The pandemic-rescheduled 12 Hours of Sebring made some significant news this weekend before the race itself was even in the books. Chevrolet needed only to take the green to secure the season title in the GT Le Mans Manufacturers category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with the mid-engine Corvette C8.R, marking the inaugural season of pro-level competition for the landmark Corvette design. It was the second time the bowtie brigade struck IMSA gold this month, as team drivers Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor captured the GTLM driver and team championships two weeks ago at the WeatherTech round at Laguna Seca.
The C8.R is built by longtime Chevrolet technical partner Pratt Miller of Michigan, and thumps out horsepower courtesy of Katech Engines, another Michigan-based GM performance cohort of long standing. This is the third championship title for Corvette Racing, as the effort is formally known, in the past five years. It’s the 13th IMSA manufacturer’s title for Chevrolet since 2001, but only the second time that a first-year Corvette model has been the basis for a title-winning effort, the first coming in 2005, also in partnership with Pratt Miller. The Sebring weekend also spotlighted the final career start for longtime Corvette Racing team driver Oliver Gavin, who is ending is full-time driving career.