The prospects of seeing GTE and GT3 evolve into a single formula makes a “huge amount of sense” according to Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan, who has voiced his personal support of a single global GT platform.
The topic of GT convergence has returned following a reduction in GTE machinery globally, with the Ford GT exiting factory competition and BMW having withdrawn from the FIA World Endurance Championship.
It leaves only three GTE manufacturers in the WEC for the 2019-20 season and an expected six-car full-season grid for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next year.
Fehan, who has been at the helm of Corvette’s factory effort since its inception in 1999, said what the industry is currently experiencing is “nothing unusual” to what’s happened in the past evolution of regulations.
“GTE is for serious manufacturers who want to compete at the highest level. That’s not for everyone and I think that’s what’s being demonstrated at this point,” Fehan told Sportscar365.
“We’ve been through the peaks and valleys of this before; it’s nothing unusual.
“You only need to go back to 1997 and 1998 with the GT1 cars morphing into Le Mans prototype cars.
“We have enough manufacturer involvement right now to support GTE/GTLM program but I think we’ll always have to look to the future.
“If additional commitments aren’t forthcoming, then you’ll have to look to see how to re-invent yourself.”
‘Speaking as a fan’, Fehan said he favors a combined GT platform, likely based off of GT3 due to sheer number of active manufacturers.
Both GTE and GT3 are due for a regulations refresh in 2022.
“Obviously with the amount of GT3 cars out there, just by virtue of name and volume, heading down that road, to some degree, is probably a pretty good idea,” Fehan said.
“I don’t like GT3 from the standpoint of it being open [technically], like the wild, wild west. That makes no sense to me.
“But if we’re going to do anything along those lines, let’s get serious about it, let’s write some proper regulations and I think that’s probably going to be the future of GT racing, a common GT formula, and then divide it up into Pro and Am.”
IMSA President Scott Atherton told Sportscar365 last month that he believes GT convergence talks should be re-opened in order to be “proactive” and prevent a repeat of the slow demise of GT1.
Both Corvette and Porsche are set to roll out with brand-new GTE cars within the next six months, which could complicate matters, although Fehan said he isn’t concerned.
“I don’t want to put a timeframe on [convergence] and I don’t want it to be written to fit what we already have,” he said.
“I think this is an opportunity to start with a clean sheet of paper, figure out what we need to do and then allow the manufacturers to go there and the competitors as well.
“Number one, I’m not panicked as a fan.
“I have a reasonable level of concern only because I like to always see the ball moved down the field.
“If we can get something global and get a Pro class an and Am class with a very similar rules package, and that means similar products, in that a manufacturer has to only build one line of car, that makes great economic sense for everybody and speaks volumes for how good the competition would be.
“I look at the dimensioned participation in factories in GTE and GTLM as an opportunity. I don’t look at it as a catastrophe.”