Team counts itself ready for 18th consecutive appearance in French endurance classic
DETROIT (June 12, 2017) – Corvette Racing is ready to put a year’s worth of preparation to the test this week when it goes for a ninth class victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The annual French endurance classic – this year’s running is the 86th edition – gets the green flag at 3 p.m. French time (9 a.m. ET) on Saturday with Corvette Racing sending six drivers and its two Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs into battle against the world’s best.
Corvette Racing has a Le Mans pedigree that no team in the paddock can match. This will mark the 18th consecutive appearance at the 24 Hours – the most of any active entrant. Even more remarkable is the American makeup of the program: 18 straight years with an American team running an American car from an American manufacturer. No GT team can match the team’s collection of victories, the most recent coming in 2015.
Oliver Gavin was the quickest driver in the GTE Pro class during the annual Le Mans Test Day on June 4. Driving the No. 64 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette C7.R with Tommy Milner and Marcel Fässler, Gavin led an incredibly close fight with only 0.684 seconds between the top seven cars in class. Among them was the No. 63 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette C7.R of Antonio Garcia, who was fourth-fastest in class. He will drive this week with Jan Magnussen and Jordan Taylor.
The six drivers have combined for 18 Le Mans victories.
While there may be uncertainty over what the ultimate race pace will be in GTE Pro, Corvette Racing has spent the last 12 months identifying ways to improve it strategy and execution both in the pit lane and on the engineering stand. Those efforts have proven critical, as evidenced by three consecutive victories in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the Manufacturer’s, Driver’s and Team championship leads in the GT Le Mans class.
The 85th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours is set for 3 p.m. CET/9 a.m. ET on Saturday, June 17. Practice and qualifying sessions are scheduled for June 14-15. Live television and streaming video will be available between FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2 and FOX Sports GO. Live audio coverage of practice, qualifying and the race will be available from Radio Le Mans, which also will broadcast on Sirius Channel 138 and XM Channel 201.
Chevrolet Corvette Racing Le Mans 24 Hours Notes:
Corvette Racing has 105 all-time victories and has won Le Mans eight times:
- 2001: Fellows/O’Connell/Pruett – GTS
- 2002: Fellows/O’Connell/Gavin – GTS
- 2004: Beretta/Gavin/Magnussen – GTS
- 2005: Beretta/Gavin/Magnussen – GT1
- 2006: Beretta/Gavin/Magnussen – GT1
- 2009: O’Connell/Magnussen/Garcia – GT1
- 2011: Beretta/Milner/Garcia – GTE Pro
- 2015: Gavin/Milner/Taylor – GTE Pro
Corvette Racing Drivers at Le Mans have 18 Combined Victories:
- Antonio Garcia – Three class wins
- Jan Magnussen – Four class wins
- Jordan Taylor – One class win
- Oliver Gavin – Five class wins
- Tommy Milner – Two class wins
- Marcel Fässler – Three class wins
Other significant accomplishments:
- Eleven manufacturer and team championships, plus 10 driver titles
- Three wins in the Rolex 24 including an overall victory in 2001
- Eleven class wins at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring
- Each of Corvette Racing’s 105 victories have been powered by the Chevrolet Small Block V8
- Each win has come with Mobil 1 lubricants, which is the factory fill on the Corvette Z06
Eighteen different drivers have won events for Corvette Racing. Winningest drivers include Oliver Gavin (49 wins), Johnny O’Connell (41), Jan Magnussen (34), Olivier Beretta (31) and Ron Fellows (30). Antonio Garcia (15) and Tommy Milner (12) also rank among program leaders.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 63 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“The further away you get from your last win at Le Mans, the more you want to win it again. It seems like a long time ago since my last win in 2011. Since those years, we had quite a few opportunities to win it; in 2014 we had a very good chance and finished second. Our main focus is to be up there and have a chance at the end. There is a lot that goes into it. We have to readapt ourselves to the way Le Mans works with safety cars, the rules… we know what we have to do to be able to fight from Lap One. We will give 100 percent and see if that’s enough to win the race.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 63 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“Le Mans such a tough race and so much preparation goes into this race. When you go there, have a good race and come away with a win, the satisfaction is massive and indescribable. It’s one of the best feelings you can ever have in your career. Winning there is an amazing feeling.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 63 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“I started my Corvette Racing career in the No. 63 Corvette, so this is kind of like going back home where I spent four of my six years with them. I feel like we have unfinished business together. We’ve finished second together at Sebring, Petit Le Mans and at Le Mans – especially since that’s the biggest race of the year.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 64 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“Since my first time at Le Mans, the race has become bigger and bigger every year. It’s full of emotions, ups and downs… It’s one that everyone ends up giving so much to win it. The passion is exceptionally high there for everyone – the drivers, the teams, the officials… anyone who is involved. The racing is so close and so intense. It is a full-on 24-hour sprint race. If you make a mistake – no matter what it is – you are punished for it. And it’s so hard to make that time up. There is NO room for error.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 64 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“There’s no doubt that if you don’t win Le Mans, the desire to win the next year gets even stronger. You kind of mentally ramp up for the race in the weeks before; you replay Le Mans in your head from the year before and from years past. That’s something I’ve done though my career… analyze what I’ve done and isolate the areas where I’ve not been strong and work on those for the next year. You don’t want to repeat mistakes if you’re in contention Sunday for a win. Your successes give you confidence in the following years, and any failures give you that extra drive at the same time.”
MARCEL FÄSSLER, NO. 64 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“I have to say that it will be a very, very tough race with a lot of intensity fighting against the other manufacturers. If it is anything like Daytona and Sebring, it will be a very hard fight. There will be 10 cars that can fight for winning at Le Mans in GTE Pro. It will not be an easy thing. Everyone will be prepared.”
DOUG FEHAN, CORVETTE RACING PROGRAM MANAGER:
“We are quietly going about our business in preparation for our 18th Le Mans 24 Hours. It’s no secret how much importance we place on Le Mans each year. Every lap and every minute in preparation is done with an eye toward giving Corvette Racing the best possible chance for another win at Le Mans. There is nothing like seeing our drivers on the top of the podium, watching the American flag go up and hearing our National Anthem play when we achieve our goals at Le Mans.”