Corvette returning to Le Mans
Corvette Racing is headed back to the 24 Hour of Le Mans. General Motors’ flagship factory sports car team will make its 21st appearance at the world’s most famous endurance race, which follows a one-year absence by the Michigan-based program.
To prepare for the debut of Corvette’s championship-winning C8.R model in Europe, the team will dispatch a single car to the May 1 FIA World Endurance Championship round at Spa to give its engineers and the sanctioning body a chance to benchmark the C8.R against the other GTE-Pro manufacturers.
For the August 21-22 Le Mans event, a pair of Corvettes will feature Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg in the No. 63 C8.R, and Tommy Milner, Nick Tandy and Alexander Sims in the No. 64 Corvette.
“Not going to Le Mans last year was something we really missed,” said Garcia, who shared in the team’s January victory at the 24 Hours of Daytona. “Going back there this year is something we all want. Obviously, it’s one of the biggest races of the year. Missing it last year was hard, tough and very unusual for Corvette Racing. Going back now, we are looking forward to it. We’ve already won a 24-hour race, which gives us a lot of confidence. I do feel like we will be much more prepared with the C8.R this year than we would have been last year. I’m hoping we are as competitive at Le Mans as we were in Daytona.”
Fans of the Corvette brand will be heartened to learn the brand also confirmed its intent to continue racing at Le Mans in 2022 and beyond. The affirmation comes as its home series, IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, prepares to close the GT Le Mans class where the C8.Rs compete and replace it with GTD Pro. In GTD Pro, cars conforming to GTLM regulations will not be allowed; a switch to GT3 rules will be required for Corvette to continue its journey in IMSA.
“The current GTE regulations allow for the Corvette C8.R to continue competing against other manufacturers in the World Endurance Championship,” the brand noted. “In addition to its 2021 European races, Chevrolet and Corvette Racing look forward to continuing in future years at Le Mans and in select WEC rounds.
“Chevrolet also continues to explore expansion into GT3 with the Corvette platform. For 2022, Chevrolet and Corvette Racing continue to monitor developments in the new GTD Pro category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. While work on technical and sporting regulations continues, Chevrolet and Corvette Racing leadership remain engaged with the sanctioning body.”
RACER understands the most likely direction for Corvette Racing to follow involves running its C8.Rs in GT3 configuration in GTD Pro and converting the cars to GTE-Pro as needed for FIA WEC races before converting the models back to GT3 in the WeatherTech Championship.
Source: Marshall Pruett for Racer.com