Corvette Racing are set to campaign the current Pratt & Miller-built C7.R car through the full 2019 IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship season.
That’s the conclusion, now confirmed by team sources, from a number of factors relating to the appearance in Shanghai from the factory-run #64 car with no date yet in sight for either the road car version, or the GTLM derivative of the planned mid-engined turbo-powered C8.
The car present in China is C7.R chassis 004, a car that was the IMSA title-winning chassis in 2016, last seen in public at the Roar before the Rolex 24 Hours test back in 2017, that has not raced since!
Whilst there were some logistical reasons for selecting a car other than one of the team’s pair of 2018 full season IMSA chassis for the Chinese trip, the reasoning behind reactivating a third chassis in racing trim warranted some further investigations.
Corvette Racing is understood to be close to confirming a planned single car entry for the WEC’s race at Sebring, alongside the full factory two-car IMSA entry.
That effectively confirms that the C7.R would be utilised by the factory team at Sebring (why else would they need a third car there?)
Beyond that, the C7.Rs will certainly be the offer from Corvette to take up their anticipated pair of Le Mans 24 Hours places, no change of car is permitted within a single season (either in WEC or IMSA competition).
And then there is the stated aim of Corvette not to campaign a GT race car that has not yet seen its road car equivalent launched, a nice little bit of needle there towards their Ford opposition in GTLM!
All of that adds up to the conclusion that the C7.R will fulfil all factory GTLM (and GTE Pro) racing commitments throughout 2019, its sixth full season of competition.
Whilst there is certainly no commitment to a full programme beyond the IMSA series, the signs are good that more on-off appearances in WEC competition may also be under serious consideration.