No Corvettes at Le Mans in 2009? Report Says Corvette Racing Will Not Attend
Is it the end of an era, or just a rumor? Conflicting sources say that the Corvette Racing Team may or may not pull out of the 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans. Both agree, though, that the team isn't leaving motorsports... yet.
Autosport magazine is reporting in this week's issue that Chevrolet's Corvette Racing Team will not return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where it has won the GT1 class five times since entering in 2000. Autosport reports that Chevrolet has been told to cut its racing budget for 2009 and that the team has decided to skip the first half of the season in order to complete its new GT2 car, which will debut mid-season in the American Le Mans Series while the team prepares a new C6.R for the 2010 season. GM's racing boss, Steve Wesoloski, however, says no such decision has been made.
"We are still going ahead with our plans for a reduced program of Sebring, Long Beach and Le Mans," said Wesoloski. "No one has told me otherwise. We are, of course, prepared for all eventualities. It all hinges on what happens in Washington."
As Wesoloski points out, what happens in Washington in the next few weeks could directly affect the existence of Chevrolet and the Corvette Racing Team. While this report appears to be less than rock solid at the moment, we wouldn't be surprised to see the Corvettes drop the 2009 season -- just disappointed. They'd be joining a rapidly expanding club of factory-backed race teams that have dropped part or all of their 2009 season due to economic constraints. Should they drop, they'd be joining the ranks of Audi and Porsche, which pulled out of the American Le Mans Series, Honda, which pulled out of F1 and is selling its team, and Subaru and Suzuki, which have pulled out of the World Rally Championship.
We'll keep you updated as this story develops.