Chevrolet is taking an active approach to incorporating its first two customer teams into the testing schedule for the Corvette Z06 GT3.R ahead of its racing debut in 2024, with both squads recently attending tests at U.S. venues.
The GM brand is preparing to roll out a customer racing support program for the first time in its history, having previously almost exclusively focused on its own factory operations.
As previously reported by Sportscar365, TF Sport, which will run a pair of cars in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s LMGT3 class, traveled to the Circuit of The Americas this week to get a first impression of Chevrolet’s new GT3 challenger.
Team principal Tom Ferrier told Sportscar365 that while his team didn’t run the Z06 GT3.R themselves, they were “perfectly shadowing” Corvette personnel at the test with a five-man delegation from the UK headed by Ferrier himself.
“The objective of the test was basically to run some possibilities of drivers for next year in WEC,” Ferrier said.
“So there were different drivers there to evaluate potential driving talent and it was also an opportunity for potential customers that want to drive a Corvette in WEC.”
No specifics were given on drivers, but current TF Sport GTE-Am driver Ahmad Al Harthy has expressed interest in staying with the team even as it switches manufacturers from Aston Martin at the end of this season.
Canadian outfit AWA, which will be the sole campaigner for the car in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD class in 2023 and 2024, also recently attended testing for the new car.
Staff from the Andrew Wojteczko-led squad were present when the Z06 GT3.R hit the track during a test after the WeatherTech Championship round at Road America in August.
Wojteczko previously told Sportscar365 that he has his sights set on the Bob Akin Bronze Cup for next year, which would allow his team to secure an invitation to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2025.
Z06 GT3.R program manager Christie Bagne explained that the presence of the two teams at U.S. test session forms part of the “collaborative network” that is being built to prepare for Corvette’s venture into GT3 customer racing.
“Having our customer teams at these tests is an important step toward a successful launch next year,” said Bagne.
“For one, they are receiving an immersion into the Z06 GT3.R from an engineering and serviceability perspective.
“There also is value in introducing the teams to the support personnel from General Motors and Pratt Miller, all of whom will be providing technical expertise both at the track and between races.
“This is all part of the collaborative network that we feel is important to establish for the success of our Corvette GT3 customer teams.”
Bagne’s preparation effort also included a fact-finding mission to multiple major European endurance events earlier this year, including the Nürburgring 24.
John Dagys contributed to this report