When Corvette Racing began their factory-backed effort in 1999, few if any truly expected the kind of dominating success that the racing team would come to embody. Looking back on 15 years of racing, the team has raced three different of generations of Corvettes from the C5-R to the C7.R. Along the way they earned the most all-time victories and 1-2 finishes in American Le Mans Series history including an ALMS-best 10 team championships, 10 manufacturer championships and seven class wins at the 24 hours of Le Mans.
But how well do you know Corvette Racing? This week IMSA put out these Five Things You Didn’t Know About Corvette Racing and there were a few items on the list that even the most diehard fan might not be aware of.
Check out this list of notable drivers and events that have occurred over the last 15 years:
- In the beginning – The first event for Corvette Racing was the 1999 Rolex 24 At Daytona. Ron Fellows, Chris Kneifel and John Paul Jr. were second in the GT2 class driving the No. 2 Corvette C5-R. The trio completed 600 miles and 2,136 miles.
- Great Scotts – Two Scotts who currently compete in the TUDOR Championship were once a part of Corvette Racing’s lineup in the early years. Scott Sharp drove three races in 1999 along with Andy Pilgrim and John Heinricy. Scott Pruett drove twice in 2001 with Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell, including the team’s first victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2001. The team’s 26-driver all-time roster also includes a pair of Dales – Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished on the podium for Corvette Racing at the 2001 Rolex 24.
- From display area to victory podium – Corvette Racing pulled out all the stops en route to scoring a 1-2 finish at the 2004 24 Hours of Le Mans. The team even pressed its showcar into service, raiding the C5-R on display for parts of its bodywork and a few tie rods. Olivier Beretta, Oliver Gavin and Jan Magnussen went on to win with their “modified” Corvette.
- Circling the globe – Corvette Racing has logged nearly 210,000 racing miles and more than 58,000 racing laps over the past 16 seasons – winning 94 races in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón, GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. That’s the equivalent of racing more than eight laps around the equator.
- Who’s the leading winner? – Oliver Gavin is the winningest driver in team history with 44 victories for Corvette Racing. Johnny O’Connell is second with 40 wins.
So there you have it. The good news is that Corvette Racing shows no signs of slowing down as the team won four straight races in the new C7.R in 2014 during the inaugural year of the TUDOR United Sports Car Championship and nearly claimed their 11th team and manufacturer titles.