We already knew that the 88th running of the world’s premier endurance race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, had been pushed back to September from its traditional June date due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its continuing fallout. It didn’t take very long for some consequences to make themselves evident. Perhaps the saddest came when General Motors disclosed that Corvette Racing will not be taking part in this year’s race, which would have marked an enviable string of consecutive starts by a GM-backed Corvette team at the Sarthe. This will be the first time Corvette has missed the race since the factory effort commenced in 1979. The Bowtie Brigade has a very stout record at Le Mans, Corvettes having won their class eight times in 20 years, with the most recent victory taking place in 2015.
French fans will thus have to wait until 2021 to get their first look at the mid-engine Corvette C8.R as a competition vehicle. In a statement, Chevrolet Motorsports vice president Jim Campbell said the ongoing pandemic, and the logistics of adapting to the new date, made it impossible for Corvette Racing to head to France while it’s also contesting the IMSA WeatherTech series stateside at the same time. The good news, therefore, is that U.S. fans of the new Corvette, which has been brooming up the accolades since its introduction, will at least get to see it on the track. GM isn’t the only automaker whose Le Mans program has been upended by the virus. CORE Motorsports, the South Carolina-based team that runs the Porsche 911 RSR in the IMSA GTLM category, has also abandoned plans to contest Le Mans this year, for much the same reasons that GM cited.