Chevrolet has ruled out having a fully homologated GT3-spec Corvette ready in time for the 2022 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season according to GM sports car racing program manager Laura Wontrop Klauser, who is hopeful of coming to a compromise with IMSA to potentially run an adapted version of its current GTE-spec Corvette C8.R in GTD Pro.
The development comes in the wake of ongoing talks on the future of GM’s sports car racing involvement in the WeatherTech Championship amid a shift exclusively to GT3-spec regulations as well as the upcoming launch of the LMDh platform in 2023.
Corvette has yet to confirm an IMSA GT program for next year but has previously expressed interest in the new GTD Pro category, which was believed to accept only full FIA GT3-spec machinery.
“We can’t have one ready in time for next year, a pure GT3-homologated… the whole kit,” Klauser told Sportscar365.
“It’s something we’re looking towards for the future potentially to go through.
“We’re working with IMSA to understand — knowing that constraint — what could we do with them for the next year or so for racing so when we’re able to launch a proper GT3 car we’re ready for that.
“That’s all in the works right now and there’s a lot of discussions happening. Nothing is final.
“We’re working as fast as we can and we’re trying to get an answer.”
Klauser said they’re not able to convert the existing Corvette C8.R — which debuted in 2020 — into full GT3 spec as it was not initially designed or built for that platform.
Conforming to the GT3 regulations also requires making the cars available to customers, with a minimum of 20 cars to be produced in the first two years of the homologation by the FIA.
“It’s really hard to take what we have today and make a couple of modifications and flick it into GT3,” Klauser said.
“The platforms are different enough and the approach that was taken with our factory GTE car is very different as to how you would approach a customer GT3 car.
“A lot of the decisions that were made were perfect for the factory program but they really don’t translate well for a customer program.
“We get to the point where we’re almost starting over. That’s why we can’t get it done in as quickly as a year.
“Most of these race programs take us two or three years to get them put together. A handful of months just wasn’t an option.”
When asked if Corvette is open to making adjustments to its current GTE-spec model to bring it closer in line with GT3-spec cars, such as the implementation of ABS, which is mandatory in GT3, Klauser said “that’s the stuff we’re working with IMSA on.”
“What type of modifications could we make that would put us in the window with the other cars but is not a complete re-do, which we’re out of time for,” she added.
“The car launched last year so we’re trying to get some return on investment.
“I don’t think anyone thinks that IMSA would let us [run in this configuration] indefinitely. They’re helping us understand that in order to do GT3 properly it’s going to take us a little bit to get it out.
“But the goal would be to have a full customer GT3 out there, if that’s what we choose.”
Should an agreement not be reached with IMSA, Klauser said Corvette Racing could focus its efforts on the FIA World Endurance Championship instead.
“The good news is that as far as we know the GTE platform is still welcome in the WEC. We have that as an option to play with,” she said.
“I would like to say that would be the bare minimum, that we’d be in WEC series with some of the races there.
“Our hope is to find a way to work with IMSA to be in both. At the end of the day we’re going to have to come to a conclusion that makes sense for both of us.
“We’re not going to sign up for something we don’t understand or just sign up to sign up.
“We’ve put a lot of investment into this race car and the platform and into the team and we want to make sure we get the best return on that investment in a place we know we’ll be competitive and we’ll be able to be in with a nice large field.”
Sportscar365 understands that IMSA is targeting for the GTD Pro regulations to be firmed up by May.
LMDh Evaluation “Plays Into” Corvette GT Outcome
Klauser said that GM’s evaluation of the LMDh platform, which is still ongoing, “plays into” the outcome it will have on its GT future.
“Obviously we’re running out of time so we’re hoping to know what’s going on here,” she said of LMDh.
“Part of this plays into it. It’s very important to figure out where we place a brand or two brands or however we want to do this and understanding what the options are.
“The GTD Pro [regulations] are not finalized either.
“It’s understanding where we can race and where does GM’s style of racing fits best.”