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#6082 - 06/01/23 07:14 AM Last Race for Corvette C8.R at Le Mans  
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C8.R Corvette Racing has contested the 24 Hours of Le Mans 22 times since making its debut at the French endurance classic in 2000. This year’s running, though, is the last for Corvette C8.R

There are a number of storylines that center on the long-standing program’s appearance this year at the Circuit de la Sarthe. Those pages will start writing themselves with the annual Test Day on Sunday, when the No. 33 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R hits the track for six hours of testing followed by official practices, qualifying and Hyperpole, finally culminating with the race on June 10-11.

Ben Keating, Nicky Catsburg and Nico Varrone will pilot the mid-engine Corvette in its final appearance at Le Mans as next year will see the debut of GT3 cars at the 24 Hours, including the Corvette Z06 GT3.R. But first things first sending the C8.R out at Le Mans with a victory and getting closer to the FIA World Endurance Championship’s GTE Am title.

The Keating/Catsburg/Varrone trio won the first two WEC races of the season at the Sebring 1,000 Miles and Six Hours of Portimăo and followed with a runner-up finish at the Spa Six Hours to take the championship lead. Le Mans is critical, though, as it is a double-points race and will go a long way toward determining this year’s title-winners.

Keating won last year at Le Mans in GTE Am and finished second in 2021. Catsburg will race at Le Mans for the fifth time and third year in a row for Corvette Racing, having finished second in GTE Pro in 2021. Meanwhile, Varrone made his Le Mans debut a year ago but already has a 24-hour victory under his belt this year, having won the Rolex 24 in the LMP3 class.

Corvette Racing is an eight-time winner at Le Mans with three different generations of America’s sports car. A first 24 Hours win for the C8.R which won the Rolex 24 in 2021 would be appropriate on a number of levels. One is that it would come during the Centenary running of Le Mans, which celebrates its 100th year at this event.

Secondly, a victory would cast a larger spotlight on GM’s involvement in this year’s race one Corvette, three Cadillac V-Series.R entries in Hypercar and the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 that will run under the Garage 56 banner this year.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is scheduled for 4 p.m. CET / 10 a.m. ET on Saturday, June 10. MotorTrend and MotorTrend Plus will provide both live television and streaming coverage, the latter beginning with Wednesday’s opening practice. Radio Le Mans will stream audio coverage of the Test Day, practices, qualifying and the race.

NICKY CATSBURG, NO. 33 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R:

“I want to win this race extremely bad !

I feel in a way that I’ve been so lucky already this season, winning some cool races and cool events. But I cannot deny that I really think we have a shot this year at Le Mans. That’s not always the case. I believe that we have an awesome team with all the experience there. We have awesome drivers. We have a cool car.
I don’t see why we shouldn’t be fighting for the win. I’m already nervous, and I already feel like, ‘Come on… let’s not make mistakes.

Let’s bring it home.’ But it’s never easy. It’s still a mechanical sport. We saw what happened with the 64 car last year. You never know, and you never know until the last five minutes of the race. It’ll be super cool, and I cannot wait.”

(GTE Am vs. GTE Pro at Le Mans):

“There isn’t much difference. We are still going to end up driving against pros. The only thing that might happen is that I might be in the car and there might be a Bronze driver in the other car, and you would for sure fight them differently than you would another pro.
But most of the same time, we’ll put the same time with the other pros. Like we’ve seen this year, it’s a tough battle.
You have many good drivers on the grid and many drivers that used to be in the Pro class before, so I don’t feel the approach is so different.”

BEN KEATING, NO. 33 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R:

“Clearly, we have a good team of drivers and a great team of engineers and pit crew at Corvette Racing. We have all the pieces of the puzzle to do well at Le Mans. I still think it’s anybody’s best guess as to who will do well.
There are 62 cars on track and everyone wants to do the best they can. Twenty-four hours is a long time to expect every other driver to keep their head about them and make a good decision. Someone can make a mistake and take you out, not of your own doing. It happens often.

But Le Mans is a double-points race for the championship. I don’t want to say it’s completely over, but if we were to win, then I don’t know if anyone can catch us. It would be just a total dream to win Le Mans.”

(Race outlook):

“Everyone wants to win Le Mans, and no one is really going to show what they have until the race starts. Then the gloves come off. Who knows what’s going to happen. That’s something you can’t control. All we can control is doing our jobs to the best of our abilities.
We will deal with whatever comes up. I’ve often said that it’s really special to win a World Endurance Championship race as an American driver racing an American car, racing something I sell and racing for an American team. It’s hard to imagine what that would be like at Le Mans and the 100th Le Mans. That would be on a totally different level.”

NICO VARRONE, NO. 33 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R:

“Le Mans is the race that everyone wants to win. It’s our race of the year. The GTE Am championship is important, but this is the biggest race for us. Le Mans is something else. This year, we’ve done very well so far and have a great start. We have two wins, another podium and lead the championship. We’ve been doing great things together as a team. The goal is to do the same as we have been doing in the first three races how we work, how we manage situations, the same we did at Sebring, Portimăo and Spa.
That is my mentality going into Le Mans.”

(Learning with Corvette Racing): “One of the biggest things I’ve learned is on pit stops and how to be precise with where I stop. I’m learning to see how important it is for a pit stop to be on your marks. Corvette Racing takes it so seriously and that’s why they are so quick on their stops. We work on how to get in the box, how the procedure works, and how important it is for the car to be right on the point. It’s much easier for the mechanics to do the tire changes and fuel the car. I’m also really lucky to have Nicky as a teammate.

He’s one of the best drivers in the world, and he’s helping me a lot. I can see what he’s doing not only in the car but outside the car as well, how he manages situations and deals with things. He’s such a nice guy that he has no secrets with me. He shares all his experiences and all his knowledge with me just for me to get better and improve as a driver and a person. That’s something I really appreciate.”

2023 FIA World Endurance Championship – GTE Am

(After three of seven events)

Driver Standings
1. Ben Keating/Nicky Catsburg/Nico Varrone – 82
2. Alessio Rovera/Lilou Wadoux/Luis Perez Companc – 43
3. Simon Mann/Ulysse De Pauw – 36
4. Christian Ried/Julien Andlauer/Mikkel Pedersen – 35
5. Michelle Gatting/Rahel Frey/Sarah Bovy – 32

Team Standings
1. No. 33 Corvette Racing – 82
2. No 83 Richard Mille AF Corse – 43
3. No. 21 AF Corse – 36
4. No. 77 Dempsey-Proton Racing – 35
5. No. 85 Iron Dames – 32


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#6083 - 06/02/23 03:40 PM Re: Last Race for Corvette C8.R at Le Mans [Re: teamzr1]  
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LE MANS, France (June 2, 2023) C8.R Corvette Racing really, REALLY wants to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year.
So much so that after last year’s near-miss, there is a focused, full-team effort to put the No. 33 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette in the best position possible to win the GTE Am category this time around.

Much of the preparation centers around work at the GM Technical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina where Corvette Racing drivers from the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship have helped their brethren from the FIA World Endurance Championship in Chevrolet’s Driver in the Loop (DiL) simulator with multiple sessions to test different configurations for the C8.R around Le Mans.

Nicky Catsburg, Ben Keating and Nico Varrone will drive the No. 33 Corvette in the 24 Hours.
Each of the three has spent time in the simulator alongside Antonio Garcia and Tommy Milner from Corvette Racing’s IMSA program in the lead up to the 24 Hours.

NICKY CATSBURG, NO. 33 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R FIA WEC:

“The IMSA guys are always following us and are always in touch about what’s going on during our weekends in WEC. Tommy has been on the sim a lot and Antonio now and then, and they have been doing some test work for us. If it works on the sim, we have been implementing that on the track and evaluating their changes. It’s definitely helpful and beneficial. It’s cool that even though we are in two different programs, it still feels like we are all working together.
That’s very cool and in the spirit of the team. It’s nice to have everyone involved and keep all the links close. They all have so much experience in this car, so it’s nice to have their help.”

BEN KEATING, NO. 33 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R FIA WEC:

“I spent a couple of days at the sim and spent a lot of time on Le Mans and also Monza. It was fascinating for me and my engineers. I’ve raced a lot of cars at Le Mans. I have enough time in the Corvette now. I’m able to run the C8.R on my sim at home.
I thought there wasn’t going to be much value going to the (Chevrolet) sim. But I was there for two days and I left there feeling it was a lot of value. As far as my communication with the engineers that are running the car, I felt like we got a much better understanding of what I like and don’t like. If we can figure that out, it can make a huge difference in our results at Le Mans.”

NICO VARRONE, NO. 33 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R FIA WEC:

“I was really impressed with the facility in my first time. The GM Technical Center is very cool. You can see that it is next-level. I personally love it. I’m a big sim fan and do a lot of sim racing at home. So I really like this kind of stuff. I always tested other sims, and it doesn’t feel so realistic with how the motion works and things like that. I have to say that I was able to jump in the Chevrolet sim right away, and it was great.

The feeling you get from the car is very similar to real life. It was cool for me to practice for Le Mans not only driving, but also feeling setup changes.
I think that’s one of the best things that you can do – try different setups and feel those as a driver. It lets you develop setup changes before you get to the track.

“Le Mans is a track where you cannot test. You go there once a year for one test day and then the race-week starts. It’s really difficult to get laps in and everything nailed for the race. So these sims sessions make it easier to establish a baseline.
From this, we can work on the car as the track develops, the weather gets warmer and other things. There aren’t so many big changes to do because you know what to use from the start. Between the sim and the experience of Corvette Racing at Le Mans, we are in a great place to start and work from there to get the best car possible for the race.”

ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – IMSA:

“It’s always good to be back driving the GTE spec and revisit what we raced last year.
There was a tiny bit of difference in the setups between the 63 and 64 cars. With only one car now, we need to know what the best options are and see which car was best at certain points. We are re-evaluating things we learned late last year and early this year in the WEC.

There is a ton of data to analyze. It’s important to be ahead of things to see what direction you want to take, and especially what to discard when you find changes that don’t work. A read at Le Mans is super-long because it’s a four-minute lap. If you want to try something, and it doesn’t work, you’ve lost 40 minutes or more on the Test Day, for example. So it’s important to maximize your time not just at the track but in the sim, as well.”

TOMMY MILNER, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – IMSA:

Where I’ve been able to help at the sim is my knowledge from last year about what the car felt like and correlating what they have in the sim now versus what we had last year and made sure the preparations they are doing for this year are getting off on the right foot.
They’re using every bit of information that they can get their hands on to improve the car to help Ben, Nico and Nicky be as prepared as possible for the race.

“There’s a bit more attention paid to Le Mans and all the work we’ve put in at the sim to make it as reliable as we can for feedback from drivers will pay off the most this year with someone like Ben and Nico, who haven’t raced this car at Le Mans.
The DiL is quite valuable for us in this situation to get the opportunity to get their feet wet before they get to the track for the first time in the C8.R.”


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#6084 - 06/05/23 06:22 AM Re: Last Race for Corvette C8.R at Le Mans [Re: teamzr1]  
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C8.R Corvette Racing went through its paces Sunday to wrap up its preparations for the 24 Hours of Le Mans with six hours of running around the famous 8.5-mile track.

All three Corvette drivers – Nicky Catsburg, Ben Keating and Nico Varrone cycled through the No. 33 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R in the pair of three-hour test sessions. It was the only track time for the Corvette trio and the rest of the 62-car field for next weekend’s Centenary celebration of Le Mans.

Catsburg turned in the Corvette’s best time and placed the C8.R 14th among the 21 entries in the GTE Am category. He, Keating and Varrone arrived at Le Mans with two wins in three races and the Driver's Championship lead in the class.

The morning session was a little difficult, with time spent in the garage to correct a mechanical problem.
In contrast, the afternoon running was smooth sailing. Keating got valuable seat time to familiarize himself with the C8.R in Le Mans trim after a baseline run by Catsburg to tune the car for his teammates.

The No. 66 Ferrari was the fastest car in class across both sessions. The first official practice and qualifying sessions are Wednesday.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is scheduled for 4 p.m. CET / 10 a.m. ET on Saturday, June 10. MotorTrend and MotorTrend Plus will provide both live television and streaming coverage, the latter beginning with Wednesday’s opening practice. Radio Le Mans will stream audio coverage of free practice, qualifying and the race.


NICKY CATSBURG, NO. 33 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R:

“We had some small mechanical issues in the morning that we solved quickly. Right now, everything feels pretty normal. We are getting the car in the window again. I feel like the track is a little different from last year so balance-wise it is a little different, but we are working on it.
The Corvette feels good. It seems like the Ferraris are a bit too fast for us right now, but in general, we can’t complain too much. We are getting back up to speed with everything, so I am quite happy.”

BEN KEATING, NO. 33 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R:

“It’s amazing how quickly the Test Day goes. The lap is so long that you never get that many laps in. We had slow zones and safety cars in the morning and afternoon, and each of those take about 30 minutes out of your day. This morning, I think each one of us got three to four laps. In the afternoon, I had the luxury of doing two stints, and I loved it. I still feel like I’m learning and getting better and better.

It was a big benefit to me in order to learn how to find lap-time in this car and this track. I feel good about the times I ran and that I will continue to improve. I’m looking forward to watching video of not only my driving but also the driving by Nicky and Nico. It was a very successful Test Day, I’d say. We had a nice recovery this afternoon from the morning. I’m looking forward to getting a start on the real race week!”

NICO VARRONE, NO. 33 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R:

“It was a tough day in the way red flags worked and the new safety car rules that the organizers were trying. So we lost quite a lot of green-flag track time. In my case, I think I did five laps total, so that’s not so many. Luckily, I know the track from Road to Le Mans and this race last year. So it is a different car, different team and different setup. I’m getting comfortable and things were quite OK.
It was a positive day for us. We still have a few things to work on. We weren’t strong in low-speed and mid-speed corners, but this is nothing that we cannot improve. Now the engineers have all the data and info from today to work from and get the car ready for Wednesday.”


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#6087 - 06/06/23 04:38 PM Re: Last Race for Corvette C8.R at Le Mans [Re: teamzr1]  
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The team behind C8.R Corvette Racing announced today that they will be offering an alternative live stream broadcast for fans of Jake and the Yellow C8.R as it competes in the French Summer Classic this weekend.
The live stream will be available on a number of Pratt Miller Motorsports’ social channels, including Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook.

Pratt Miller Motorsports says the goal is to create “a captivating and enlightening alternative broadcast alongside the highly anticipated 100th running of the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans.” The live stream will combine live data from the Corvette C8.Rs timing stand in France with in-depth insights and analysis from the hosts.

“We are embarking on an exciting new chapter in our motorsport's division, and we strive to showcase innovation and creativity in every endeavor” says Brandon Widmer, Pratt Miller Motorsports VP. “We firmly believe that this alternative broadcast stream will be warmly embraced not only by the passionate Corvette Racing fan base but also by the younger generation of auto racing enthusiasts.”

We can also expect to see several distinguished guests who have been part of the Corvette Racing’s 25-year history on the live stream, as well as those who will be calling in live from the Circuit de las Sarthe for additional commentary from the race.

“We watch the sports media landscape pretty closely and believe the alternative sports broadcast trend is just getting started and we want to stay ahead of that curve. For our stream we will be able to provide data and information to the audience that cannot be found anywhere else in the world, and we want to share that experience with our fan base,” said Brad Zimmerman, Pratt Miller Motorsports Marketing & Partnership Director.

“That intimate team communication along with our lineup of guests during the race will hopefully create a viewing experience like no other. We like being first on the racetrack, and we also like being first off the track as well by creating value for our fans and partners alike using the power of our motorsports platform.”
The 24 Hours of Le Mans begins Saturday, June 10th at 10:00 AM ET.

You can find direct links to the Pratt Miller Motorsports live stream at the following address:

Live Stream


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#6089 - 06/07/23 10:47 AM Re: Last Race for Corvette C8.R at Le Mans [Re: teamzr1]  
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Corvette Racing is highly motivated to come out on top in what will likely be its final 24 Hours of Le Mans appearance as a team as it seeks a class victory in GTE-Am according to Nicky Catsburg.

The Pratt Miller-run stable is set for its last start in the French endurance classic as the GTE ruleset will be phased out next year in favor of LMGT3, which will prohibit factory teams.

Chevrolet will instead introduce the Corvette Z06 GT3.R, a customer-focused GT3 car that will see Corvette Racing establish a dedicated customer support program as opposed to racing with its own entry.

As a factory racing team, Corvette Racing secured eight class victories at Le Mans since its debut in 2000, most recently winning in 2015 with the Corvette C7.R.
Corvette Racing factory driver Nicky Catsburg admitted that the event feels like the end of an era for the American outfit.

“It kind of feels like that,” Catsburg told Sportscar365. “There might be Corvettes coming here next year, but it’s kind of not the same feeling.
“For me it’s also a shame to see GTE go. GT3 is nice, super cool, but we have ABS on GT3 cars which I don’t think we should have and Le Mans is so difficult for braking as well.

“So it’s a shame to see the GTE class go, but it’s cool to be part of it and cool to have done it for a few years now.
“I just hope we can have a excellent one for the last one in GTE.”
Additionally, this weekend’s event will also mark the last race for the Chevrolet Corvette C8.R at Le Mans.
The mid-engined racer debuted at Circuit de la Sarthe with a class podium in 2021.

The combined prospects of the final event for both car and team result in a huge motivation to claim a ninth Le Mans win according to Catsburg.
“We want to win it badly every year, but probably never as badly as this year,” he said. “But I want to just approach it as another race, a normal race.
“We need to stay out of trouble, we need to keep it clean and then see where we are in the end and then really start pushing for the win of course.

“I do still believe that we have a very good line-up in the GTE-Am class, and we have a very good team and a good car. You never really know where you are in terms of Balance of Performance until the race starts, but I do believe that we shouldn’t be too bad.
“The championship has done a great job so far with BoP.
Ferrari has been very fast all season, but somehow we managed to win some races and get some good points.”

Catsburg Learned to “Always Be on Your Tiptoes” From 2022 Crash
Corvette’s bid for GTE-Pro class honors at last year’s event ended in double retirement.
Its leading car was eliminated after contact with an LMP2 car with six hours to go.

Catsburg explained that he was able to take some lessons from Alexander Sims’ accident, noting that he will be extra careful in traffic situations.
“It’s massively random, but I feel like it keeps telling you to always be on your tiptoes,” he said.
“You have to always keep an eye out for who’s around you.
Should I really be taking this risk?
Should I try and avoid this?
Should I try and lift here?

“You cannot relax in a 24-hour race, even on the straights here. Last year it happened on the straights.
“Clearly that had nothing to do with Alex’s fault. He was a victim. But I do feel like this year I will be extra mindful of what’s going on around me.
“I feel like they were going for a win last year, and it was such a shame to see this happen. We will try everything that we can to avoid that.
“We do have a spotter this year, which we didn’t have last year. It’s maybe something that helps us with that.
Ben [Keating] is used to working with him.
“I’ve never had a spotter at Le Mans, so I can’t wait to see what that’s like.”


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#6090 - 06/07/23 10:51 AM Re: Last Race for Corvette C8.R at Le Mans [Re: teamzr1]  
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Practice

The practice session was brought to a premature end due to a crash for Corvette Racing’s Nico Varrone, which resulted in a red flag.

Varrone lost control of the No. 33 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R at Tertre Rouge and spun into the tire barriers with three minutes remaining, after which the session was not resumed.
It marked the second time running was halted, although the second red flag was considerably shorter than the first stoppage.

Qualify

Alessio Rovera left it late to set the quickest time in GTE-Am for Ferrari squad Richard Mille AF Corse.

The Italian steered the No. 83 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo edged ahead of fellow AF Corse driver Davide Rigon, and Nicky Catsburg in the No. 33 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R.

The Corvette was repaired in time for qualifying after an accident during Wednesday afternoon’s Free Practice session, with Catsburg only taking to the track after around 35 minutes of running.

Corvette was aided by two 10-minute red flag periods during the early stages of qualifying, during which the session clock was stopped.

Attached Files quallemans.jpg

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#6091 - 06/07/23 02:09 PM Re: Last Race for Corvette C8.R at Le Mans [Re: teamzr1]  
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Nico Varrone was driving the No.33 Corvette C8.R when he lost control of the car at Tertre Rouge Corner with just minutes left in the first practice session. The car spun around, and actually it’s the passenger side of the car that strikes the tire barrier. It was a pretty decent hit, and we were a bit nervous thinking the car had gone rear-first into the barrier based on its position afterward.

Following the incident, we see that Nico is able to drive off the tire barrier under his own power:



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#6095 - 06/08/23 12:37 PM Re: Last Race for Corvette C8.R at Le Mans [Re: teamzr1]  
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No. 33 Corvette C8.R makes top-eight for run at GTE Am pole position

LE MANS, France (June 7, 2023) Corvette Racing fought its way into the Hyperpole session ahead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a heroic effort to advance from Wednesday’s initial qualifying round in the GTE Am class.

Nicky Catsburg set the best time of 3:52.228 (131.233 mph) in the No. 33 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R that he shares with Nico Varrone and Ben Keating.
The laptime was 0.351 seconds off the quickest car in GTE Am the No. 83 Ferrari but well inside the top-eight that move on to Thursday’s 30-minute Hyperpole session to set the grid for Saturday’s race.

That Corvette Racing even made the session was astounding, as the crew repaired damage from a crash in the final hour of Wednesday’s opening practice session. All facets of the team went into repairing or replacing a number of right-side components including suspension pieces, brakes, front and rear fenders, door and rocker, plus the wing, rear fascia and deck lids, among other items.

Catsburg rewarded the team’s hard work with a time that put him P1 with a little more than 10 minutes left in the session and set off a loud cheer in the Corvette Racing garage.

Thursday’s Hyperpole session is scheduled for 8 p.m. CET / 2 p.m. ET with live coverage on MotorTrend Plus in the United States, and audio coverage via Radio Le Mans.

NICKY CATSBURG, NO. 33 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R THIRD IN GTE AM QUALIFYING:

“I was concerned if we would make it!
But if anyone could do it, it’s these guys. And they did it again! This wasn’t easy at all. We only barely made qualifying and got slightly lucky with the red flags.

I had to pit again because we had some issues still with the car and there was really no time to really check before we went out. Luckily, I got a lap in that was good enough to go P3, and we are in the top-eight; that was the goal. So now we can leave behind what happened in practice and just focused forward.
It was super, super nice and cool to see. It sounds weird now, but it was a nice boost actually for everyone. It’s a good feeling to know we have made it.”

----------------------------------------------------

LMGTE AM: POLE No.33 Corvette Racing

Ben Keating in No.33 points leading Corvette Racing entry takes LMGTE Am pole position and extends WEC points lead.

Corvette's 3rd pole at Le Mans in WEC, and second in GTE Am after Larbre in 2017.
Keating sets the best lap of 3m52.376s to head Ahmed Al Harthy in ORT by TF Sport by Aston Martin which takes second position on the grid.
Gap between them is 1.2s.

Thomas Flohr in the No.54 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo grabs third position on grid to ensure three different manufacturers in top three.
The rest of the LMGTE Am field lines up as – No.21 AF Corse (4th ), No.83 Richard Mille AF Corse (5th ), No.57 Kessel Racing (6th ), GMB Aston Martin (7th ), No.74 Kessel Racing (8th)

Attached Files hyperpole.jpg

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#6097 - 06/08/23 02:45 PM Re: Last Race for Corvette C8.R at Le Mans [Re: teamzr1]  
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A tow, tires and talent. Those all came together, Corvette Racing as Ben Keating put the No. 33 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R on the GTE Am pole position during Thursday’s Hyperpole session ahead of this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Keating – teaming in the Corvette with Nicky Catsburg and Nico Varrone posted a best lap of 3:52.376 (131.171 mph) to take Corvette Racing’s second straight pole position at Le Mans. The GTE Am championship-leading trio increased their point's advantage by one with the P1 finish.

The stellar work by the Corvette Racing team continued after Wednesday’s heroics that saw Catsburg get the C8.R into Hyperpole following a fast repair job by the crew after a crash at the end of the first practice. The storybook result kept going even on Keating’s first lap Thursday when he picked up a tow from another GTE car all the way down the Mulsanne Straight. He cleared his competitor going into Mulsanne Corner to take provisional pole after the opening flyer.

Keating improved his time slightly before a red flag halted the session with five minutes to go.
As the session went green again, Corvette Racing engineers decided to fit the C8.R with fresh, soft compound Michelin tires – the only team to do so during the stoppage.

Keating made the decision pay off with his best lap of the weekend and put Corvette Racing out front to start its biggest race of the season.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is scheduled for 4 p.m. CET / 10 a.m. ET on Saturday, June 10. MotorTrend and MotorTrend Plus will provide both live television and streaming coverage. Radio Le Mans will also stream audio coverage of the race.

BEN KEATING, NO. 33 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – GTE AM POLE-WINNER:

“I wanted to find a gap on my out-lap. I thought the GT cars were driving really slow for having hot tires. I was thinking that we have hot tires, it’s time to push. They were all going slow, and I was push, push, push.
So I had a big gap and I didn’t think I would ever catch the Ferrari ahead of me because he was so far up there.
But the LMP2 cars, when they got to the chicane, just stopped to get a window. So I was right on the Ferrari, and he gave me a perfect tow down every straight away. I passed him into Mulsanne, and he didn’t slow me down any.
It was incredible, and I thought that was as good as it gets, almost to the point that I was wondering why we were out there!

“I did a cool-down lap and the team told me that the 25 was 0.3 seconds behind. I thought then that I’d better get it in gear! I pushed really hard for another lap and had one in the bank because of no track limits. So I could push a little more, and the Corvette was set up so well that I didn’t have to worry about track limits. The car went exactly where I wanted it to go. I could push the car harder in every corner.

I got better in Porsche Curves and came over the line at 3:53.0. I didn’t think there was any way anyone was going to touch me.
But we came in for the red flag, and I didn’t understand the point of putting new tires on it because I didn’t think I could improve. But it makes sense now.

“The sun had gone down, and the tires really came into the window. The air was a little cooler, and we were at the bare minimum of fuel. So I got one out-lap and then one flyer. I got the peak of the tire, the peak of low fuel, the peak of the temperature, and I put a lap together. It was pretty magical, especially considering how close we were to not even making qualifying yesterday.

The team did an amazing job to get the car out where Nicky could do what we needed to get us into Hyperpole. So I’m incredibly excited and happy for the entire team. This is the best way I can think of to go into the race!”


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#6102 - 06/09/23 12:39 PM Re: Last Race for Corvette C8.R at Le Mans [Re: teamzr1]  
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Corvette serves Le Mans practice penalty, unaffected for race

GTE Am polesitter Corvette Racing's Le Mans 24 Hours race will not be affected by a penalty picked up during final practice for failing to slow under a yellow flag.
Keating had put the sole Chevrolet Corvette C8.R on pole by 1.5 seconds during the Hyperpole session on Thursday.

The car he shares with Nicky Catsburg and Nico Varrone is among the favorites to take the class spoils and currently leads the GTE Am World Endurance Championship standings.

However, in the nighttime session following the Hyperpole contest, Keating was deemed by stewards to have failed to slow sufficiently and was handed a stop/go penalty, which was served during the final minutes of the session.

The penalty therefore doesn't affect Corvette's hopes of ending its eight-year win drought at Le Mans in the final year of the GTE division featuring at La Sarthe.
It was not Keating's only penalty of the session, as he was also fined for speeding in the pitlane.

Prior to qualifying, Keating had spoken of how he was trying to repeat his success in the class last year, when he won as part of TF Sport's Aston Martin line-up.
"It would be incredible to win at Le Mans and hear the American national anthem as an American driver," he said, adding, "it would be incredible to win Le Mans in a car that I sell in the dealership in Texas".

Keating was not the only driver to be penalized for failing to slow down, and a five-minute stop/go was also handed out to the #66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari after Giacomo Petrobelli was ruled to have not respected a slow zone during the same FP4 session.

A car that does have a penalty hanging over it for the race is the #13 TDS-entered ORECA-Gibson 07 LMP2 machine after it was given a three-minute stop/go after Steven Thomas failed to slow sufficiently in the opening practice session on Wednesday, when Casper Stevenson's D'station Aston Martin was stranded in the middle of the track after spinning just before Tertre Rouge, and Thomas plowed into the stricken car.


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#6105 - 06/10/23 05:54 AM Re: Last Race for Corvette C8.R at Le Mans [Re: teamzr1]  
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#6106 - 06/10/23 07:56 AM Re: Last Race for Corvette C8.R at Le Mans [Re: teamzr1]  
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With only 1 and 1/2 hours into the race, the C8.R broke and had to go to the garage to replace the right-front damper
Came out two laps down :-(

Garage 56 Camaro has run faster laps than the C8.R


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#6107 - 06/10/23 06:05 PM Re: Last Race for Corvette C8.R at Le Mans [Re: teamzr1]  
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With 12 hours completed, the C8.R still has not raced back into the lead lap and is in 9th place :-(


Attached Files 12hours.jpg

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#6109 - 06/11/23 06:12 AM Re: Last Race for Corvette C8.R at Le Mans [Re: teamzr1]  
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C8.R Corvette Racing’s Nicky Catsburg, Nico Varrone and Ben Keating recovered from a two-lap deficit to win with being the only one on the lead lap of the final 24 Hours of Le Mans race for the outgoing GTE-Am class.

Catsburg brought the No. 33 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R to the checkered flag two minutes clear of Charlie Eastwood in the No. 25 ORT by TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GTE that was also driven by Michael Dinan and Ahmad Al Harthy.

Ben Barker, Riccardo Pera and Mike Wainwright finished third with the GR Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19 as teams from three different manufacturers ended up on the podium in the last Le Mans for GTE-Am, which is being replaced by LMGT3 next year.
Corvette prevailed after recovering from a two-lap deficit in the opening quarter of the race.

Catsburg started from pole position, but after two and a half hours, the Dutchman brought the factory-run Corvette back to its garage for a right-front damper replacement.
The lengthy service cost two laps, while an opportunity to regain one of those was squandered when the GTE-Am leader was released from the pits too early during a safety car period, preventing the Corvette from taking a wave-by according to the team.

The American squad only emerged as a candidate for the win shortly after dawn, following a recovery drive through the night.
With six hours to go, Iron Dames driver Rahel Frey led by around 30 seconds from Eastwood and Keating, with the top three cars pitting at different times to each other.
A strong stint from Varrone brought the Corvette into the lead during the 21st hour, followed by the No. 85 Iron Dames Porsche and the TF Sport Aston Martin.
Eastwood then overtook Frey into the Daytona Chicane with just under an hour and a half remaining to put last year’s winning team on the second step of the podium.

A slow final pit stop for Iron Dames contributed to Frey, Michelle Gatting and Sarah Bovy dropping to fourth, as Pera passed by into a three-second advantage that the Italian extended to five seconds by the end.
AF Corse’s No. 54 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo of Davide Rigon, Francesco Castellacci and Thomas Flohr completed the top five, around 90 seconds behind the Iron Dames.

More than half of the 21 cars that took part in GTE-Am retired from the race.
A notable casualty on Sunday was the No. 57 Kessel Racing Ferrari, which was a top-five contender until Daniel Serra spun into the Indianapolis tire barriers with just under four hours to go.

All four of Proton Competition’s Porsches were involved in accidents, including the No. 911 machine which went deepest into the race but crashed out in the hands of Michael Fassbender at Corvette on Sunday morning
Jonas Ried crashed Proton’s No. 88 car at Indianapolis, while the No. 77 had an early collision with an LMP2 car and was later retired.
JMW Motorsport’s Ferrari was an early leader in the mixed-condition opening phase, but a weather-induced trip into the gravel resulted in a loss of time before Louis Prette was involved in a multi-car crash that also took out the No. 7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid.

The No. 21 AF Corse Ferrari and the GMB Motorsport Aston Martin were eliminated in the second hour after an incident involving the No. 3 Cadillac V-Series.R under the Dunlop Bridge.
There was also a spin at Tertre Rouge for Iron Lynx driver Claudio Schiavoni, who veered into the innocent No. 16 Porsche of Ryan Hardwick, causing both cars to retire on the spot.
Despite getting one of its cars onto the podium, TF Sport saw its D’station Racing Aston Martin fail to finish after an electrical issue, while the No. 72 machine crashed at the Porsche Curves in the sixth hour.

NASCAR Garage 56 Finishes 39th Overall

The NASCAR Garage 56 project, which was not assigned to one of the three classes, reached the checkered flag in 39th overall out of 62 cars with its modified NASCAR Next Gen Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.
The Hendrick Motorsports machine driven by Jenson Button, Mike Rockenfeller and Jimmie Johnson got close to 25th position on Sunday morning but it lost substantial ground due to a brake change at around 11 a.m.

That was swiftly followed by a lengthy stop in the garage due to a drive line issue, ending any hopes of finishing within the GTE-Am pack.
Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Johnson completed the Camaro’s run that totaled 285 laps.




Attached Files finish.jpg33C8R.jpg

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#6110 - 06/11/23 06:46 AM Re: Last Race for Corvette C8.R at Le Mans [Re: teamzr1]  
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LMGTE AM: Winner – No.33 Corvette Racing

Corvette Racing take first ever LMGTE Am victory at Le Mans as Ben Keating, Nicolas Varrone and Nicky Catsburg toast a hard-earned win after difficult start to the race
The pole winning car struggled with a damper problem in the first portion of the race but came through to win and extend their large WEC points lead at the same time
Keating takes second consecutive Le Mans LMGTE Am win, while Varrone becomes only second Argentinian to taste victory at La Sarthe
The No.33 Corvette becomes the first GTE Am polesitter to even finish on the LM podium
ORT by TF Sport take runners-up position after late battle with the Iron Dames Porsche sees Charlie Eastwood make move on Rahel Frey’s Iron Dames Porsche 911 RSR-19 on the Mulsanne late on in race
Eastwood celebrates with teammates Ahmed Al Harthy and Michael Dinan
The final rung on the podium goes to the GR Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Mike Wainwright, Riccardo Pera and Ben Barker who go one better after finishing fourth in 2022
Iron Dames trio of Rahel Frey, Michelle Gatting and Sarah Bovy take fourth ahead of the No.54 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo of Thomas Flohr, Francesco Castellacci and Davide Rigon
Northwest AMR Aston Martin’s Ian James, Alex Riberas and Daniel Mancinelli complete the top six positions

INNOVATION

Hendrick Motorsports take popular finish with new generation Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 NASCAR after largely faultless display from Jenson Button, Jimmy Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller.
All-American project finishes 39th overall, the second-best Innovation category result


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#6112 - 06/11/23 12:25 PM Re: Last Race for Corvette C8.R at Le Mans [Re: teamzr1]  
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C8.R Corvette Racing has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans

Nicky Catsburg, Ben Keating and Nico Varrone drove the No. 33 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevy Corvette C8.R to the program’s ninth class victory at Le Mans & first for the mid-engine Corvette sports car.
The victorious trio won for the third time in the FIA World Endurance Championship this season and increased its points lead to xxx with three events and 91 remaining in the season.
“Corvette Racing has won Le Mans in class for the ninth time, and it is even more special during the centenary celebration of this race,” said Mark Stielow, Chevrolet Director, Motorsports Competition Engineering.

“The skill by the drivers, the strategic decisions by the engineers and the execution of the Corvette Racing pit crew all came together for this GTE Am victory in the final race at Le Mans for the Corvette C8.R. Congratulations to everyone at Corvette Racing!”

This weekend’s Le Mans marked the 23rd start of Corvette Racing’s successful run at Le Mans. Its last victory came in 2015 with the seventh-generation Corvette, although the mid-engine C8.R led each of the last two years.
The 2022 race was particularly cruel as the No. 64 Corvette was knocked out of the race with six hours to go.

Keating captured pole position Thursday, the second time this year the Corvette started a WEC race out front. Disaster struck not long after as the Corvette crew had to replace the right-front damper after Catsburg, who started the race, radioed in that something didn’t feel right.

The service in the garage was a quick change, but it still put the C8.R down two laps.
Class pole-winner Keating who got in the Corvette while the damper was still being fixed began to claw back time before heavy rain pelted parts of the circuit.

Keating survived the deluge, and Corvette race engineers called him to the pit lane for wet tires. The race’s second safety car period came out moments later, giving the team hope of gaining a lap back because of the C8.R would be ahead of the class leader in a train behind one of the three safety cars.

For reasons unknown to the team, a group of cars including the GTE Am leader were allowed to exit pit lane before the next of the three safety cars came around. The mistake meant that the Corvette was trapped behind the class leader and couldn’t advance around the track to catch back up after all the safety car queues moved.

Undeterred, Varrone drove a speedy triple stint that saw him make up more than a half-lap on the field with times between four and seven seconds quicker than the rest of GTE Am.

The heroics continued into the overnight session as Keating drove a triple-stint in the middle of darkness and kept hope going for a miraculous turnaround. It eventually came, albeit gradually through fast laps by all three drivers, quick decisions by the engineering team and fast pit stops by the Corvette Racing crew, which never had to bring the C8.R back in the garage, change brakes or do anything much beyond adding fuel and tires.

Daybreak saw the Corvette come alive as the gap came down to one lap, then two minutes, then less than 60 seconds as the drivers, crew and engineers worked their magic. Critically, the No. 33 C8.R gained a full pit-stop advantage over the other GTE Am contenders inside the final hours to give Corvette Racing a lead they didn’t relinquish the rest of the way.

Corvette Racing’s next event in the FIA WEC is the Six Hours of Monza where it won a year ago in GTE Pro on Sunday, July 9.

NICKY CATSBURG, NO. 33 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – GTE AM WINNER:

“This is the one race that I wanted. Now I have all the big ones, so this is super awesome. Even yesterday afternoon, I didn’t think this was possible. But somehow we made it back to the front. These two guys drove unbelievably fast and all of a sudden we were back in contention and won with a massive lead. It’s an unbelievable feeling.

“I could see we were very fast. The only really worry was that I didn’t use our Bronze yet. But whenever we put him in the car, he’s just as fast as anyone else. All of a sudden, there was no deficit anymore.”

(Taking the finish at Le Mans):

“This was awesome. I’ve never taken the finish here. I didn’t know it was so super-crazy on the in-lap, so that was nice.
That it’s the 100th anniversary makes it special. That it’s the last year of GTE makes it extra special.
That it’s the last year of the C8.R makes it extra special. I’m so happy for the whole team because I feel like we should have already won it in the years before. So it’s sweet for this to happen this year.”

BEN KEATING, NO. 33 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – GTE AM WINNER:

“You can look at all the stats about it being the last year of GTE, the Centenary of Le Mans, the 25tth season of Corvette Racing, an American driver racing an American car with an American team that even doesn’t do this justice.
After the first hour when we had to replace the right-front damper, I thought there was no chance. Even when I went to sleep at midnight angry because we didn’t get our lap back because race control messed up, I thought it was over, and I was so mad. To wake up, and I think we were running in P4 a few hours later, I was baffled. I didn’t understand how in the world we were there.

All of our strategy completely went out the window. We had everything lined up and planned exactly how we were going to do it. Nico got sick, and I didn’t plan on doing any driving, and I ended up driving from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. I didn’t plan on doing any driving in the rain, and I ended up having a stint in the rain. Everything got turned on its head. It turned out that it was exactly what we needed to get our laps back.

The way we won it is special. To feel like it was out of reach and then watch this team claw back and get victory out of defeat’s grasp was really special. It was really nice to feel like I was a part of that. It’s one of those deals where you can look at every member of the team on this win, and you know everyone contributed. That makes it special.”

NICO VARRONE, NO. 33 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R GTE AM WINNER:

“I have no words, even though it’s only just been an hour from the end. It’s just been incredible.
Our race basically started two laps down early, but the team was so fast in managing to repair it. We went back out and had great pace and a great car.
The Corvette Racing team, the engineers and strategy, my teammate's Nicky he’s a legend and did a lot of stints and was really quick Ben even though he’s a Bronze, he was flying all of GM and Chevrolet, my family and everyone there is a lot of people involved in this. It’s a dream come true.”

(On garage reception from the crew)
“They are amazing. The support I get from them is great. It’s like a family here. Every time I jump in the car or when I get out, they’re always there hugging me. Even on the pit stop, they are telling me that I’m doing great.
This is excellent for a racing driver and for your feelings. It’s great.”

(Did you think you’d be in this position after your first stint?) “I thought it was OK, and it’s a long race, and we would maybe have a chance
But it was really optimistic to think it would be like this. We are in this position and have to try to manage it and get to the end.”


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#6113 - 06/11/23 03:24 PM Re: Last Race for Corvette C8.R at Le Mans [Re: teamzr1]  
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The points leading No.33 Corvette Racing squad of Ben Keating, Nicolas Varrone and Nicky Catsburg took their third WEC victory of the season with a hard-earned win in the final LMGTE Am category race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The trio fought back from a difficult start which saw them fall to the rear of the field when they had to change a damper in the early stages.
Due to a combination of strong stints from all three drivers and some fortune with the new safety car procedure, the yellow Corvette became a factor in the challenge for class honors in the early morning period.

Varrone and Catsburg consolidated the position with epic triple stints, and they were able to pull a sizeable gap on their competitors by the late morning period.
The victory sealed Corvette's eighth WEC win and the first at Le Mans since they won the LMGTE PRO category in 2015.
They also became the first GTE Am pole sitter to finish on the LM GTE Am podium.

Keating celebrated his seventh in WEC, consecutive at Le Mans in what was Corvette's 11th class win in the 2000s, earning them level pegging with Ferrari.
Taking the runners-up position was the ORT by TF Sport trio of Charlie Eastwood, Ahmed Al Harthy and Michael Dinan as they fought past the Iron Dames Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Rahel Frey, Michelle Gatting and Sarah Bovy.

'The Dames' took fourth ahead of the No.54 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo of Thomas Flohr, Francesco Castellacci and Davide Rigon
The final rung on the podium goes to the GR Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Mike Wainwright, Riccardo Pera and Ben Barker who go one better after finishing fourth in 2022.

The new-look Northwest AMR Aston Martin squad of Ian James, Alex Riberas and Daniel Mancinelli completed the top six in the category.


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#6114 - 06/11/23 03:41 PM Re: Last Race for Corvette C8.R at Le Mans [Re: teamzr1]  
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C8.R Corvette Racing’s ninth Le Mans class victory came in fine style Sunday, the US-flagged factory team overcoming a two-lap deficit early in the race to take a commanding victory by the end of the 24 hours.

In the final GTE race at the Circuit de a Sarthe, it was somewhat fitting that Corvette Racing, a servant of the Le Mans 24 Hours’ GT categories since the turn of the century, would achieve a historic victory at the centenary event.

The story of Corvette’s win didn’t start on lap one. Instead, the opening chapter was penned when the mechanics put in a heroic effort to prepare the car for practice on Wednesday. A costly error from Nico Varonne in FP1 at Tertre Rouge left the car badly damaged and the team scrambling.
The job list was huge, with the crew fitting the car with new right side suspension, new right side brakes, a new floor, rear fascia, rear wing, deck lids, seat belts, right side front and rear fender, right side door (pause for deep breath) right side rocker, and more.

In a matter of hours, the car was ready to get out for qualifying, allowing Nicky Catsburg to sneak the car into Hyperpole, setting up Ben Keating for a performance for the ages on Thursday night, which saw him take class pole by over a second.
Had the team not moved so quickly to prep the car, it would have started at the very back. In the tricky mixed conditions in the opening hours, the outcome of this race could have been oh so different amid the chaos that ensued.

Come the start of the race, the team hit trouble early. In only the second hour, a damper failure saw the No. 33 pushed into the garage for a quick fix. Once again the crew moved fast, but it wasn’t possible to get out fast enough to stay on the lead lap. Instead, Keating climbed in and found himself two laps down, tasked with surviving the heavy rain that caused so many incidents in the Am class.

“We joked about going home,” Catsburg said. “Thankfully, the car was back to normal and felt good.”
Varonne to feel a win was out of the equation at that point, saying after taking the victory that he felt a win would be “impossible.”
“But somehow we came back like crazy with great strategy and timing,” he continued. “The decisions we made paid off. The car was mega.”

Initially, after Keating survived the race’s first deluge, the Corvette race engineers called him to the pit lane for wets. At that point, the crew thought it would gain back one of its laps as part of the new safety car procedure because of the C8.R would be ahead of the class leader in a train behind one of the three safety cars.

For reasons unknown to the team, a group of cars including the GTE Am leader were allowed to exit pit lane before the next of the three safety cars came around. The mistake meant that the Corvette was trapped behind the class leader and couldn’t advance to catch back up after all the safety car queues moved. The car stayed two laps down as the sun set over the circuit.

“It was super tricky in the wet,” Keating said when asked about the opening hours, when the track was wet in some places, dry in others.
“I cost us 20s in an escape road at one point, but I then watched a competitor in the same place hit a wall. So it was a good decision to be cautious!”
The challenge beyond that, with the night hours underway, was clearly two-fold: stay focused and out of trouble while so many other GTE Am cars saw their races end in the barriers, and chip away at the deficit.

“Over half the class retired, which was a big part of our fightback,” Keating explained when asked about the rate of attrition that saw over half the Am field retire during the race. “Some of our biggest (WEC) competitors didn’t make it; second, third, fourth place in the championship were all wrecked. I don’t know if I’ve had a race like this with this many retirements.”

Varonne, like Keating, had to brave the wet weather during the race’s second major downpour.
Catsburg felt the Argentinian’s performance on the wrong tires while the team waited for a safety car that never came was key in staying in the fight.
“One of the most significant moments in this race for us was Nico’s stint in the wet on slicks,” Catsburg said.
“Half of the field completely destroyed their cars, and it’s so difficult to stay calm and mistake-free.”

With brake discs glowing and fireworks overhead, the pace of the ‘Vette began to improve substantially as the track dried and Sunday arrived. Keating completed a triple stint before Varonne took over in the morning.

Varonne was simply masterful with the sun rising, setting the fastest GTE time of the entire event as part of a triple stint that saw him make up more than a half-lap on the field. It was the perfect response to his FP1 shunt and resulted in a welcome reception in the garage after his final stint before Catsburg took the wheel for the finish.

“I felt like I was in the right moment, at the right time on track,” Varonne said. “The car was better through the high-speed corners and in the last sector when the track warmed up. I had clean laps and managed to do the fast lap. I am really happy because after Wednesday my confidence was down.
Furthermore, I was so angry with myself. So gaining that confidence back, setting the fastest lap, was so satisfying.”

All of a sudden, by the end of the seventeenth hour with the crowd beginning to build trackside for the end of the race, the Corvette team was back on the lead lap. The progress made before Catsburg’s final stint was enormous. In the final run to the flag, Catsburg simply had to manage the gap as he continued to pull away as other competitors in the top five, including Bronze-rated drivers in the field, burned the last of their drive time with the race coming to a close.

The Dutchman would cross the line far ahead of the chasing ORT by TF Sport Aston Martin. GR Racing and Iron Dames Porsche were more focused on securing podium places than catching the C8.R by that point.
The team’s achievement caused an eruption in the garage.
A ninth-class win, at the centenary event, and finally a victory for the C8.R in France in its final attempt.

“I’ve never taken the finish here,” Catsburg said. “I didn’t know it was so super-crazy on the in-lap, so that was nice. That it’s the 100th anniversary makes it special. That it’s the last year of GTE makes it extra special.
That it’s the last year of the C8.R makes it extra special. I’m so happy for the whole team because I feel like we should have already won it in the years before. So it’s sweet for this to happen this year.”

Looking ahead, the result at Le Mans has greatly increased the crew’s chances of wrapping up the class title in the WEC early.
With three wins in four races this season, including double points secured at Le Mans, Catsburg, Varrone and Keating can crown themselves champions at Monza next month, before the WEC heads to Fuji and Bahrain for the final two races.


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#6115 - 06/12/23 06:21 PM Re: Last Race for Corvette C8.R at Le Mans [Re: teamzr1]  
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teamzr1  Offline
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Before this year’s 100th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Corvette Racing made no secret just how badly the team wanted to win its final GTE race there.
Not surprisingly, accomplishing that feat wasn’t easy and took a dedicated effort from the entire team to pull it off.
The three C8.R drivers, Nicky Catsburg, Nico Varrone, and Ben Keating explain in their own words just how Corvette Racing was able to overcome tremendous odds both before and during the legendary endurance race to rally for the title Sunday.

First, the crew had only hours to repair serious damage to the car sustained Wednesday when Nico Varrone lost control at Tertre Rouge Corner with only minutes left in the first practice session.
With time ticking, the crew went to work and installed several new parts, including right side suspension, right side brakes, floor, fascia, rear wing, decklids, seat belts, right side front and rear fender, ride side door, right side rocker, and more.

Their hard work allowed Nicky Catsburg and Ben Keating to take class pole by more than a second Thursday night and avoid having to start at the very back of the pack a scenario that would likely have prevented Corvette from winning the race.

But the trouble was far from over for the Corvette Racing team. Two hours In, the car had to come back to the garage for a quick fix of a failed damper.
While the crew worked fast, it still wasn’t enough to keep the car from having fallen two laps behind once the repairs were done.
At that point, even the team wasn’t optimistic about their chances of winning.
“We joked about going home,” Catsburg said. “Thankfully, the car was back to normal and felt good.”

Varrone also thought it was “impossible” to rally from such a deficit, “but somehow we came back like crazy with great strategy and timing,” he said.
“The decisions we made paid off. The car was mega.”
The strategy included being cautious in the wet conditions, with Keating explaining that more than half the class would eventually retire from the race, “which was a big part of our fightback.”
“Some of our biggest (WEC) competitors didn’t make it; second, third, fourth place in the championship were all wrecked,” Keating said. “I don’t know if I’ve had a race like this with this many retirements.”

After Keating’s triple stint during the night, Varrone started the “day shift” with a triple stint of his own, including putting up the best GTE time of the event to make up more than half a lap on the field.
“I felt like I was in the right moment, at the right time on track,” Varrone said. “The car was better through the high-speed corners and in the last sector when the track warmed up. I had clean laps and managed to do the fast lap.
I am really happy because after Wednesday my confidence was down. I was so angry with myself. So gaining that confidence back, setting the fastest lap, was so satisfying.”

Also satisfying was Corvette’s return to the lead by the end of the 17th hour, and Catsburg was even able to continue to pull away during the closing moments.
“I’ve never taken the finish here,” Catsburg said. “I didn’t know it was so super-crazy on the in-lap, so that was nice.
That it’s the 100th anniversary makes it special. That it’s the last year of GTE makes it extra special.

That it’s the last year of the C8.R makes it extra special. I’m so happy for the whole team because I feel like we should have already won it in the years before.
So it’s sweet for this to happen this year.”

The win at Le Mans was Corvette Racing’s third in four tries this season, and another victory at Monza next month could cement the class title in the WEC, even before the final two races at Fuji and Bahrain.


Team ZR-1
True Custom Performance Tuning
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