- IMSA is eliminating the GTLM class on the conclusion of the 2021 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season and changing it with the GTD Professional class.
- There are simply two automobiles entered within the non-points GTLM race on Belle Isle this 12 months. Each are Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.Rs.
- Anticipate Corvette to proceed as GTD Professional entries in 2022, and probably within the customer-owned GTD class as properly in 2023.
When the inexperienced flag falls on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix offered by Lear on Saturday, it is going to be the primary time in IMSA WeatherTech historical past—and the primary time since 2008, which predates that IMSA collection—that Chevrolet workers in Detroit will be capable of cheer on the Corvettes within the GT Le Mans class.
It would even be the final.
The GT Le Mans class will come to a painful finish on the conclusion of the 2021 season. It wasn’t that way back that the GTLM class had a decent automotive depend: within the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, there have been 9 entries.
In Detroit this 12 months, there are two, each Corvette C8.Rs. Sure, it’s a non-points race, however that didn’t maintain all these GTLM entries away – there simply hasn’t been any aside from a BMW or two. GTLM historically hasn’t been part of the Detroit race weekend as a result of a number of the groups have been normally busy making ready for the 24 Hours of Le Mans this week on the calendar, nevertheless it has been postponed to late August this 12 months resulting from COVID-19 considerations.
Factors or not, within the first race for the Corvettes since Sebring in March, the crew will likely be pushing as arduous as ever. “To return there with the Corvette C8.R after such a robust opening 12 months in 2020 and a robust begin in 2021, it’s going to be cool to point out them in particular person what these automobiles are in a position to do,” mentioned Jordan Taylor, driver of the quantity 3 Corvette.
So with out GT Le Mans, what’s the way forward for the Corvette race automotive? Good query. The GTE-Professional class stays within the World Endurance Championship, which is class Corvette races in on the 24 Hours of Le Mans. But it surely appears unlikely for Chevrolet and GM to fund a full season for a primarily abroad collection.
Extra probably is that the Corvette will likely be accepted into the brand new GT Daytona Professional class, which can race alongside the present GT Daytona class, however there will likely be separate podiums and factors and driver expertise ranges. GT Daytona automobiles are FIA GT3-spec, primarily the identical the world over. Corvette isn’t a GT3 per se, however reportedly they’ve requested to be allowed to tweak the present GT Le Mans C8.R to suit GTD Professional, which, amongst different variations, consists of the addition of anti-lock brakes. Reportedly Chevrolet has already retrofit a automotive with ABS and examined it.
As it’s with GTLM, the brand new Professional class will likely be factory-supported. Full manufacturing facility help – that means automotive possession, for one factor – isn’t allowed in GT3, that means GT Daytona.
It is usually possible that Chevrolet will construct a GTD-legal GT-3 automotive outright, most definitely engineered and constructed by Pratt & Miller, builder of the present GTLM automotive. There’s no proof that Chevrolet is contemplating a Corvette model of the brand new LMDh Prototype automotive, which can change the present IMSA Prototype class for 2023. If GM goes the LMDh route, it can probably persist with the Cadillac badge, which is worn by the present Prototype. The Prototype automobiles have been badged as Corvettes earlier than that modified to Cadillac.
However that’s all sooner or later. Sure, the 2 C8.Rs will likely be racing in opposition to themselves this weekend, however that shouldn’t reduce the joy of the Chevy workers who will go to Belle Isle and cheer on not solely the Corvettes, however the three Cadillacs battling two Acuras and a Mazda within the Prototype class.
Anticipate Corvette to proceed as GTD Professional entries in 2022, and probably within the customer-owned GTD class as properly in 2023. Racing is just too essential to Corvette, and Corvette is just too essential to IMSA, to let the top of GT Le Mans kill off the model.
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