Corvette Racing is “exploring all the different paths” for its potential involvement in the 2023 FIA World Endurance Championship, according to General Motors sports car racing program manager Laura Wontrop Klauser.
The Chevrolet factory squad is interested in staying on the grid next year but wants to hear more about the ACO’s plans for the extension of GTE-Pro before committing to anything. In the meantime, it is “trying to figure out” how its team might evolve for GTE-Am.
Ferrari and Porsche have said they do not plan to run factory cars in Pro after this season because they will be focusing on works efforts in the top Hypercar category.
However, ACO President Pierre Fillon said in March that the WEC would keep GTE-Pro available if it secured four entries from a minimum of two manufacturers.
That leaves independent customer teams and Corvette Racing as the most likely candidates to keep Pro alive, although Klauser from the latter camp acknowledged that GTE-Am is also being surveyed at this stage while uncertainty persists.
“I think we’re supposed to be getting officially what the class structure is going to be, at Le Mans,” Klauser told Sportscar365.
“There has been a lot of press back and forth, and it was mentioned that if they can rally four Pros [they would maintain the class]. It would be really interesting to see if it comes to fruition.
“I don’t know. We would be interested in a Pro class if that would be the case, but we’re also looking at what it could be if it went Pro-Am.
“We have not officially communicated it, but we are exploring all the different paths. We would really like to be at Le Mans again: that is part of our Corvette DNA at this point.
“We just need to understand the changes that are coming out, what that means and how we would have to react.”
Klauser said that morphing Corvette Racing into a GTE-Am team would represent a notable shift in philosophy for the American organization.
The Pratt & Miller-run squad has long been imbued in the fabric of top-level GT racing courtesy of its programs in the U.S. and its involvement at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Corvette added a GTE-Pro effort in the WEC this year with a single Chevrolet Corvette C8.R for Tommy Milner and Nick Tandy, alongside its IMSA GTD Pro venture.
“We’re still trying to figure [GTE-Am] out because we’ve been doing one thing for so long,” said Klauser.
“We’re looking through, first understanding what are the requirements. Then drivers are a huge part of that. So what types of drivers? Who would make sense for being in Corvette in that capacity?
“And what does the team look like? I don’t foresee us working with another team. We would have [Pratt & Miller] support us. They know the cars the best.
“Really we’re focused on our GT3 program, so it doesn’t make sense to spend time and resources bringing someone else up to speed for one year when we’re getting ready for GT3.
“A lot of it is just balancing what we have now until we get that car launched and out of the door for 2024.”
Klauser effectively ruled out any extra Corvette Racing entries in GTE-Pro this year, beyond Le Mans where the team’s IMSA crew will join to form a two-car assault.
It also appears that Corvette is planning to complete the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with a single C8.R GTD, rather than bringing its second Daytona entry back for the remaining enduros at Watkins Glen and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
When asked about the possibility of a second WEC Corvette, Klauser said: “Probably not, and I would say the main reason being the shipping challenges and how we’re managing that.
“We only have so many chassis that we’re working with and the IMSA schedule is pretty intense after Le Mans.
“As we’re trying to make sure that everything is where it needs to be, we’re running out of options to do additional things.
“The intention after Le Mans is to finish out with one car in WEC and one car in IMSA, as it’s been for full season.
“You never know when something might change, but I foresee that as not going to happen.”
Klauser Envisions GM Crossovers for “Efficiency”
If Corvette Racing continues in the WEC next year, it will share the grid with the Cadillac LMDh program’s single-car Hypercar effort run by Chip Ganassi Racing.
Klauser views that as a potential opportunity to share some resources between the two different GM racing projects.
“Any efficiency we can find, we’re going to take advantage of,” she said. “We’re still working through all of that.
“I’m sure there will be discussions of… ‘does anyone have space in their crate?’ The answer is always no. Like packing a suitcase, you always go to capacity.
“But seeing is there a way to help each other in the way, hospitality and all of those things, how can we do separate brands, one team?
“We’re all going to be flying the General Motors flag, whether you’re Cadillac or Corvette. That’s what we’re getting into now.
“The second half of the year is going to be about really working through what next year looks like and how we can work together.”