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Published 12/7/23

2023: Another Championship Season for Team Chevy

WORDS: THE BLOCK

PHOTOS: THE BLOCK and CHEVROLET

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Team Chevy once again put its stamp on the motorsports world throughout the 2023 season. From the professional ranks to the grassroots, the Bowtie reached Victory Lane an untold number of times at tracks around the globe. Wins in the Daytona 500, Indianapolis 500 and 24 Hours of Le Mans were among the many highlights.

Here, we’ll take a quick look at the season that was in multiple motorsports disciplines.

Corvette Racing found success in both IMSA and FIA WEC throughout the 2023 campaign.

Corvette Racing

A year of change was in front of Corvette Racing and the entire sports car world when the season kicked off with the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January. The No. 3 Corvette C8.R GTD entered its final year of competition, piloted throughout the season by Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD PRO class, with Tommy Milner joining for endurance races. The famed yellow No. 3 car scored a pair of victories at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and VIRginia International Raceway, leading to a third-place finish in the class standings.

Heading into the 2024 campaign, the Corvette Z06 GT3.R will replace the C8.R in IMSA’s GT3-based GTD classes as the full-factory Corvette Racing team ends its run after 25 seasons. Next year, the factory-backed Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports will field a pair of entries in GTD PRO while customer team AWA will compete with two cars in the GTD class.

On the global stage, Corvette Racing also entered its second consecutive and final full season of FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) competition in the GTE Am ranks. The 2023 campaign represented the final one for GTE cars, as WEC is set to move to GT3-spec machinery for the coming season.

Ben Keating, Nico Varrone and Nicky Catsburg piloted the No. 33 Corvette C8.R for the full seven-race calendar with dominant results. The trio won the season’s first two events at Sebring and Portimao and finished as runner-up in the third at Spa-Francorchamps. They then scored the class victory in the historic 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, the ninth victory for the team in the French classic at Circuit de la Sarthe.

In July, Corvette Racing wrapped up the GTE Am championship in the 6 Hours of Monza with two events remaining. Overall, the program claimed three victories and five top-two finishes in seven races during the 2023 WEC season.

The factory Corvette team wrapped up its run with 127 victories worldwide in 284 starts along with 14 Manufacturer championships.

Team Chevy’s William Byron led the NASCAR Cup Series this year with six victories.

NASCAR

Chevrolet entered the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season as the winningest manufacturer in NASCAR’s premier series, and the Bowtie Brand significantly added to that lead over the year.

The season kicked off in grand fashion when Ricky Stenhouse Jr. drove his JTG Daugherty Racing No. 47 Camaro ZL1 to the Daytona 500 victory. It was Chevrolet’s 25th victory in “The Great American Race” as NASCAR kicked off its 75th anniversary season. Team Chevy drivers went on to win the year’s first four races and the Camaro ZL1 found Victory Lane 18 times in 2023, winning exactly half the points-paying events. The feat was accomplished by seven drivers representing five organizations: JTG Daugherty Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, Trackhouse Racing and Kaulig Racing.

Stenhouse, Kyle Larson, William Byron, Kyle Busch and Ross Chastain represented Chevrolet in the NASCAR Playoffs, with Hendrick teammates Larson and Byron advancing to the Championship Four at Phoenix Raceway. Larson turned in a runner-up finish in the final standings with Byron taking third in points. Byron also led all drivers this season with six victories. Chevrolet now owns 851 premier series triumphs overall.

Chevrolet’s 2023 success also brought the brand its 42nd NASCAR Cup Series Manufacturer Championship. In addition, Chevrolet won its 25th Bill France Performance Cup in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and its 11th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Manufacturer Championship. The Bowtie has now swept all three manufacturer titles on five occasions, having previously done so in 1996, 1998, 2005 and 2012. Chevrolet won 17 of 33 Xfinity races in 2023 and 14 of 23 Craftsman Truck Series events.

JR Motorsports drivers Justin Allgaier and Sam Mayer represented Chevrolet in their Camaro SS rides in the Xfinity Series Championship Four, while GMS Racing’s Grant Enfinger and Niece Motorsports’ Carson Hocevar put the Chevrolet Silverado RST in the final four of the Craftsman Truck Series. Allgaier and Enfinger each drove to runner-up points finishes.

Erica Enders drove her Camaro SS to her sixth Pro Stock championship this year.

NHRA

Chevrolet continued its impressive run of success on the drag strip throughout the 2023 season, culminating in a historic sixth championship for Erica Enders in the NHRA Pro Stock ranks. Enders drove her Elite Motorsports Camaro SS to four wins during the year but didn’t pick up her first of the season until taking the Wally at Bristol Dragway in June. She won again at Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka in August, but for much of the year, her sixth title looked unattainable.

However, Enders came on strong in the Countdown to the Championship and scored back-to-back victories at Texas Motorplex and The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to put the championship essentially out of reach for her competitors.

Enders’ title was her second in a row and fourth in the last six seasons. She has now won 47 Pro Stock events in her illustrious career, and throughout 2023, Chevrolet won 17 races on the 18-race Pro Stock schedule.

Robert Hight finished as runner-up in Funny Car behind the wheel of his Camaro SS.

In the nitro categories, Chevrolet-backed John Force Racing (JFR) also turned in a successful season, led by Robert Hight in his Camaro SS Funny Car. Hight grabbed four Wallys (Phoenix, Charlotte 1, Reading and Las Vegas) during the 2023 campaign and came up just 12 markers shy of scoring his fourth championship.

Meanwhile, team owner and 16-time champion John Force failed to win a race for just the second time when he has competed in a full season since 1987. However, he still finished seventh in the standings.

On the Top Fuel side of JFR, Austin Prock drove to one victory at zMAX Dragway near Charlotte in his Chevrolet dragster, ultimately claiming an eighth-place points result. Brittany Force, the two-time and defending Top Fuel champion, was unable to reach the Winner’s Circle in her Chevrolet JFR Top Fueler, but still came home seventh in the point standings.

In the Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown, COPO Camaro driver Aaron Stanfield drove to his third championship in the class pitting supercharged Big Three factory muscle head to head. Stanfield grabbed two victories in the 10-race season, which saw Chevrolet’s COPO drivers visit the Winner’s Circle eight times.

Chevrolet also found itself at the top of the Sportsman ranks this season, as Dave Rizzoli won the Stock Eliminator championship in a 1969 Camaro and Wyatt Wagner took the Super Stock title in a ’68 Camaro.

Chevrolet’s 2023 success in Funny Car, Pro Stock and Factory Stock Showdown, along with its achievements in Super Stock and Stock Eliminator, helped the brand to its record-extending 28th Manufacturers Cup since 1966. Chevrolet won the award for the seventh consecutive time this season and for the ninth time in the past 11 years.

Chevrolet driver Josef Newgarden grabbed victory in the 2023 Indy 500.

NTT INDYCAR SERIES

The 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season saw Chevrolet dominate on the oval portion of the schedule – taking four of five oval wins, including the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden drove to the Indy 500 victory to give the Bowtie Brand its fifth victory in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing'' in the V-6 era, as well as its 12th overall on the historic Brickyard oval. Newgarden also scored victories at Texas Motor Speedway and swept the doubleheader weekend at Iowa Speedway to score four wins on the season en route to a fifth-place finish in the point standings.

Penske driver Scott Mclaughlin grabbed a victory at Barber Motorsports Park and came home third in the point standings, while Pato O’Ward put his Arrow McLaren Chevrolet fourth in the driver championship despite not winning a race.

Team Chevy’s five victories on the season and consistency throughout the campaign helped the brand to its eighth manufacturer championship since returning to the Indy car ranks as an engine supplier in 2012. Since that time, the 2.2-liter direct-injected, twin-turbo V-6 Chevy engine has propelled Team Chevy drivers to 111 wins in 199 races.

Mike Hopkins is one of many racers who rely on Chevrolet Performance circle track crate engines.* The Maine driver utilizes a CT400 in his Pro Late Model.

Grassroots

On dozens of both dirt and oval tracks, Chevrolet Performance’s three sealed circle track crate engine* options also helped racers to track and series titles. The CT350, CT400 and CT525 offer a variety of performance levels for racers depending on class and budget, but all are built utilizing lessons and technology derived from the professional ranks.

Similarly, the DR525 is a sealed crate engine for the drag strip. Among its most prevalent use is in the Chevrolet Performance Stock category within NMCA, where Kevin Lumsden drove his 1969 Camaro to the series championship.

It’s come to be expected by now, but in 2023, Bowtie power simply dominated across all forms of racing.

Be sure to keep watching The BLOCK for more coverage of all motorsports disciplines.

*Because of their effect on a vehicle’s emissions performance, these engines are intended exclusively for use in competition vehicles. These engines are designed and intended for use in vehicles operated exclusively for competition: in racing or organized competition on courses separate from public roads, streets or highways. Installation or use of these engines on a vehicle operated on public roads, streets or highways is likely to violate U.S., Canadian, and state and provincial laws and regulations related to motor vehicle emissions.

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