In case you have been busy doing different issues this weekend and did not take note of racing, there have been a few massive races taking place down in Sebring, Florida. Tremendous Sebring weekend consisted of the opening spherical of the FIA WEC on Fridayknown as the 1000 Miles of Sebring, and the second spherical of the IMSA championship on Saturday, referred to as the 12 Hours of Sebring. Down within the GT ranks, there was just one automotive that was eligible to compete in each races, albeit working two completely different specs, the Corvette C8.R.
For slightly backstory right here, the Corvette C8.R was constructed to GTE class specs, and debuted in 2020, That meant the automotive was eligible to compete within the FIA’s GTE Professional class and IMSA’s GTLM class. For the 2022 season, nevertheless, IMSA killed off the GTLM class in favor of a pros-only model of its current GTD class, which runs to GT3 specs, known as GTD Professional. GTE Professional troopers on in FIA competitors, however Corvette nonetheless needed to race in IMSA, so it lobbied the collection to permit it to run a detuned model of the C8.R GTE automotive in GTD Professional. Being that the GTD-spec automotive simply debuted this 12 months, there hasn’t been a chance to check the 2 automobiles till this weekend. Similar weekend, identical observe, related climate situations, and two completely different specs of the identical automotive. How do they examine?
There isn’t any higher comparability than the almighty lap time. It is apparent from the outset that the GTE Professional automotive could be sooner round a lap of the Sebring Worldwide Raceway, however simply how a lot sooner wasn’t but clear. It appears like the reply is round two and a half seconds.
Throughout Thursday’s qualifying session for the WEC race, the GTE Professional Corvette ran a 1:57.696 lap time, which was adequate for third on the grid, just below half a second shy of the pole-sitting Porsche. Through the race the exact same Corvette managed a finest timed lap of 1:57.734. Whereas it was slower than the Porsches in qualifying, it really managed the quickest in-race lap time of the category.
On Friday’s qualifying session for the IMSA-sanctioned 12 Hour race, The GTD Professional classed Corvette C8.R grabbed third in school with a 1:59.957. The race went very nicely for the Corvette crew, with the yellow #3 profitable the race after 12 hours of working, and setting a 2:01.413 lap time within the course of. Staff driver Nicky Catsburg set that point, which was solely adequate for the fourth quickest lap of GTD Professional.
Usually talking, GTE-spec automobiles provide rather a lot extra downforce and slightly much less energy than GT3 automobiles. To transform the Corvette to GTD, the Pratt and Miller workforce was additionally allowed to suit driver aids like ABS, however was pressured to run a revamped aero package deal and less-restricted V8 engine. There’s additionally a distinction within the tires and the gas that’s utilized in IMSA versus what’s used beneath FIA management. GT3 continues to get sooner yearly, and for probably the most half GTE growth is completed. Take into account, if you’ll, that the GTD pole time for the Sebring race held in 2014 was 2:04.258.
So what does all this imply? Nicely, to me at the least, it means GTE is lifeless and GT3 is the longer term. It in all probability means the identical to Chevrolet, as the corporate is constructing a new-spec C8-based GT3 racer for 2024. It additionally signifies that to the FIA as nicely, as a result of that collection is killing the GTE class in favor of a GT3-based specification in 2024, although has hinted lately that it might make the change in 2023 if the demand is there.
I, for one, welcome our new GT3 lords. In fact, I known as for the quick demise of GTE almost two years in the pastso after all I would say that.