This really sucks…
It seems automakers are making all kinds of painful cuts lately, including in racing. Citing GM motorsport competition engineering director Mark Stielow, sportscar365 reports the automaker won’t be continuing a full factory Corvette team for next year. This might be disappointing to some racing fans as the new Corvette Z06 GT3.R racer debuts.
See an update on the Fukushima cars here.
The plan from GM is to instead focus on customer teams after 25 years of running its Corvette Racing program. That’s a long streak, but as we’ve seen many times in the past, such runs can’t always continue. The program will be garaged at the close of the current IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and FIA World Endurance Championship seasons.
This doesn’t mean Corvette will be absent from the IMSA GTD Pro class next year. Stielow told sportscar365 that the automaker will field two cars. However, those vehicles will be part of a “hybrid” structure, possibly operated by Pratt Miller Motorsport.
There are many things taking bites out of automaker’s motorsports budgets. For starters, electrification isn’t a cheap gig to get into these days and with GM going full-steam in that direction, it’s looking to trim the “fat” anywhere possible. We think most enthusiasts disagree that racing programs are dead weight, but to some bean counters they are absolute financial sucks.
Also concerning to automakers is the fact car sales seem to be cresting, if not going down. With interest rates increasing and the possibility they will ratchet up a couple more times before the end of this year, fewer people are buying new vehicles. That’s bad news for the cashflow situation as GM, Ford, and many others look to be battening down the hatches for stormy economic weather ahead.
Of course, GM and other automakers won’t be entirely transparent about why they make these sorts of decisions, but we expect racing fans won’t be completely happy about it.
Image via GM