Pair of Corvettes set for eight hours of running at famed Circuit de la Sarthe
DETROIT (May 28, 2019) – Corvette Racing is back across the Atlantic once again for a landmark appearance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans – its 20th consecutive appearance at the historic French endurance race.
Sunday’s annual Le Mans Test Day serves as a final dress rehearsal for the twice-around-the-clock race on June 15-16. It is the only time that Corvette Racing – and the rest of the 62-car field – can turn laps around the 8.48-mile Circuit de la Sarthe, a mixture of permanent race track and public roads.
This is a landmark year at Le Mans for Corvette Racing. No team is on record as having made more than 20 consecutive appearances, and the program has won eight times in 19 tries. What’s more, Corvette Racing’s Le Mans record also includes eight runner-up class finishes and nearly 100,00 racing miles completed.
That’s in addition to tens of thousands more miles in Le Mans testing and practice over the years on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, the preparation for a ninth victory has been a year-long process starting shortly after last year’s Le Mans with Corvette Racing’s pair of Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs. The most recent testing took place at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin over two days earlier this month plus sessions at the Chevrolet Simulator near Charlotte, North Carolina.
Corvette Racing’s lineup is a carbon-copy of last year’s Le Mans roster and this season’s endurance group. Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller will drive the No. 63 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. The trio finished third in class at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring earlier this year in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. In addition, Garcia and Magnussen are coming off a runner-up finish in their last race at Mid-Ohio.
In the No. 64 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette, the trio of Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Marcel Fässler will team together at Le Mans for the third year in a row. Gavin and Milner have a third-place class finish to their credit at Long Beach in April.
Le Mans is the final race in the FIA World Endurance Championship Super Season. There is a total of 17 entries from five manufacturers in the GTE Pro category.
Each of the six Corvette Racing drivers own exemplary records at Le Mans:
- Antonio Garcia: Three victories in 13 appearances– 2008, 2009 and 2011; runner-up in 2014; third place in 2017
- Jan Magnussen: Four victories in 20 appearances– 2004-06, 2009; runner-up in 2003, 2007, 2008 and 2014; third place in 2017
- Mike Rockenfeller: Two victories in nine appearances– 2005 and 2010; third place in 2012
- Oliver Gavin: Five victories in 18 appearances – 2002, 2004-06, 2015; runner-up in 2003; third place in 2001 and 2008
- Tommy Milner: Two victories in 10 appearances– 2011 and 2015
- Marcel Fässler:Three victories in 13 appearances– 2011-12 and 2014
The 24 Hours of Le Mans will air live on the MotorTrend Network with coverage of the Test Day, practice/qualifying and the race on Radio Le Mans.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 63 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“Year after year we have gone to Road America to test, so you can see how the C7.R has developed from the last year. You’ll know if you’ve made any improvements. Knowledge of the Michelin WEC tire is a big thing, and we learned a lot at Sebring in the FIA WEC race. Knowing that, we were able to focus a lot on that. Le Mans is always difficult to predict. Sometimes it can be hot with no rain at all and other years it’s cold and wet all race. We need to be prepared for everything. The good thing for Corvette Racing is we have the same car from past years and we have learned a lot each Le Mans. It’ll be another tight fight in GTE Pro.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 63 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“The way we are performing in the IMSA championship builds confidence for when we get to Le Mans. Everyone will arrive with high expectations. Everything needs to work that particular weekend. We’ve shown in IMSA that even when we are in a little bit of trouble, we can come together and get the best out of any situation. That’s what we need to do for Le Mans. From the beginning, everyone needs to be at 100 percent otherwise it’s too hard to win unless you are at your best.”
MIKE ROCKENFELLER, NO. 63 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“The Chevrolet simulator is a great tool from Corvette Racing to help prepare for Le Mans. It was nice. I drove a few laps in Elkhart Lake but it wasn’t easy because of the weather conditions. But I was able to go to the simulator to drive Road America for a little while, which was good to feel how realistic and close it is. Then we switched to Le Mans, which was the main target. Nowadays, simulators are so well-developed that you can really use it properly as a driver to prepare for racetracks or an event. The Chevrolet one, honestly, is a very good one. It is very close to reality, so we are able to truly prepare the Corvette for Le Mans.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 64 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“This season has been a season of what-ifs for Tommy and I on the No. 4 Corvette. There have been a number of races this year we’ve had the right strategy, the right car setup, we’ve been working well as a team… it seems like we’ve been able to unlock more speed from the car. That’s all encouraging and good. We seem to have a better understanding of this Michelin tire, and we can take that knowledge into Le Mans and try to use it wisely in our test weekend and preparations for the race.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 64 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“Having raced the C7.R at Le Mans for six years now, we’ve had the chance to improve it year on year. The last couple of years have given us a chance to more fine-tune things. With some of the work we’ve done this year, we’ll have the best Corvette we’ve ever had at Le Mans. In some ways, Le Mans is a bit routine but we are all eager to get there and see how we stack up against our competition. There is work to do; we haven’t been the fastest car there the last few years but that’s not for lack of trying. Everyone at Corvette Racing has done made an extra effort to improve our car in every way possible. So I’m eager to get to the Test Day and see how these changes perform. From my perspective we’re in a good place.”
MARCEL FÄSSLER, NO. 64 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“It was good to be back in the Corvette at Road America. The only downside is that the weather was mostly against us. It wasn’t really fully raining nor was it dry; we had some mixed conditions which made it difficult to do a proper test. But I did get some running on the rain tires and on the second day with slick tires. This was still a good test though. At Le Mans, you can have these situations where there is rain coming down and then it starts to dry out. So the better you know the car in those conditions, the easier it is to adapt yourself in the race. So in that sense it was a successful test.”