DETROIT – 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 June 12-13. 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 team’s return to Le Mans was confirmed last week when ACO officials revealed the 24 Hours of Le Mans entry list.
Corvette Racing is steeped in Le Mans lore with eight class victories since its first start there in 2000. The last victory came in 2015.
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.
To help in preparation for the race, Corvette Racing will enter a single C8.R in the season-opening WEC round: the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. 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.
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 plans to continue racing in future years at Le Mans and in select WEC rounds.