Corvette Racing as we know it will shut down after 2023. The news comes from a Sportscar 365 interview with GM Motorsport Director Mark Stielow, who says the manufacturer will continue providing support to customer teams with its new Corvette Z06 GT3.R in 2024 and beyond. Still, it won't be the full-on factory effort that first started in 1999 with the C5.R.
"We’re not going to have a fully factory funded Corvette race program,” Stielow said. “But we’re going to have a pool of Corvette drivers [that will race with customer teams]."
Close partners will carry the torch in IMSA's Weathertech SportsCar Championship and potentially even SRO GT World Challenge America, as Stielow told Sportscar 365. GM hopes to have as many as four Corvette Z06 GT3.R entries in next year's Rolex 24 spread across GTD and GTD Pro.
“We’re going to support different teams to a degree but it’s not going to be like Cadillac, which is a fully funded factory effort," Steilow continued. “As we moved into the GT3 platform we wanted to be able to be more customer-based. There was a lot of internal debate inside GM and us about whether we’d want our customers racing against a factory.
“We’re doing a little bit of a hybrid with that.”
As a works program, Pratt and Miller is the name most often associated with 'Vettes in modern motorsports—it's been involved with Corvette Racing since the beginning. The team is expected to be the top partner running the new GT3.R next year. Other initial customers have already been determined internally, according to Stielow, but have yet to be announced. By the looks of it, GM will be careful with who runs the car at first and then expand further in 2025.
This news comes during the same week that Ford announced its Coyote V8-powered Mustang GT3, which will also populate paddocks starting in 2024. It'll be great seeing these two American heavyweights duke it out in IMSA GTD and GTD Pro next year, and hopefully plenty more series beyond our shores.
The end of a full factory effort doesn't mean an end to racing altogether. Just look at what's happened with the Porsche 911 GT3 R and customer outfits. Porsche hasn't had a factory effort in IMSA's Weathertech SportsCar Championship since 2020 and its cars are still going strong. There's a good chance we'll see more Corvettes doing the same on GT3 grids around the globe.
Still, Corvette Racing is an iconic program that's instilled a lot of pride among enthusiasts. Who could forget the Compuware yellow 'Vettes raging down the Mulsanne Straight, or ripping through the Daytona infield with Dale Earnhardt Sr. at the wheel? For those feeling a bit wistful, here's a look back at the early years of Corvette Racing.
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