorrow, at 4:00 PM local time, Corvette Racing will fire up the C8.R for the last time to compete in the 100th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Normally the American standout, the Corvette race car feels overshadowed by other GM entries, including a trio of Cadillac LMDh Hypercars, and the awesome Garage 56 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Next year, though, there’s expected to be a small fleet of Corvette Z06 GT3.R race cars. But it’s going to come with a sacrifice: the Corvette Racing factory team will be no more after the 2023 WEC and IMSA racing seasons.
A SportsCar365 interview with motorsport competition director Mark Stielow told all. The former GM performance engineering river mentioned that the departure from a full factory team will be a “big shift” for the company, but necessary to have a larger Corvette competition footprint globally.
“From a General Motors perspective that’s how we’ve historically done it,” said Stielow of Corvette Racing. “It’s a big shift for our marketing team to be like, ‘What do you mean we’re not going to have the classic two yellow Corvettes?’
When we asked, the official statement from Chevrolet is as follows:
Corvette Racing is going through a transition with the GT3 program and Z06 GT3.R coming online, and us being more present in that sphere. Corvettes will still be in IMSA and WEC, plus other championships in the future.
When we sought to clarify if the Corvette Racing team is going away indefinitely, we got left on “read.” Make of that what you will.
Indeed, Chevrolet has big ambitions with the C8 Corvette Z06 GT3.R race car, which was officially revealed at the 2023 24 Hours of Daytona in January. The car will be sold turn-key to privateer racing teams for $735,000 apiece, and will be eligible to compete in the IMSA (Daytona, Sebring), WEC (Le Mans, Spa), and SRO (Bathurst, Nürburgring) racing leagues. Supporting the privateer race teams will also be Pratt & Miller, the current partner of Corvette Racing. For 2024, Chevrolet is hoping to sell around 10 cars. All of that support will no doubt pull away focus from running a factory team, so its understandable that Corvette Racing will disband as GM’s motorsports ambitions grow. Eventually, we could see a GM F1 team.