After Le Mans win, No. 33 C8.R team can wrap up GTE Am championships
DETROIT (July 3, 2023) – Fresh off a stunning class victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans – its ninth since 2001 – Corvette Racing can add one more major honor this weekend with the resumption of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Depending on its finish and those of other title contenders, Corvette Racing can wrap up the GTE Am Drivers and Teams championships at the Six Hours of Spa. Nicky Catsburg, Ben Keating, Nico Varrone and the team of the No. 33 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R have won three of the first four WEC rounds to open a commanding 74-point advantage with 91 possible points remaining in the final three races of the season.
Such a position likely was incredibly optimistic for even the biggest Corvette Racing fan before the season began. Not only is this season the first for the Catsburg/Keating/Varrone trio, but it also is the in GTE Am for Corvette Racing. The new challenge hasn’t been too big for the team, which largely has nailed every pit stop and strategy call during this year’s campaign.
That was part of the story last year at Monza for the Corvette squad, which won in its debut at the circuit in the GTE Pro class. Tommy Milner and Nick Tandy were winners that day in the C8.R on a strategic masterpiece by the Corvette squad.
The team will need to rely on some of that quick and clever thinking this time around as the Corvette will carry 40 additional kilograms of “success ballast” in accordance with GTE Am sporting rules. That is due to the victory in the previous race at Le Mans, 10 kilograms for taking the runner-up spot at Spa (the race prior to Le Mans) and another 15 for leading the championship.
On a positive note, the No. 33 C8.R raced at Spa with 45 extra kilograms over its minimum weight and placed second, highlighted by a furious late-race defense by Catsburg to hold on to the second position.
The Six Hours of Monza is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. CET / 6:30 a.m. ET on Sunday, July 9. MotorTrend and MotorTrend Plus will provide both live television and streaming coverage, as will the FIA WEC app. Radio Le Mans will stream audio coverage of qualifying and the race.
NICKY CATSBURG, NO. 33 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “Coming into the season, we were confident that we could compete for race wins and the championship. We knew we had a good team and a good car. But I couldn’t have expected the success we have had so far with three wins – Le Mans among that – and a chance to win the championship this early. Even though we are in this position, we cannot take anything for granted or lose focus. Fortunately I have teammates in Ben and Nico and a team behind us in Corvette Racing that won’t let that happen. Monza is a very good and fast track. We may be a little limited by the success ballast but it will not change our approach and mindset. I’m ready to get there and go for the best result we can get.”
BEN KEATING, NO. 33 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “I love Monza. On the WEC calendar, Le Mans and Monza are my best tracks. Interestingly enough in my first year at Monza in WEC, I rented a bicycle and was riding around. On the grandstand side, there is a driver development simulator company. I spent four or five hours there on a whim. At the time, my chief competitor was a Ferrari with Alessio Rivera, and in the sim he was my coach! So every year since then, I always book time. Monza is one of my best tracks, but I’ve yet to finish a race there. It’s been my unluckiest track. One year we had a blowout at 170 mph, and it blew apart the car so much that it bent the exhaust, blew the floor out and blew the hood off. Then last year, we lost brakes and flipped the car. Even though I feel really good about my performance at Monza, the track has not always loved me back. I have a lot of faith in the Corvette and the Corvette Racing team. I really feel like in this season, the team’s performance has been key to our results. This race will be no different. We’ll be carrying 40 extra kilograms for the race, but the other teams chasing us have weight, too. I’m hopeful we can clinch a championship there. It doesn’t require a podium finish but does require some points for us and the 25 and 85 cars having a bad race. With the 40 extra kilograms, it would be a lot to expect us to win. I’m not saying it’s impossible because anything is possible with this car and this team.”
NICO VARRONE, NO. 33 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “I love Monza! It’s a fast track with a lot of history. We have been doing a great job all year. I feel like the pressure from ahead of Le Mans is gone with the victory there. We will arrive at Monza with less pressure and I think enjoying the moment. We will do what we do every race – do what we do, do what we know, keep it clean, be as fast as we can and get the pit stops and strategy right. Everything will come to us after that. If we are champions in Monza, then great. But we are not going in with that mindset. We are going to do our best and trying to win.”
2023 FIA World Endurance Championship – GTE Am (After four of seven events)
- Ben Keating/Nicky Catsburg/Nico Varrone – 133
- Ahmad Al Harthy/Charlie Eastwood/Michael Dinan – 59
- Michelle Gatting/Rahel Frey/Sarah Bovy – 56
- Francesco Castellacci/Thomas Flohr/Davide Rigon – 47
- Alessio Rovera/Lilou Wadoux/Luis Perez Companc – 43
- No. 33 Corvette Racing – 133
- No. 25 ORT by TF – 59
- No. 85 Iron Dames – 56
- No. 54 AF Corse – 47
- No 83 Richard Mille AF Corse – 43
CORVETTE RACING AT CTMP & MONZA: By the Numbers
- 1: As in one team, one manufacturer and one model of car for 25 years of racing: Corvette Racing, Chevrolet and the Chevrolet Corvette
- 3: Generations of Corvette Racing entries at CTMP since 2000 – Corvette C5-R (2004), Corvette C6.R (2005-13) and Corvette C7.R (2016-2019). The Corvette C8.R raced at the track for the first time last season.
- 3: Number of GTE Am wins in four FIA WEC races this season for Nicky Catsburg, Ben Keating and Nico Varrone with the No. 33 Corvette C8.R.
- 6: Hours difference between the IMSA team competing at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and the Corvette Racing WEC team competing at Monza on the same days.
- 7: Number of drivers who have won races at CTMP for Corvette Racing. Johnny O’Connell (six), Jan Magnussen (five), Oliver Gavin (four), Ron Fellows (three) and Olivier Beretta (two) each have multiple wins there with the team.
- 7: Pole positions for Corvette Racing drivers at CTMP. Oliver Gavin leads with three with Antonio Garcia (2016) being the most recent.
- 11: Class victories at Corvette Racing at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park – all since 2001.
- 14: Manufacturer Championships for Chevrolet and Corvette Racing since 2001
- 27: Tracks at which Corvette Racing has won races – Baltimore, Charlotte Motor Speedway, COTA, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park/Mosport, Daytona, Detroit, Houston, Laguna Seca, Le Mans, Lime Rock, Long Beach, Miami, Mid-Ohio, Monza, Portimão, Portland, Road America, Road Atlanta, Sebring, Sonoma, St. Petersburg, Texas, Trois Rivieres, Utah, VIR, Washington DC and Watkins Glen
- 34: Number of drivers for Corvette Racing since 1999. Ben Keating and Nico Varrone joined that list with their participation – and victory – in the 1,000 Miles of Sebring for the World Endurance Championship.
- 125: Victories worldwide for Corvette Racing – 113 in North America, nine at Le Mans – including two weeks ago – and three in the FIA WEC.
- 275: Event starts by Corvette Racing since 1999.
- 11,080.25: Number of racing miles completed by Corvette Racing in its 20 previous trips to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. That represents 4,506 laps.
- 358,144.93: Total number of racing miles completed by Corvette Racing since its inception. To put that in perspective, Corvette Racing is more than halfway to the distance traveled by Apollo 13 – the longest manned spaceflight in history: 622,268 miles. That means Corvette Racing has raced to the moon… and then some!
Corvette Racing at Monza (wins in bold)
No. 64 Corvette C8.R: Tommy Milner/Nick Tandy – 1st in GTE Pro
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