GM: LMDh, GT3 Discussions “On the Table”

Photo: John Dagys

LMDh and GT3 are among the platforms General Motors is evaluating for potential future involvement according to Laura Wontrop Klauser.

The automotive giant, which is currently involved in IMSA’s DPi class through the Cadillac brand and the GT Le Mans ranks with Corvette Racing, is amid a changing of the guard with new motorsports leadership.

Klauser, who was named Tuesday as Chevrolet’s sports car racing program manager in a new overarching role, is set to oversee all of GM’s involvement in IMSA and other related series, a role she sees taking a “shared” approach between the brands.

“When I came on board with the Cadillac DPi program, I got to know the Corvette team very well,” she told Sportscar365.

“We tried to find ways to work together to make sure that we were protecting all of General Motors’ participation in sports car racing and that we could communicate clearly and focus and work with each other.

“Now we can share resources, which is great.

“It takes it away from separate programs that [are] interfaced when convenient to programs that are going to have to learn how to support each other.

“From that standpoint it will make all of our programs stronger and hopefully give us a really nice presence in IMSA as a whole.”

In what she labeled as a “step by step process” GM’s future sports car racing involvement will hinge on efficiencies across multiple programs.

“This will give us a chance to really be smart about how we do the programs, how we look to the future and what we want to do with sports car racing,” Klauser said.

“It will be good to have a direction that makes sense.”

Klauser confirmed ongoing talks for possible LMDh and GT3 projects, amid the changing class structure within the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and sports car racing globally.

“We have explored all of the options and they’re still on the table,” she said.

“What we need to understand is where we want to position the key brands that we have in racing, Corvette being one of them.

“Racing is in Corvette’s DNA. For sure we need to have Corvette on the grid somewhere, but understanding what capacity that’s going to be, that’s been part of figuring things out.

“We’re still finalizing the details on what we want to see from a vision standpoint. We’re hoping to be able to start having some announcements in that arena soon.

“I can guarantee you that there’s been a lot of work.

“I took Christmas Day off — but that was it — to work on vision stuff and figuring out where we’re going to go in the next three to four years.

“The fact that [LMDh] has been a joint effort between the ACO and IMSA makes it very appealing. We’ve always wanted to go back to Le Mans in the top class as we have some unfinished business there.

“But it’s one of the things that in order to get programs like that through GM, you have to first figure out what you want to do, then get leadership on board and then leadership has to figure out ways to fund all this stuff.

“There’s a lot going on at GM and how we need to decide how we slot in and what programs make sense financially.”

A GT3-spec Corvette, which Pratt & Miller has undergone feasibility studies dating back to mid-last year, would likely result a customer support program.

“The [FIA] makes it very clear that’s what they’d like you to do,” Klauser said. “If you read the regs, you have to build so many chassis (20) in the first two years.”

The regulation was added following the conclusion of the Cadillac ATS-V.R program in Pirelli World Challenge, a GT3-spec car that GM did not make available to customers.

“I think that message is being received on our end loud and clear,” she added on the customer sales requirement.

Corvette Still “Learning” Despite Depleted GTLM Field

Klauser said the factory Corvette program is still a viable asset to GM despite a reduced grid this year that will see only three full-season entries, two of them being Chevrolet Corvette C8.Rs.

It comes following the news that BMW will contest a Michelin Endurance Cup-only program with its Team RLL-entered BMW M8 GTEs.

“We definitely would love to have as many competitors with us as possible; that’s a given,” Klauser said. “But the good news is that even when we have lower car counts we’re still learning.

“The program makes sense for us. The fans will get a little Corvette vs. Corvette as the year progress but we are optimistic IMSA is going to figure out how we’re going to be handling this [in the future].

“The OEs are involved in that decision-making too. IMSA has been very open and transparent with us, which we really appreciate. 

“I think together we’re going to figure out what makes sense for the following years in terms of the GT classes.

“This is the turning point for sure with all of the neat opportunities that are going to be coming up.

“I’m really excited about where we’re going to play in this and how it’s all going to fall.

“I can’t wait until we have firm decisions that we can start talking and get announcements out there because I think everyone’s going to be excited to see how important motorsports is to GM for all of our brands that race.”

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