Return to Le Mans Highlights Corvette Racing’s FIA WEC Program
Return to Le Mans Highlights Corvette Racing’s FIA WEC Program
- Full-time Corvette Racing roster set for Le Mans campaign
- Garcia, Gavin to drive C8.R in opening WEC round at Spa
- Future racing opportunities under consideration with Corvette C8.R
DETROIT (March 15, 2021) – Corvette Racing will return to competition in the FIA World Endurance Championship this year, culminating with the program’s return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Fresh off a victory in the Rolex 24 At Daytona in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Corvette Racing is set to campaign two of its mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette C8.Rs in the GTE Pro category at Le Mans on August 21-22. It will mark the team’s 21st appearance in the French endurance classic. Its string of 20 consecutive trips to Le Mans was interrupted last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The traditional June date shifted to August in hopes of allowing a limited number of spectators to the race. As a result, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship moved its GT-only race at Virginia International Raceway from August to October, and the 1,000-mile Petit Le Mans moves to mid-November to close the IMSA season.
Rolex 24 winners Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg will look to add another 24-hour victory as they share the No. 63 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R. In the No. 64 Corvette, the trio of Tommy Milner, Nick Tandy and Alexander Sims seek their first 24-hour victory together after a runner-up finish at Daytona.
The six drivers sport multiple starts at Le Mans, and the group has combined for 43 appearances and seven victories – Garcia has three, Milner two, and Taylor and Tandy with one each. Catsburg and Sims each will make their third Le Mans starts.
Taking on Spa-Francorchamps
To help in preparation for the 2021 race, Corvette Racing will enter a single C8.R in the season-opening WEC round: the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on May 1. Garcia and team veteran Oliver Gavin will drive the No. 63 C8.R at the Belgian circuit – the first time they have shared a car in their Corvette Racing careers.
Competing at Spa will provide the Corvette Racing team a bit of a refresher on specific rules and strategy methods that are unique to FIA WEC races. Pit stop operations and safety car procedures are among the biggest differences in IMSA and WEC competitions.
It will be Garcia’s second start in FIA WEC competition outside of Le Mans. He drove the 1,000 Miles of Sebring in 2019 in a Corvette C7.R and was the fastest driver in GTE Pro qualifying. Gavin will make his third non-Le Mans start in the WEC, the most recent coming at Shanghai in 2018 as part of the lineup for the special Redline Edition Corvette C7.R with long-time teammate Milner.
Gavin is Corvette Racing’s all-time leader in starts (202), wins (51), pole positions (25), Le Mans wins (five) and IMSA championships (five). This will mark his first start in a No. 63 Corvette Racing entry since Le Mans in 2002.
Eyeing Future at Le Mans and in North America
The current GTE regulations allow for the Corvette C8.R to continue competing against other manufacturers in the World Endurance Championship. In addition to its 2021 European races, Chevrolet and Corvette Racing look forward to continuing in future years at Le Mans and in select WEC rounds.
Chevrolet also continues to explore expansion into GT3 with the Corvette platform. For 2022, Chevrolet and Corvette Racing continue to monitor developments in the new GTD Pro category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. While work on technical and sporting regulations continues, Chevrolet and Corvette Racing leadership remain engaged with the sanctioning body.
Corvette Racing’s next event is the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring from Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway on Saturday, March 20.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 63 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “Not going to Le Mans last year was something we really missed. Going back there this year is something we all want. Obviously it’s one of the biggest races of the year. Missing it last year was hard, tough and very unusual for Corvette Racing. Going back now, we are looking forward to it. We’ve already won a 24-hour race, which gives us a lot of confidence. I do feel like we will be much more prepared with the C8.R this year than we would have been last year. I’m hoping we are as competitive at Le Mans as we were in Daytona.”
WEC RETURN: “When I learned Corvette Racing was adding WEC races, I was really keen to do it. First of all, to be in a works Corvette with Olly was a cool idea that we could finally do. It came together quickly and I’m thankful to be able to do it. Now we aren’t just sharing runs or rental cars; now we are sharing a race car.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 63 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “Winning at Daytona is a huge confidence booster for everyone at Corvette Racing heading to Le Mans. It’s a huge testament to everyone at Corvette Racing for the development over the last year once the car was running to get it in the position it is now. Looking forward to Le Mans, it gives us a lot confidence knowing what we have a strong car that is proven over 24 hours of racing flat-out. We need to figure out setup-wise what will make us competitive and fast there. From a reliability and durability point of view, we have a lot of faith in the C8.R.”
NICKY CATSBURG, NO. 63 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “Going back to Le Mans with Corvette Racing is obviously another milestone. It’s something I’m very much looking forward to. Missing out on Le Mans last year was unfortunate. I’m just looking forward to being back at this event again, and hopefully we can continue what we started in Daytona. Winning a 24-hour race must be good preparation for another 24-hour race. But Le Mans is a very different challenge and a very different track. We have a very strong team and combination of drivers to have a strong performance. I can’t wait to try and add this 24-hour race to my list of 24-hour races that I’ve won. Le Mans cannot come early enough.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 63 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “It’s exciting for me to get back and work again with everyone at Corvette Racing. And I get to drive with Antonio for the very first time as my Corvette Racing teammate! We’ve been teammates inside the team for so many years, traveling so much together and sharing houses at Sebring, Daytona and many other places. For us to be able to go and race together in Europe will be very special. The C8.R is in a great spot. The team has worked very hard on the car during the winter, and looking at how fast the car was at Daytona and how the team performed, you have to say we are going to these races optimistic of having a fantastic result.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 64 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “Last year, for many reasons, was a bummer. With all the things happening around the world, there was no surprise that some tough decisions that had to be made, and one of those was not being able to take the C8.R to Le Mans. That’s always a highlight of the year for the team, and I think we were all very excited about the prospects of the new Corvette at Le Mans. It’s a huge goal for everyone on the team, and the designed goal for the car was to be as good as it can be at Le Mans. We’re hopeful that things are trending in the right direction and that we have an opportunity to go back. Hopefully it goes right for us and that we can take a now-proven C8.R to Le Mans.”
NICK TANDY, NO. 64 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “Le Mans obviously is the biggest race in our sport. It was a big reason why the Corvette Racing program is such an attractive one for people within the team. Going back to GTE at Le Mans will be familiar ground. I’m looking forward to going back with this program and having a real go at it. I’ve won it before in LMP1 but I have yet to win in the GT ranks. It’s definitely high on the list of accomplishments that myself and the team want to accomplish.”
ALEXANDER SIMS, NO. 64 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “Now that Corvette Racing has won the Rolex 24, Le Mans is the other big one for the year. From my point of view, it gives me a great feeling having done a 24-hour race with the team, seeing the level at which the team operates and how good the Corvette C8.R was through the day, through the night and even in the rainy conditions during the Roar. I’m extremely excited about Le Mans. It’s the biggest global endurance race, and to go with there with Corvette Racing and the first time with the C8.R is a huge occasion and a great privilege. Having experienced the C8.R at Daytona and seen its strengths, which are many, it should go well around Le Mans.”