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Published: 6/12/2023

Corvette Racing Wins 24 Hours of Le Mans

Author: THE BLOCK

Photos: CHEVROLET

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In the centenary edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Team Chevy drivers Nicky Catsburg, Nico Varrone and Ben Keating gave Corvette Racing its ninth class win in the ultra-prestigious race.

 

Corvette Racing on track during the 2023 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The trio turned in a masterful, comeback performance in the No. 33 Corvette C8.R to take the victory in GTE Am on the 8.5-mile Circuit de la Sarthe in northwest France. The triumph was the first for the mid-engine C8.R in its last start at the race, as the Corvette Z06 GT3.R is set to compete at Le Mans and in all FIA World Endurance Championship races next 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!"

The Corvette Racing No. 33 team celebrates their GTE Am class win on the podum.

American driver Ben Keating put the No. 33 car on the class pole for the team's 23rd Le Mans start. However, soon after the race began, Dutch driver Nicky Catsburg (who started the race) reported there was an issue and the Corvette team had to replace the right-front damper, putting them two laps down.

Keating got into the car during the repairs and survived the attrition as heavy rain began to fall when he got back on track.

The No. 33 Corvette C8.R slices through the night at Circuit de la Sarthe.

Throughout the ensuing overnight hours and into daybreak, the Argentinian Varrone, Keating and Catsburg turned in fast laps, while quick pit stops by the crew and proper engineering decisions allowed the team to fight back and regain the laps lost. 

Ultimately, a strategy call allowed the No. 33 car to gain a full pit stop advantage over its GTE Am competitors in the final hours. That allowed the Corvette to take the lead and it stayed there the rest of the way, with Catsburg crossing under the checkered flag to score the win in the team's 25th anniversary season. It was Corvette Racing's first Le Mans triumph since 2015.

The victory was a momentous occasion not just because it was Le Mans, but because of the adversity the team overcame throughout the 24 hours.

Quick stops by the Corvette Racing crew aided in the team's come-from-behind win.

"The way we won it is special," Keating said. "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."

The No. 33 car has now also won three of the first four FIA WEC events in 2023 and increased its points lead with three races remaining.

The mantra of Corvette Racing is "never give up," and in the biggest sports car race in the world, every member of the team did just that.

The Garage 56 NASCAR entry also turned heads at Le Mans.

 

In addition, the Le Mans Garage 56 NASCAR entry prepared by Chevrolet and Hendrick Motorsports turned in an impressive showing and finished 39th out of 62 cars entered with drivers Jimmie Johnson, Jenson Button and Mike Rockenfeller.

Be sure to keep watching The BLOCK for more on Corvette, Chevrolet Performance and all forms of motorsports.