#5346 - 11/11/2111:03 AMC8.Rs Will Race IMSA GTD-Pro Next Season
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Corvette Racing will continue its vaunted IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship presence in 2022 and make a new race car available for customer programs starting in 2024.
General Motors officials announced Thursday that the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R and drivers Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg on the verge of winning the 2021 GT Le Mans (GTLM) class title will be back to compete in the new GTD PRO class next season. Garcia and Taylor will run the full schedule, with Catsburg again joining them for the endurance races.
The No. 4 Corvette, with co-drivers Tommy Milner, Nick Tandy and Alexander Sims, will shift to a full-season program next year in the FIA World Endurance Championship in the GTE Pro class. The two Corvettes will reunite to run together at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.
“This is the most ambitious schedule that Corvette Racing has faced in its nearly 25 years of competition,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. Vice President, Performance and Motorsports. “It will be an honor to race in both the IMSA and WEC series at some of the best tracks in the world.”
Chevrolet also confirmed it will build and sell the Corvette Z06 GT3.R to customers for the 2024 racing season. The Corvette Z06 GT3.R will be the closest link yet between the production Z06 and the racing Corvette, sharing the same aluminum chassis, a production engine modified for race use and similar aerodynamic features.
“It’s an exciting time for Corvette, first with the reveal of the production Z06 and now confirming the Corvette Z06 GT3.R for customer racers,” said Mark Stielow, Chevrolet Director of Motorsports Competition Engineering. “The availability of the Z06 GT3.R will allow customer race teams the opportunity to campaign a Corvette that has benefited from Corvette Racing’s rich history.”
Since its 1999 inception, the Corvette Racing program has amassed amazing success, with 120 race wins, 112 in IMSA and eight at Le Mans. Twenty-nine of those victories, the most of any manufacturer, have come in the GTLM class introduced in 2014 and ending on Saturday with the Motul Petit Le Mans. Chevrolet and Corvette will lock up their 14th manufacturer championship this weekend to go along with the driver and team titles.
The No. 3 Corvette that Garcia, Taylor and Catsburg will drive next year in GTD PRO will look similar to the current car but be adapted to fit into the global GT3 specification that is the basis for the new-for-2022 IMSA class. It will still be powered by the same 5.5-liter, flat-plane V-8 engine, will have a revised wing profile, anti-lock braking system (ABS) and use customer Michelin tires per GTD regulations.
“I’m looking forward to being back with Corvette Racing, Jordan and in IMSA,” said Garcia, the 41-year-old Spaniard about to win his fifth IMSA championship. “It will be my 12th full season in America, and I’ve enjoyed all of it. The GTD PRO class is a little different, but in some ways things will be the same as GTLM. We will have the C8.R with some modifications for the rules. It will be good to have the number of cars that it seems we will have in the category.
“For us, it will be a big change with one car and there is a lot to learn about the GTD PRO category over the course of the year,” Garcia added. “We need to maximize all our resources to keep winning in the same way we have for all these years.”
Taylor, the 30-year-old American slated to win his fourth IMSA crown on Saturday, is just as eager as his teammate to take on the new challenges of GTD PRO. “Obviously, going to a new class with more cars and more competition will be exciting,” Taylor said. “There is a lot to learn for us at Corvette Racing to help with the transition, but the team has so much experience over the years in GT racing that I’m confident we can adapt well. We’ve done some testing behind the scenes already with the car to understand where we are and what we require to work on. So far, so good.”