Chevrolet is targeting an initial batch of ten Corvette Z06 GT3.Rs for each of the first two years of production as it ramps up its global support network for the manufacturer’s first “turn key” customer GT3 program.
GM sports car racing program manager Laura Wontrop Klauser revealed that the Pratt & Miller-built GT3 car, confirmed last week for a 2024 debut, will initially be focused on a limited production run, targeted for customers in North America and Europe.
She said an expansion on the initial allocation, which meets the FIA’s minimum build of 20 cars in the first two years of its homologation, will depend on the level of demand from customers.
“We’ll see how many teams reach out,” Klauser told Sportscar365. “We really want to see the car racing.
“That would be our ideal, to have as many teams that want to race the car in GT3 events as possible. But until we start talking to people…
“We finally got the announcement out, which is great. When we start finding out who is interested and who is ready to put a deposit down sometime next year, that’s when we’ll know where we need to be putting all of our focus and then we’ll continue to grow from there.”
Klauser said GM currently has two “parallel paths” going into the development of the GT3 project.
“We’ve got the car obviously being designed and developed and getting ready for testing,” she explained.
“Then the customer support structure is almost another group of people that’s working on that and trying to figure it all out.
“We are focused on the U.S. [market] first. We know that one the best so that’s where we’re going to be comfortable.
“We’re getting down to way more of the details on the U.S. side of things.
“The Europe side — we’ve just started the conversation, in trying to figure out what that will look like and when it would make sense.
“We’re only going to be building so many cars each year. As we ramp up, we want to make sure that we do this correctly.
“In order to make sure the demand is appropriate and to make sure we can properly support the product, you’ll see a limited number for the first two years.
“It will be interesting to see where they end up racing. We’re basing it around who our initial customers will be and working with all of them.”
Klauser said they expect to begin on-track testing next year.
“We’re still in virtual right now,” she said. “The pictures we have are built off the CAD [model] that we’re currently working on.
“We still have a little bit more to do so things might get tweaked a little bit, but it’s the path we’re going.
“We’re hoping to be testing next year. We should hopefully have some hardware pulled together and get wheels on ground at some point next year.”
When asked if the Corvette could take part in a test race prior to its FIA homologation, Klauser indicated it could be a difficult due to logistics and its planned testing program.
She confirmed that the development program will be conducted entirely in North America.
“If the option arises and it’s something that fits into our schedule and makes sense, then yeah, that’s always a great way to learn, to do a real-world situation [test race] like that,” Klauser said.
“I don’t believe that option will exist in IMSA and I’m not sure if SRO on this side of the pond will do it.
“That will make it tricky. Every time you have to add all of that international shipping to things, you end up letting go of something for a significantly longer [time].
“It will be hard to justify when we could be getting more miles on it here at home.”
Corvette Z06 GT3.R Completes “Nice Circle” in Development
Klauser said the Corvette C8.R GTE car, which helped develop the Z06 production car, has now formed the basis of the GT3 car, in an unexpected “nice circle” of development.
“We did not plan that,” she said. “It was just a nice way that worked out. When we launched the C8.R, we thought we’d be able to race it for a couple more years than we could. It is what it is.
“Now we have the opportunity to take that Z06 and turn that into our next-gen race car and really connect [the circle]. Those who own one can see a car even closer to what they’ve had in the past.
She added: “The engine is going to be significantly more production-based. But considering the C8.R was our testbed for the production engine, it creates a very nice circle for how that worked out.
“The flat-plane crank, that all stays the same. [It’s] around the same size and about the same package. We’re going to be able to pull in more production content that’s now available for us to use that was not when we started doing the C8.R’s engine.
“Per the regulations for GT3 you have to do that. But now the Z06 is out we have the perfect ‘donor’ to be a part of this process and to have that opportunity to connect the two cars.”