Corvette Racing has withdrawn from the 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans, which has been postponed until September due to the global coronavirus pandemic. That puts the debut of the mid-engine Corvette C8.R at the French endurance classic on hold for at least a year.
The news was first reported on Monday by Racer, which said Le Mans organizers were informed of the Corvette team's decision weeks ago. The withdrawal was subsequently confirmed to Motor Authority with a statement from Jim Campbell, General Motors U.S. vice president, performance and motorsports.
"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. 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."
2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R race car
The news came shortly after Porsche confirmed that its IMSA race team would not compete at Le Mans. The German automaker will field only the Europe-based race team that typically competes in the FIA World Endurance Championship, of which Le Mans is a part. Both the Corvette and Porsche teams are expected to continue racing with IMSA when the series restarts.
The current Corvette racing program made its Le Mans debut in 1999, and has picked up eight class victories, the most recent in 2015. This will be the first time in 20 years that Corvettes have not raced at Le Mans.
Launched in concert with the mid-engine C8 road car, the Corvette C8.R competed in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January before the coronavirus pandemic halted IMSA racing. While based on the road car, the race car features a flat-plane crank V-8 that is believed to preview an engine for a future Z06 or ZR1 model.