Corvette Racing is withdrawing the new C8.R from this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, citing concerns over COVID-19 and logistical challenges presented by the rescheduling of the iconic endurance race. The news broke after Porsche announced a similar move with its 911 RSRs last week. Corvette’s exit leaves only Aston Martin and Ferrari among the original, factory-backed GTE Pro entries.
“Corvette Racing has a long history of competing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, so our decision to not participate in this historic race this year was not an easy one. Several factors played into our decision, including current conditions and the rescheduled timing,” Corvette Racing announced via Twitter. “We’re proud Corvette Racing has been invited to the 24 Hours of Le Mans over the past 20 years and regret that we won’t be participating this year. We hope we have the opportunity to race at Le Mans again.”
Pratt & Miller’s newest weapons already made their state-side endurance racing debuts at Daytona this January, but Le Mans represented more than Corvette Racing’s first challenge on international soil. The infamous 24 Hours of Le Mans still sets the standard for endurance racers—cars and drivers alike—and would have offered the mid-engine Corvette the chance to prove the road-racing chops of its new chassis layout at the most challenging event on the endurance calendar.
While Corvette Racing will continue to focus on the IMSA series, the move to September, along with the uncertainty that COVID-19 brings in committing to any event in the future, subject to local travel restrictions, ultimately led to Corvette Racing’s decision to withhold the incredible armada of equipment that would need to travel to France. According to Racer.com, Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), the organizing body of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, were informed of Corvette Racing’s intentions weeks ago.
While some businesses are beginning to reopen under significant constraints, motorsports events continue to live in purgatory. We’re hopeful for a return in 2021 with teams champing at the bit for lost time, but, until then, expect more announcements like this.