A delegation of personnel from General Motors and Pratt Miller have traveled to the Nürburgring 24 on a “fact-finding mission” with the goal of gathering knowledge about the event in preparation for the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.R’s European rollout.
Led by Christie Bagne, the Corvette Z06 GT3.R program manager, and also including Pratt Miller technical director Ben Johnson and customer racing program manager Ethan Gaynor, the team is on the ground at the Nürburgring to gain a deeper understanding of the event.
GM’s sports car racing general manager Laura Wontrop Klauser previously indicated that deliveries for the new car would initially be largely focused on the U.S. market.
However, Bagne told Sportscar365 that the Eifel endurance classic is considered as an avenue of exploration as the customer-focused program expands beyond the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and FIA World Endurance Championship in 2025.
“It is a fact-finding mission,” said Bagne. “This race is so different from what we do in IMSA and WEC.
“We’re here to talk to different teams, take it all in, understand the regulations, meet with the series, build that relationship so that when we do choose to expand in Europe in 2025, which we’re still evaluating, what that’ll look like.
“In terms of [whether] that’s this race, IGTC [or] something else entirely, at this point it’s all fact-finding.
“It’s all understanding the different potential scenarios and what we would need to do to support them.”
Bagne added that the team sought out the N24 for exploration because of its specific characteristics in terms of strategy and operations.
“It’s so unique in terms of the unique homologation items and even just how you fuel the car,” she said.
“The nature of the pit stops and the fueling time being a bit longer than in other series which enables different things on the strategy side.
“So I’m here with one of our race engineers, with the technical director of Pratt Miller and our Pratt Miller customer racing program manager.
“So we’ve kind of spanned the whole group here in terms that we’ve got the manufacturer – I cover that side of it.
“We’re looking at the customer support program. We’re looking at the actual race itself and the strategy that goes into it and then also the technical side in terms of how other manufacturers have done unique homologations for this race.
“What’s next effectively, and what type of support are other manufacturers providing? What should we be providing in terms of the parts support, the engineering support?
“Understanding what type of pre-event work is valuable to these teams so that if we do make the choice to come to this race, we’re coming in really strong.”
Bagne also pointed out that what goes into providing for a two-car operation is also being looked at, noting that “most competitive efforts” at the N24 are multi-car programs.
“We’re definitely looking at that, the number of bullets in the gun,” she explained.
“We’re definitely seeing that. In some ways, it’s a bit of a numbers game just because of the traffic at this race and oftentimes unique weather conditions and things like that.
“There’s a lot of opportunities to have one car have an issue or Code 60, whatever it may be. That’s like Le Mans, that’s like Daytona.
“We realize that a two-car effort is a great way to be able to cover other cars on strategy and things like that.”
The Nürburgring is one of a number of stops on Corvette Racing’s fact-finding mission and the organization plans to attend more sports car races in the coming months.
“I’ll be present at Spa 24 as well and at the Indy 8 Hour,” said Bagne.
“Again, just getting a sense of what teams are running, how they are are being successful, what type of support the manufacturers are providing. Things like that.
“We expect to have SRO deliveries in 2024 right after our WEC deliveries. We’re looking forward to being able to expand into SRO.
“It’s been nice having our [Camaro] GT4 car running there this year. We’ve been able to build some of the relationships over there as we prepare for GT3.”