IMSA President John Doonan said that decisions being made on the shape of the new GTD Pro class for 2022 are not being influenced by “one manufacturer” stressing that the sanctioning body has “terrific communication” with all of the OEMs involved.
The statement comes in the wake of Corvette Racing’s expected acceptance with a modified version of its current GTE-spec Chevy Corvette C8.R that it campaigns in the GT Le Mans class.
Chevy, BMW, Porsche, Lexus & Lamborghini are understood to be among the manufacturers actively involved in helping shape the final regulations for the new-for-2022 GT3-based category.
“We’ve got a lot of confidence around GTD Pro and GTD,” Doonan told Sportscar365. “We’ve had terrific communication with all the OEMs.
“I think we’ve had two or three group calls and then, of course, individual calls.
“[We’re] trying to make sure that we do the right thing, to give GTD Pro the continued spotlight that it needs with factory efforts and the resources that factory/works programs provide.
“At the same time, making sure that those who are running in GTD continue to see the value.
“The goal is to try to maintain or maybe even lower costs for people.
“We work closely with Michelin on our tire choice. More info to come on that. We’re trying to keep things as consistent as we can.”
IMSA is expected to grant national homologation to the Corvette, something similar that it has done with BMW in the past, most recently with the M6 GT3 that ran as a GTLM variant in 2016-17.
Doonan said that exact example has been referenced in recent meetings.
“Corvette Racing has been great as we try to integrate them into GTD Pro,” he said.
“They have been a long-time player and investor in IMSA, and we obviously want to keep them in the game, but also make it [so] they meet their objectives too.
“Decisions aren’t being made around one manufacturer. It’s what’s best for the sport.”
When asked if he expects Corvette Racing to be on the grid with a modified version of its GTLM car, Doonan said “that’s our hope.”
“It’s their announcement to make, but we’ve tried to do everything we can on our side,” he said.
“And they have done the same on their side to make sure that we understand the platform.
“The other OEMs want to see them continue as well. At least that’s been the comment on the calls. They want to make sure that there’s a place for them.”
Different Tire Specs Possible Option for Class ‘Stratification’
Doonan said it’s their goal to keep Balance of Performance and power levels “as close to the same” as what’s currently seen in GTD but still trying to find the “right mix” of stratification between the two classes.
This is understood to potentially be accomplished by different tire options from Michelin, which has been in favor of offering more of a confidential or semi-confidential tire for the class.
Doonan stressed that there are still discussions on the tire front although hinted it could come in stages.
Sportscar365 understands that the current customer S9M compound could be put into action next year in GTD Pro, followed by a new class-specific tire in 2023.
“Michelin is obviously a terrific partner and they want to do the right thing for the sport as well,” Doonan said.
“They’re here also to tell proper brand and product stories.
“Hopefully [there will be] some announcements here in the not-too-distant future, about what we’ll do with tires in the short term and long term.”
Doonan Hoping For “Half Dozen” OEMs in GTD Pro
The prospects of seeing up to six different manufacturers involved in GTD Pro next year is a realistic possibility according to Doonan.
This would be accomplished with a mix of full-factory teams like Corvette and BMW, as well as works supported and customer teams wishing to run all-pro driver lineups.
“I could give you my blue sky wishes,” Doonan said. “You can see half a dozen OEMs in Pro.
“And I think that’s probably decently realistic based on the feedback we’re getting.
“Again, those announcements are theirs to make.
But I would love to see maybe six manufacturers in Pro and up to ten is the current number in GTD. It should be good.
“The other thing I like is the fact that the GT3 specification is becoming more and more the way forward.
“We try to take a leadership position with our decision and communicating with all the other sanctioning partners around the world, like the ACO, WEC, DTM, so [that] they knew the direction we were going to head.
“My hope is that takes hold more globally, such that you could potentially see a convergence in the GT category as well, as we have in LMDh.”