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A change of plans for Corvette Racing?

May 15, 2008

With the announcement that GM has put the development of a Corvette-based prototype for the LeMans Evo Class many thought they were seeing the end of the factory Corvette race team…not so fast.

“I’m not giving up,” said GM road-racing boss Steve Wesoloski in a recent interview with Autoweek’s Mac Morrison. Even though the company has shelved plans to develop an Evo Corvette because of cost concerns and the fact that the final regulations for the LeMans classes remain up in the air.

In June 2007, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest announced its intention to introduce the new Evo class. The class would allow only closed-cockpit coupes with reduced performance and bodywork that resembled actual road cars, rather than the radical-looking LMP1 cars used today. The new cars were originally slated to be eligible beginning in 2009 and would have replaced the existing breed of LMP1 prototypes entirely by 2011. Evo coupes were then set to debut in 2010, when they would race against existing LMP1 cars, which would have been outlawed from 2011. The ACO’s latest plan appears set to stick with today’s prototypes–probably for years to come–modified to reduce performance, so building a car to Evo rules makes little sense. If a manufacturer does build an Evo car, the ACO will balance performance via technical rules to ensure that all of the cars are competitive with one another despite their drastically different designs.

You can plan on seeing the Pratt & Miller C6R on the tracks through at least the 2010 season since that is how long the company’s current contract with GM runs. The only questions is in what car and in what class.

Wesoloski said that the FIA and the ACO are working with GM, Porsche, Aston Martin and Ferrari to produce a class that allows all four companies to compete head-to-head, so a new GM machine is on the horizon for 2010, no matter what.

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