IMSA is expected to have two American automotive titans fighting for dominance in its GT3 classes when the 2024 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season gets under way.
RACER has learned that not only is Ford planning to make a return to GT3 racing in 2024 with its legendary Mustang, but its arch in-state rival General Motors has a GT3 version of its championship-winning C8 in the works for a 2024 debut as well. It’s believed both Michigan-based companies intend to work within the spirit of the global GT3 class, which is meant to primarily — but not exclusively — serve customer programs.
For the Blue Oval, the return to GT3 with the Mustang has been anticipated, with Ford Performance director Mark Rushbrook telling RACER earlier in the year that “at the GT3 level, that is definitely of interest as we want to race Mustangs around the world, since it’s now a global sports car. Not just North America, but we sell it around the world. We’re interested in racing that and the opportunity to race that in more series. What I would say is, GT3 is a very logical place for the Mustang to race and a very logical place for us to look and certainly with what IMSA offers, even today with (the GT3-based) GTD (class), that’s a great place to race.”
The welcome surprise comes with Detroit’s GM and its Corvette Racing program which, while awaiting public confirmation, is understood to have been successful in lobbying IMSA to allow its all-conquering C8.R GT Le Mans model to race in next year’s GT3-based GTD Pro class without making a full conversion from GTLM to GT3 specifications. GTD Pro replaces GTLM in IMSA as a home for factory GT programs after this weekend’s Petit Le Mans season finale at Road Atlanta.
With the Corvette C8 road car going on sale in Europe, GM is rumored to have a split strategy on the horizon, sending one of its two-full time GTLM-spec C8.R IMSA entries to the FIA World Endurance Championship’s GTE class in 2022. In IMSA, the other GTLM C8.R is meant to be fielded as a unique performance-balanced entry among purebred GT3 cars in GTD Pro.
Reluctant to convert the C8.R to GT3 for GTD Pro’s inaugural seasons, the call to develop and sell a customer GT3 version of the C8.R for 2024 also suggests GM has a plan to move the Corvette Racing factory program to GT3 as IMSA — and more than likely the FIA WEC — will rely on the popular formula for all of its top-tier GT competition.
Reached for comment, representatives from Ford and GM declined to acknowledge or discuss their future GT3 plans.