Chevrolet names Laura Wontrop Klauser as sports car manager over Corvette Racing

Corvette Racing manager Klauser
Corvette Racing
0 Comments

The defending GTLM champion Corvette Racing program will be overseen by Laura Wontrop Klauser, who was named Tuesday by Chevrolet to the newly created role of sports car racing program manager.

Klauser, who has managed the Cadillac DPi and Camaro GT4.R programs in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, will have engineering and technical oversight for Chevrolet over Corvette Racing, which won the 2020 title with the No. 3 C8.R of Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor.

“It’s a huge honor to move into this role with Corvette Racing,” Klauser, who has been part of GM’s racing activities for the last five years, said in a release. “It unquestionably is one of the premier programs in all of sports car endurance racing. The rich history of Corvette’s successes in IMSA is something of which everyone at Chevrolet can be proud.

“At the same time, this motorsports management restructure is a great opportunity to rethink how Chevrolet operates on IMSA weekends. My goal is to promote more synergy between our racing programs and funnel our technical learnings back to GM so we continue to make and sell better cars to our fans and customers around the world.”

ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA: Schedules, TV info, start times, entry lists

THE OPEN ROAD: Action Express manager Gary Nelson sees the world from his motorcycle

Klauser worked on the production side of GM for eight years before moving into motorsports, where she also oversaw the Cadillac ATS-V.R program in the Pirelli World Challenge.

She since has been working on Cadillacs, which have four consecutive victories in the Rolex 24 (which will be held Jan. 30-31 at Daytona International Speedway).

A year later, Klauser helped launch the Cadillac DPi-V.R program, which to date has claimed two Manufacturers Championships, four Michelin Endurance Cup Championships and 18 race wins including four consecutive victories in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

“We are pleased to have someone as enthusiastic and experienced as Laura as our Sports Car Racing Program Manager,” Mark Stielow, Chevrolet director of motorsports competition engineering, said in a statement. “Corvette Racing and GM’s road-racing efforts will benefit from her engineering experience with both the Corvette and Cadillac production cars, and her relationship with a large number of our fans and Corvette owners.”

Kyle Busch interests McLaren for Indy 500, but team is leaning toward experience

McLaren Indy Kyle Busch
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
1 Comment

With Arrow McLaren SP heavily weighing a fourth car for the Indy 500 next year, Kyle Busch is a candidate but not at the top of the IndyCar team’s list.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown addressed the possibility Wednesday morning during a video news conference with Gavin Ward, the team’s newly named racing director.

“I have not personally spoken with Kyle Busch, but you can read into that that someone else in our organization has,” Brown said. “We want to make sure if we run a fourth car, we’re in the mindset that we want someone that is experienced around the 500. It’s such an important race, and from a going for the championship point of view, we’ve got three drivers that we want to have finish as strong as possible, so if we ran a fourth car, we’d want to be additive, not only for the fourth car itself, but to the three cars and so bringing in someone who’s not done it before potentially doesn’t add that value from an experience point of view.”

Busch will race the No. 8 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing next season in NASCAR under a new deal that will allow the two-time Cup Series champion to make his Indy 500 debut. Busch, who had a previous deal to run the Indy 500 nixed by Joe Gibbs Racing, openly courted Chevy IndyCar teams to contact him during his introductory news conference with RCR last month.

After Team Penske (which has given no indications of a fourth car at Indy alongside champion Will Power, Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin), McLaren is the second-best Chevy organization, and it’s fielded an extra Indy 500 car the past two years for Juan Pablo Montoya. The Associated Press reported last month that McLaren was in “serious conversation” about running Busch at Indy with Menards sponsorship.

But with its restructured management, the team is in the midst of significant expansion for 2023. AMSP is adding a third full-time car for 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi to team with Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist, and a massive new shop also is being built in the Indianapolis area.

“(It’s) not because of him but purely because of experience,” Brown said of Busch. “He’s an awesome talent and would be huge, huge news for the speedway. But yeah, I think everyone is under consideration if we decide to do it, but experience is right at the top of the list as far as what’s going to be the most important to us.”

And it seems likely there will be a veteran joining Rossi, O’Ward and Rosenqvist at the Brickyard.

“A fourth car at the 500 is very much under consideration,” Brown said. “I wouldn’t even want to get ahead of ourselves, but we wouldn’t be ruling out a fourth car in the future on a full-time basis. That definitely wouldn’t be for ’23. But as we expand the team and get into larger facilities and things of that nature, it’s something that Gavin and I have spoken about.

“I think we would be in a position to run a fourth car at the 500 this upcoming year. If we do decide to do that, we’ll make that decision soon for maximum preparation, and I would say we’re open minded to a fourth car in ’24 and beyond and probably will make that decision middle of next year in time to be prepared if we did decide to do that.”

Brown also addressed the future of Alex Palou, who will be racing for Chip Ganassi Racing next season after also signing a deal with McLaren. Though Brown declined to get into specifics about whether Palou had signed a new deal, he confirmed Palou will continue to test “our Formula One car from time to time.

“Everyone has reached an amicable solution,” Brown said. “We’ve now had Alex in our Formula One car as we have Pato. That will continue in the future, which we’re quite excited about. At this point we’re laser-focused on 2023 and glad to have the noise behind us and now just want to put our head down and get on with the job with the three drivers we have.”