One of the reasons why General Motors has been unable to clearly define the future racing plans for both Cadillac and Corvette Racing was because the organizers of Le Mans hadn’t yet offered up their vision of what sports car racing would look like in 2024 and beyond.
On Friday, the ACO did just that with the announcement that the next generation GT class will be based on the GT3 specifications. However, in an effort to keep a team’s operating costs as low as possible, the ACO is looking to “prevent” factory-backed teams from “officially” participating in the new class.
Richard Mille, President of the FIA Endurance Commission said one way to do that is by enforcing the driver classifications to ensure a mix of professional and amateur drivers in the new GT class.
Sportscar365 specifically asked ACO President Pierre Fillon about how a team like Corvette Racing could participate in Le Mans in 2024 and he replied, “You have to ask the question to Corvette. They can come with amateur drivers and private teams.”
Fillon says the ACO hasn’t yet determined if there will be more than one GT racing class or two, as is currently the case with GTE-Pro and GTE-Am, but he reiterated that the objective is to contain costs, saying “Today GTE is very costly, and it is something we don’t want” when the new class begins racing in 2024. Fillon adds, “We will have the final decision at the end of this year.”
We believe that GM was set to announce Cadillac’s participation in the new LMDh class on Friday, but stepped back from making it official following the ACO press conference. Currently, Toyota, Porsche, Audi, Ferrari, BMW, Acura, and Peugeot have all announced plans to go racing in the new LMDh prototype class.
While Le Mans has always been the signature event for Corvette Racing, IMSA president John Doonan says IMSA’s new GTD Pro class will still offer a place for manufactures to participate in GT racing.
“We felt like it was absolutely the right time to make the transition to GT3 specifications. With GTD Pro, we still believe there’s a place for manufacturer programs, works teams if you will, in GT. That’s what we believe is right for the industry.
The ACO’s decision not only puts Corvette Racing’s future Le Mans plans in doubt, but it could cause GM to rethink its plans for a GT3 program for IMSA as well. While a move to the LMDh has most likely been discussed behind closed doors, most Corvette Racing fans we’ve talked with are not very enthusiastic about such a change.
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