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Corvette Facing Tight Logistics Window For Shanghai

Corvette Racing faces a “daunting” logistical challenge ahead of its maiden race in China…

Photo: John Dagys

Corvette Racing team manager Ben Johnson says the team’s FIA World Endurance Championship appearance at Shanghai in November poses a “daunting” logistical challenge.

A single Chevrolet Corvette C7.R will be added to the GTE-Pro entry for the six-hour race, boosting the number of manufacturers in the category to six.

It will mark the Pratt & Miller-run squad’s first race outing in Asia and its second time competing in the series outside the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the last time coming at the Six Hours of COTA in 2014 (pictured above).

Johnson explained that the team will need to have its entry fully organized this month to meet the operational deadlines imposed by the WEC.

Corvette has yet to determine which of its IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship cars will be freighted to Shanghai, while a driver lineup is also yet to be announced.

“We only have a couple [of] weeks just because we have to submit paperwork to shipping and the WEC,” Johnson told Sportscar365. “So it actually comes up pretty quick. November seems a long way away based on how far we are in the IMSA season.

“But if we don’t have it all figured out in the next four weeks we’re going to be pretty far behind.

“It’s daunting thinking that you’re going to have to come off Petit Le Mans [October 13] and get everything you need and put it to the far side of the world.

“It’s completely different to anything else we’ve done before. I think everyone just puts the being anxious aside. It’s exciting to get it done.”

Johnson said that the resources the team won’t need for the Motul Petit Le Mans will be sea freighted to China before the IMSA season finale, while the rest, including the car,  will be air freighted afterwards.

He explained the team is likely to send a combination of its two IMSA crews to Shanghai.

“It’s probably a mix of both crews, who’s available and what is the right group of people to bring to make sure that we have all the skill sets there that we need,” said Johnson.

“In France [for Le Mans] you have people we know who are close and we can lean on for things. In China, it’s not there.

“We want to make sure that anyone that has a specific knowledge base on the car is there. We’re taking more crew than we normally would, just to make sure that we’re covered.”

The Shanghai car will be fitted with a Redline livery to promote the launch of Chevrolet’s special edition range in the country last November.

China is General Motors’ second-largest consumer market with more than four million models being sold there in 2017.

Johnson said they plan to pull together members of the company who have experience in China to help the operation run smoothly.

“We have contacts at GM China now, obviously from not being in their backyard, but we have support personnel within the team that have done the race in Shanghai with WEC,” he said.

“So they at least have the lay of the land there and what’s required.

“We’re calling on people from other groups within Pratt & Miller that are Chinese citizens who understand some of it.

“Anything we can get our heads up on our legs up on at this point, we’re doing the best to get. 

“The big step right now from a team operational side is making sure that we get there in a way that we can be competitive.”

Johnson added that it’s not yet been decided if a Corvette will appear in the 1,000-mile WEC race at Sebring next March, which takes place on the same weekend as the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours WeatherTech Championship race.

While it’s been heavily rumored the team will field its third car in the event, Johnson said they’ll “do whatever we’re asked to do” by Chevrolet.

John Dagys contributed to this report.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365 and e-racing365, with a focus on the FIA World Endurance Championship and various electric racing series.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Marcus

    July 12, 2018 at 9:31 am

    Interesting article. Equally interesting at the moment is the Callaway GT3 team who is preparing for their first International race at the Suzuka 10hrs next month….sadly Daniel Lloyd doesn’t seem to be covering this at all. Hopefully both teams are successful over seas.

    • kv

      July 12, 2018 at 10:12 am

      With the mid engine C8 WELL ALONG IN DEVELOPEMENT,the C7 is making a farewell tour !

      • Andy

        July 12, 2018 at 1:44 pm

        The C6 and C7 mid-engines were supposedly well along in development and yet nothing came of them either. Spy shots and camo clad cars do not a statement of fact make, no matter how much Car and Driver likes to tell us they have insider info. The latest from people close to P&M is there has NOT been mid-engine testing for them so no C8 for 2019 without it being an utter piece of crap.

      • Joel

        July 12, 2018 at 10:57 pm

        The C8.R is at least 2yrs out. Fehan has already said that they will be racing the C7.R next yr.

    • Callaway is a joke

      July 12, 2018 at 1:49 pm

      How is Suzuka its FIRST international race??? They are a German based race team and that would make any race outside of Germany international, barring some weird US biased Europe is one country idiocy. And they have “raced” (well attended) in a few PWC races in the US, they are not based there and in fact had to withdraw as they were “too far away from their supply of spare engines.” The engines that are built in the US, but yup, too hard to find a Chevy block in the US I guess.

      No one is writing about it because quite frankly it is NOT news. No one cares about what Callaway is going to plan to do, they couldn’t race outside of their precious ADAC series in a fairly easy sprint series with rules that are made up on the fly. Why would we expect them to be competent at racing half way around the world? It’s not worth our time.

      • Kurt

        July 12, 2018 at 11:33 pm

        The article said that it is the first international race for P&M as a team outside of LeMans. Not for Corvette as a brand.

  2. jason

    July 12, 2018 at 11:01 am

    I hope the #3(63 for WEC) car does the trip since they were the ones that finished 5th at Le Mans.

  3. Andy Flinn

    July 12, 2018 at 8:56 pm

    I’ll probably be vilified for pointing this out, but if GM had any endurance privateer partners left, perhaps the factory wouldn’t have to do all of this WEC planning and heavy lifting themselves.

    Just a thought.

    I still remember when privateers raced Corvettes

    Also, attacking Callaway isn’t going to result in GM suddenly deciding they want to race GT3 cars in the PWC again.

    So unless I was someone who was perhaps fired by Callaway, I don’t understand the point of all the bitterness and anger.

  4. David Chaste

    July 14, 2018 at 3:23 am

    For the drivers you should have the obligatory Yankee pilot so Tommy milner, and to pay hommage to your longuest serving hotshoe Oliver Gavin, and to finish it off you need an expert on the track and wec races so Marcel Fassler.

    But a lineup of Jordan Taylor, Tommy Milner, and Marcel Fassler would give you most of the above and be faster, to defend against the Brunis, Sims, Thiims, etc.

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