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Published: 1/11/2023

Corvette Racing vs.The Globe. Round 2.

Author: THE BLOCK

Photos: THE BLOCK AND CHEVROLET

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For the 2023 campaign, Corvette Racing looks to reassert its dominance in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship while continuing to be a force on the global stage.

 

Corvette Racing will continue to compete both in North America and around the world in 2023.

 

This season, which marks the 25th for the organization, the No. 3 Corvette C8.R will return for the second year of GTD PRO in IMSA, while the team will also once again run a car full-time in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). However, it will do so with the No. 33 C8.R in WEC's GTE AM class after GTE Pro was discontinued at the end of 2022.

What's more, throughout the year Corvette Racing will conduct extensive on-track and Driver-in-the-Loop simulator testing on the Z06 GT3.R race car before its introduction to pro and amateur teams for the 2024 season. 

"We learned a great deal this year about running dual programs in both IMSA and the FIA WEC – all of which will benefit the Corvette brand going forward," said Laura Wontrop Klauser, GM Sports Car Racing Program Manager. "In IMSA, we will return to GTD PRO against a very competitive group of manufacturers while laying the groundwork for the Corvette Z06 GT3.R. Similarly, Corvette Racing's FIA WEC program allows us the opportunity to continue growing the global presence of Corvette in a world championship."

 

Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia will again challenge for the GTD PRO title in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship during the 2023 campaign.

 

Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia have scored two IMSA championships in the last three years and will return to pilot the famed No. 3 Corvette in the IMSA ranks for the full season. In 2022, the No. 3 gave Corvette Racing its 12th win in the iconic Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, and Taylor and Garcia stood on the podium a total of five times en route to a third-place finish in the final standings.

 While the season would be considered a rousing success for the majority of teams, Corvette Racing is focused on getting back on top this year for Chevrolet and Team Chevy.

GTD PRO was new for 2022 and throughout the season Corvette worked to make the C8.R fit into the GT3 rules that make up the class.

"We definitely want to be back stronger at Daytona than how we left Petit Le Mans," Taylor said. "We had some decent races – winning Sebring in a Corvette was unreal – but I think we all were frustrated with how things went as a whole. We have an opportunity to improve on some things that we can control, which is what this team is so good at doing."

 

After scoring a win and three WEC podiums in 2022, Tommy Milner returns to North America this year for endurance races and to test and develop the Corvette Z06 GT3.R.

 

For the endurance races, Taylor (a four-time IMSA champion) and Garcia (who has won five titles in the series) will be joined by two-time IMSA champion Tommy Milner. Milner is a longtime member of the Corvette Racing program, and for 2022 he teamed up with Nick Tandy for the full WEC campaign. 

This year, Milner's focus has shifted back to North America where much of his attention will turn to the development of the Corvette Z06 GT3.R.

"I've not driven a lot in my career with Jordan or Antonio," Milner said "But when I have, we've had success, I'm always excited to drive with those two guys. They're obviously great drivers and great teammates, and they have been for a long time. I've raced against them quite a bit in my time so it'll be fun to be teammates with them for a change.

"The process of developing the Corvette Z06 GT3.R will be an interesting one. I did quite a bit of this with the C7.R and C8.R. It's different from racing of course, but it can be a rewarding process in its own right. This year was fun because it was something totally different and that's a good thing to do different things every now and then. It's an honor to be a part of this racing team and program."

Milner will be the primary testing and development driver for the Z06 GT3.R, which will share the same aluminum chassis and similar aerodynamic features as the roadgoing Corvette Z06. The mid-engine race car will be powered by a 5.5L DOHC LT6.R V-8 engine, utilizing the same flat-plane crankshaft architecture found in both the Corvette C8.R and the production Z06 version.

 

Corvette Racing will transition to the GTE Am class this year in FIA WEC competition.

Last year in WEC, Milner teamed up with Tandy to drive the No. 64 Corvette C8.R to victory in the 6 Hours of Monza in July. The pair also turned in runner-up finishes at the season-opening 1000 Miles of Sebring and the season-ending 8 Hours of Bahrain.

For 2023, new faces will pilot the car for the full-seven race global WEC schedule in the GTE Am class after the FIA dropped GTE Pro. This year's drivers are Nicky Catsburg, Ben Keating and Nico Varrone.

The rules for the class require at least a Bronze-level driver, while a single-professional driver is allowed along with a second Bronze or Silver-rated driver.

The pro Catsburg will contest his first full season for Corvette Racing after having competed in endurance races with the team since 2020. Keating meanwhile is a long-term fixture in sports car paddocks and is one of the world's most pre-eminent privateer competitors with a variety of prestigious wins to his credit. Varrone has also recently won races in the both the European Le Mans Series and the 24H Series.

"It's been my goal from the get-go when I joined the team to be a full-time Corvette Racing driver," said Catsburg, who won with Corvette at Daytona in 2021 and Sebring in 2022. "It's super cool to do races like Daytona, Sebring, Le Mans and Petit Le Mans. But I knew that I always wanted to do something full-time with the team. I'm super happy and proud that it's happening and that I can call myself a full-time Corvette driver. It's super nice. It's a dream come true and I can't wait to get this going."

Corvette Racing is set to contend for multiple race wins and championships throughout the season.

 

The IMSA calendar gets underway with the Rolex 24 At Daytona on January 28-29, while the 1000 Miles of Sebring kicks off the WEC schedule on March 17.

Throughout its silver anniversary season, Corvette Racing is poised to be on podiums around the world.

Be sure to keep watching The BLOCK for much more on Chevrolet Performance and all motorsports disciplines.

 

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