Chevrolet is feverishly working on a compromise scenario with IMSA officials to compete in the 2022 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, despite simply not having enough time to build a fully homologated GT3-spec Corvette by then.
Chevy says it just can’t have a fully homologated GT3 car ready by next year and is hopeful that IMSA instead will allow a few modifications to its current GTE-spec C8.R car that debuted in 2020 so that it can compete in ’22 in the new GT Daytona Pro class, believed to accept only full FIA GT3-spec cars.
Those negotiations seek to uncover “what type of modifications could we make that would put us in the window with the other cars but is not a complete re-do, which we’re out of time for,” Klauser said. “The car launched last year so we’re trying to get some return on investment.”
She said it would be “really hard to take what we have today and make a couple of modifications” and move into full GT3 compliance, which requires producing at least 20 cars available to customers in the first two years of the homologation by the FIA.
“The platforms are different enough and the approach that was taken with our factory GTE car is very different as to how you would approach a customer GT3 car,” Klauser said. “A lot of the decisions that were made were perfect for the factory program, but they really don’t translate well for a customer program. We get to the point where we’re almost starting over. That’s why we can’t get it done in as quickly as a year. Most of these race programs take us two or three years to get them put together. A handful of months just wasn’t an option.”
Klauser doesn’t expect to be allowed to compete indefinitely with any modifications that might be temporarily agreed to by IMSA but is hopeful that enough of a compromise can be reached to salvage the ’22 season in GTD Pro.
“We’re working with IMSA to understand – knowing that constraint – what could we do with them for the next year or so for racing so when we’re able to launch a proper GT3 car, we’re ready for that,” she said.
If Chevy winds up not being able to reach an agreement with IMSA, Klauser says Corvette Racing could always continue to compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship instead.
“The good news is that as far as we know the GTE platform is still welcome in the WEC,” she said. “We have that as an option to play with.”
She considers WEC competition to be “the bare minimum” for the team next year but is hopeful that Corvette can “find a way to work with IMSA to be in both.”
But at the end of the day, any such compromise will have to make sense for both IMSA and Corvette, she admits.
“We’re not going to sign up for something we don’t understand or just sign up to sign up,” Klauser said. “We’ve put a lot of investment into this race car and the platform and into the team, and we want to make sure we get the best return on that investment in a place we know we’ll be competitive and we’ll be able to be in with a nice large field.”
According to Sportscar365, IMSA hopes to finalize GTD Pro regulations by May, so hopefully Corvette Racing will know in a few weeks exactly where it will be competing next year.
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