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Callaway Corvette C7 GT3-R Set for U.S. Debut

GM reaches agreement with Callaway for C7 GT3-R to race in 24H COTA…

Photo: ADAC GT Masters

Photo: ADAC GT Masters

The Callaway Corvette C7 GT3-R is set for its U.S. debut, with GM having given permission for the privately built GT3 car to run in Creventic’s 24-hour race at Circuit of The Americas in November.

A pair of the Callaways are currently entered for the inaugural 24H Series event for ADAC GT Masters squad RWT Racing Team, with a to-be-announced driver lineup.

“We have agreed to allow that car to run in that specific race in the U.S. because it doesn’t compete against our Cadillacs,” GM Racing Director Mark Kent told Sportscar365.

“We think it’s going to be great exposure for that car and help Callaway with their program.”

Kent said an agreement was made between Callaway and GM that prevented the German-built car to be run in either Pirelli World Challenge or the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

“We believe very strongly in swim lines within the company,” he said. “We don’t want Chevrolets racing head-to-head against Cadillacs, as we’re trying to highlight the Cadillac [in PWC].

“To have it racing head-to-head against a Corvette, it’s not clear to the fans and not fair to the Cadillacs.”

While there are no plans for the Cadillac ATS-V.R to compete in the GT Daytona class of the WeatherTech Championship, Kent said it’s also not allowed there due to “different reasons”, understood to be related to IMSA’s manufacturer partnership fees.

Kent stressed that GM’s decisions on the car’s eligibility have been strictly business-related.

“Callaway is a great partner of ours and we’ll continue to explore opportunities to work together in the future,” he said.

“This in no way anything against Callaway; they’ve been a fantastic partner. This is strictly a business decision not a partnership decision.”

The 24H COTA race is scheduled for Nov. 10-12, and will serve as a non-points round of the 24H Series by Hankook championship.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Ben

    March 14, 2017 at 8:41 am

    John, both Caddy and Chevy I’m assuming have paid their due IMSA fees. The fee doesn’t cover multiple classes so Cadillac GT3s could run?

  2. John Dagys

    March 14, 2017 at 8:42 am

    Cadillacs could technically run in GTD but as Kent said, there are no plans for them to race in that class.

    I believe it’s a different scenario for Corvette, as the Callaway car is a “Callaway Corvette” meaning Callaway would have to enter into a new agreement with IMSA for it to run.

    • George

      March 14, 2017 at 10:04 am

      So this doesn’t close the door on Callaway running their Corvettes in GTD.

    • Harold Rodgers

      May 5, 2017 at 4:03 pm

      The real reason for the fot the factory Corvettes not to run head to head with the Callaways is;GM is afraid that Callaway’s vettes could beat them!

  3. Ben

    March 14, 2017 at 8:58 am

    Oh, I understand now. Callaway is considered a manufacturer. Thank you.

  4. DEREK

    March 14, 2017 at 9:01 am

    It really stinks that the Callaway can’t run in PWC. In the 90’s I loved seeing them run there. For a series that has KTM, McLaren, Bentley, SIN, and all sorts of exotic cars it would be a great addition the the field. It is crap that GM doesn’t allow it.

  5. P

    March 14, 2017 at 9:54 am

    In 2018:

    Pirelli World Challenge-
    Highlighted Car: Cadillac ATS-V.R GT3
    Team: Cadillac Racing

    IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (GTD)-
    Highlighted Car: Callaway Corvette C7 GT3-R
    Team: RWT Racing Team

    Hoping to see the Callaway at Daytona next year.

    • thomas

      March 15, 2017 at 9:30 am

      dream on. it clearly says no.

  6. SE30ASport

    March 14, 2017 at 11:13 am

    “To have it racing head-to-head against a Corvette, it’s not clear to the fans and not fair to the Cadillacs.” So in a sense, it could be argued Mr. Kent is accusing the fans of being too ignorant to understand the sport (or at least this particular scenario.) What would the world come to if, in a series where all vehicles are performance balanced, a privately-built GT3 car performed just as well if not better than a factory project? I guess hell would freeze over. In my opinion, this leads to why GM doesn’t appear to want a ATS GT3 in customer hands. I get the feeling they don’t want a privateer customer to run a GM product in fear of the car looking bad due to a lack of the factory budget.

    • Dan

      March 14, 2017 at 11:21 am

      GM fears two things,If a corvette turns up in IMSA then no one will no difference between it and the GTLM Corvette weird how BMW Porsche Ferrari aren’t bothered by it and Also more importantly if a Callway Corvette turns up in PWC and beats the factory Cadillacs then they lose face. GM being difficult as usual

  7. MB

    March 14, 2017 at 11:30 am

    GT Convergence muddies these waters further, it will be interesting to see how the C8R program develops because of this.

    Speaking of the convergence talks, has there been any more news on this front?

    I find it extremely interesting (and I am hopeful!!!!) that BMW and AMR both really would like to see GT cars be the pinnacle of sportscar racing again in the WEC. It’s the best idea in the history of time and space. Prototypes are cool and all (i guess) but Sportscar racing would see more popularity if GT was the top class by placing the focus on cars people can recognize. The average guy on the street can tell the difference between an Aston, Vette, Ferrari, Porsche, Lambo etc. You cant say the same thing about prototypes. Give them their own series : ) p1, p2, p3 and then GT.

    So does IMSA and PWC become customer racing programs (both pro and AM), with the WEC becoming the place where the manufacturers play? I have to imagine the FIA/ACO would be tickled pink with that type of distinction

    • thomas

      March 15, 2017 at 9:31 am

      pretty sure it is dead.

    • Harold Rodgers

      May 5, 2017 at 4:19 pm

      What would be a fantastic series in the U.S. is a head to head racing with nothing but uninhibited GT cars( NO blocked air intakes,etc.)Corvettes,vipers,Ford Gts,Ferraris,BMWs,Porsches and every other GT class car.This would definitely show which manufacturer builds the best all around GT sports car!Awesome series!Yes or no?

  8. Nigel Dobbie

    March 14, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    Mark Kent’s comment about not wanting Cadillac vs Corvette is ridiculous. It’s like VAG saying Lamborghini, Audi and Porsche cannot compete against each other in GTD or Audi vs Porsche at Le Mans.

    Calloway should be allowed to enter GT3 spec Corvettes in the GTD Class and GM should be encouraging it. GT3 is the global class and the USA is the “world” market for Corvette, not entering because of competition for the Cadillacs in PWC is “confusing” makes a very poor statement as to the GM management’s opinion of the fans…..we can tell the difference!

  9. Alex

    March 14, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    Interesting comments from Kent. I think that the “swim line” comment is a bit of a mis direction. They could EASILY have Cadillac Racing join IMSA GTD instead, to then pool their marketing budget alongside the DPI. Heck, they can even share team resources with their GTE team!

    But, nope…for whatever reason Caddy feel a sort of sense of entitlement to be in PWC unchallenged and then claim “they are the best” when they win these races unopposed from a car with 1/10th the development budget. Don’t be fooled, this is purely an image decision, so that the Pratt & Miller team isn’t beaten by a privateer car (thus taking the spotlight away from Caddy). The same in GTLM. You’ll never see a private C7R entered in IMSA/LM 24 PRO, for this reason.

    The C7 GT3 is a BRILLIANT car and consistently wins races in Europe (and almost a title its first time out), yet its treated like a black sheep in the US. If “Callaway is a great partner of ours and we’ll continue to explore opportunities to work together” was true, they would try to move Cadillac Racing to IMSA and instantly solve this problem…..

  10. Zone

    April 19, 2017 at 10:43 am

    Now word that Cadillac will have a mid engine car . I could care less about a caddy. Corvette mid engine or nothing.

  11. Zone

    April 19, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    Cadillac needs to get out of racing. Way more corvette fans then caddy so called fans. Let the GT3 corvette race in the PWC. Now caddy is taken over the GTP class in IMSA. This makes way for the stupid decision to make a mid engine caddy. Kick in the face for corvette fans. The good ol boys club @ GM

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