Corvette won’t race without Aston-Martin
The continued participation of Chevrolet in the American LeMans Series GT1 racing series depends on Aston Martin. Asked whether Chevrolet would commit to running its C6R Corvette racers in next year’s series, GM’s road racing manager, Steve Weslowski, responded, “As soon as they announce they are coming back, we’ll announce that we’ll be back. I think you should direct that question to David Richards and George Howard.” Richards and Howard run ProDrive, the company that fields the Aston Martin race cars.
The possibility that Chevrolet would terminate its participation in the ALMS series has been raised in past years, as competition in the series diminished, to the point that it is now almost invisible. In fact, only the participation of Aston Martin in 2006 has kept the Corvettes in the thus far. But Chevrolet has made it clear that it will not remain in the series if there is not meaningful competition among makes.
This time, though, it looks very likely that the Corvettes won’t be running next year in the ALMS. ProDrive is reported to be willing to consider entering the GT-1 series only if it gets significant breaks in the rules governing weight and/or air intake dimensions, concessions which the ALMS is said to be unwilling to make. Without those concessions, however, ProDrive believes it can’t compete with the Corvettes, so has no reason to participate in the series.
Regardless of its participation in ALMS, Chevrolet remains committed to winning at the 24 Hours of LeMans. Though ALMS has some core fans, the series doesn’t really have a significant impact on public perception of the Corvette. Moreover, it’s the real LeMans race in France that carries all of the prestige.
If ProDrive stays out and Chevrolet consequently leaves the series, it appears that would effectively end the GT1 class in the ALMS series, leaving only the two prototype classes and the production based GT2 class. That doesn’t seem to be in the ALMS’s best interests. GT1 is certainly the most visible racing class in the series. But ALMS has a knack for shooting itself in the foot. Right now, it seems to be reloading.