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Unread 01-25-2024, 07:43 PM   #1
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Default CORVETTE RACING AT DAYTONA: The Rolex 24 Challenge

CORVETTE RACING AT DAYTONA: The Rolex 24 Challenge

Huge GTD car count, first race for Z06 GT3.R adds to anticipation of this year’s event



DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 24, 2024) – There is no discounting the challenges that Corvette Racing teams and drivers will face in this weekend’s Rolex 24 At Daytona. For many reasons, this year’s race looks to be one of the most thrilling and action-packed thanks to a full field of prototypes and GT cars – with Corvettes well-represented in the latter.



Four of the new Corvette Z06 GT3.R racecars are set for the start of Thursday morning’s official track sessions and then the start of Saturday’s season-opener for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Two are fielded by Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports in GTD PRO with two additional Corvettes from AWA in the GTD class.



Between the two categories, there are 36 GT cars set for the Rolex 24 in addition to 23 prototypes – 10 in GTP and 13 in LMP2. So for those looking for storylines, there is the challenge of debuting a new racecar, the depth and quality of the GTD classes and overall grid, plus all the dicing and fighting between classes for track position over the course of 24 hours.



Never a group to back down, the collection of Corvette Racing factory drivers are embracing the challenge of what could be an epic Rolex 24 At Daytona this weekend…



The Rolex 24 At Daytona is scheduled to go green at 1:40 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 27 with the race broadcast beginning on NBC. USA Network and Peacock also will air coverage throughout Saturday and Sunday.



DANIEL JUNCADELLA, NO. 3 OSHKOSH / MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: "The race in this class will be really cool to see. Last year the GTD PRO class had at most races five cars. So with an unlucky incident for a couple of your competitors, you were on the podium. Now it's hugely different with 13 cars, most of them that will be contention for the win. That will be very exciting for the fans but also us as drivers. We want to compete and want to beat the best. We don't want to have it easy. It's going to be very exciting with some of the new cars. We have the new Z06 GT3.R, of course, and there is a new Ford too. That's exciting for any American fan to have both big brands fighting it out."


TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 OSHKOSH / MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: "When you look at just GTD PRO, the class is quite large compared to previous years. There are lots of very good cars, very good teams and drivers. Winning our class is a really big challenge. If you look at all the GT cars together, there are GTD driver lineups that are very good. You may have an amateur driver out there who may be off the pace, but the other guys are awfully quick. We will mostly likely spend the majority of 24 hours racing a GT car – whether it's a GTD PRO class car or not. I know it's frustrating for some guys, but for me I like the fact that there are 25 to 30 GT cars. There isn't a winner for the overall GT category, but it's bragging rights for the GTD guys if they can say that they won GT overall. It's going to be a big fight for 24 hours; there's no question about it. But I'm looking forward to it all and looking forward to racing some old friends very hard and some new faces pretty hard, too."


EARL BAMBER, NO. 4 OSHKOSH / MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: “It's the sheer competitiveness. I think, first of all, the big challenge for all of us is we are coming to a category of GTD PRO and GT that is highly competitive. You look up and down the pit lane, there’s Daytona 24-Hour winners, Le Mans winners, World Champions, there’s past IMSA champions... For Corvette to bring a new car here is a big, big challenge. But, I think, the Pratt Miller guys are up to that challenge. They’ve built a great car and a great platform, and I’m just excited to go out and finally race. After all of the testing, and all of the prep work, to finally see where everyone shapes up against each other is going to be cool.”


ALEX LYNN, NO. 13 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: “I find that in 24-hour racing, you’re constantly chasing perfection, especially within a brand like Corvette. If we’re very honest, winning is what we want. We haven’t come here for anything less. To arrive at that point, it takes so many factors to go right. It’s also about teamwork and every single team member doing their job to arrive on Sunday afternoon with a chance to fight for the win. If you do all the steps, you’ll more than likely have a chance. But arriving at that point is the hardest bit. You’re ticking off boxes as the week and the race goes along.

“With the amount of talent in the cockpits and crews, it’s getting ramped up and up and up. Manufacturers are bringing brand new cars, ourselves included. The work rate and effort to prove the product and us as a team is getting harder and harder and harder. But to be honest, that’s what gets me out of bed in the morning to win races like this. I know every crew member is the same. You’re asking more of each and every crew member every day. Tomorrow and Friday is about the same things: keep building and sharpening that tool that we have in the car so we can arrive Sunday afternoon with a chance.”




NICO VARRONE, NO. 17 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: “For me, it will be different because now we are in GTD instead of LMP3. Between GTD and GTD PRO, it’s the same regulations and we have 35 cars across the two GT classes. The racing will be very close with the draft and using of slipstreams along the banking. It will be a close battle for 24 hours, and there will be a lot of battles. The key will be staying on the lead lap for the first many hours because you can gain position during caution periods. The goal is to arrive with four hours to go in the best possible position. Those will be flat-out to the end of the race. We’ll work from there to see where we can end up.”


CHARLIE EASTWOOD, NO. 17 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: "It's a huge number of GTD cars in this year's race. It's a tricky balance for us because the LMP2s aren't so fast on the straights. In GTE or GTLM racing, we didn't have ABS and now we do with these GT3 cars. Especially when it's cold, we are braking later than the prototypes. It makes the traffic really challenging, and I think it's the same case for them. They're fighting really hard to pass us, but it's all about timing all of that. Then when you throw in 35 GTD cars that we have to stay ahead of, it's going to be a challenge coming into the last few hours."


CORVETTE RACING BY THE NUMBERS AT DAYTONA

• 0.034: As in seconds – the winning margin of victory in Corvette Racing’s 1-2 finish at the 2016 Rolex 24. Up until last year’s LMP2 finish, it was the closest finish in race history

• 1: Rolex 24 class win for AWA; the team won in LMP3 in 2023. Current team drivers Nico Varrone, Anthony Mantella and Thomas Merrill were part of that lineup

• 2: Number of the overall winning Corvette C5-R in the 2001 Rolex 24. Ron Fellows, Johnny O’Connell, Chris Kneifel and Franck Freon completed 656 laps for 2335.36 miles in the winning effort

• 4: Number of Corvette Z06 GT3.R entries for the 2024 Rolex 24 – two from Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports (GTD PRO) and two from AWA (GTD)

• 4: Rolex 24 wins for Corvette Racing as an entrant: 2001 overall, 2015 GTLM (Antonio Garcia/Jan Magnussen/Ryan Briscoe), 2016 GTLM (Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler) and 2021 GTLM (Garcia/Jordan Taylor/Nicky Catsburg)

• 9: Corvette/General Motors factory drivers piloting the Corvette Z06 GT3.R in this year’s race: Antonio Garcia, Alexander Sims, Dani Juncadella, Tommy Milner, Nicky Catsburg, Earl Bamber (Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller) plus Charlie Eastwood, Nico Varrone and Alex Lynn (AWA). Bamber and Lynn also are Cadillac Racing factory drivers in FIA WEC

• 14: IMSA Manufacturer Championships for Chevrolet and Corvette Racing since 2001

• 24: Drivers who have driven for Corvette Racing at Daytona – Justin Bell, Ryan Briscoe, Nicky Catsburg, Kelly Collins, Dale Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Marcel Fässler, Ron Fellows, Franck Freon, Antonio Garcia, Oliver Gavin, John Heinricy, Chris Kneifel, Robin Liddell, Jan Magnussen, Tommy Milner, Simon Pagenaud, John Paul Jr., Andy Pilgrim, Mike Rockenfeller, Scott Sharp, Alexander Sims, Marco Sorensen, Nick Tandy and Jordan Taylor

• 27: Tracks at which Corvette Racing has won races – Baltimore, Charlotte Motor Speedway, COTA, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park/Mosport, Daytona, Detroit, Fuji Speedway, Houston, Laguna Seca, Le Mans, Lime Rock, Long Beach, Miami, Mid-Ohio, Monza, Portland, Road America, Road Atlanta, Sebring, Sonoma, St. Petersburg, Texas, Trois Rivieres, Utah, VIR, Washington DC and Watkins Glen

• 32: Number of drivers for Corvette Racing since 1999

• 71: Years since Corvette was introduced to the world on Jan. 17, 1953 in New York City. A total of 300 cars were produced that year

• 127: Victories worldwide for Corvette Racing – 115 in North America, nine at Le Mans and three in the FIA WEC

• 284: Event starts by Corvette Racing since 1999

• 99,600: Total number of racing laps completed by Corvette Racing entries since 1999. Barring any issues, the program will go over the 100,00-lap mark at the Rolex 24 of Daytona

• 361,990.52: Total number of racing miles completed by Corvette Racing entries since 1999. 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



Corvette Racing at Daytona (wins in bold)

1999

No. 2 Corvette C5-R: Ron Fellows/Chris Kneifel/John Paul Jr. – 3rd in GTS

No. 4 Corvette C5-R: Andy Pilgrim/Scott Sharp/John Heinricy – 12th in GTS



2000

No. 3 Corvette C5-R: Ron Fellows/Chris Kneifel/Justin Bell – 2nd in GTS

No. 4 Corvette C5-R: Andy Pilgrim/Kelly Collins/Franck Freon – 10th in GTS



2001

No. 2 Corvette C5-R: Ron Fellows/Johnny O'Connell/Chris Kneifel/Franck Freon – 1st in GTS (overall win)

No. 3 Corvette C5-R: Andy Pilgrim/Kelly Collins/Dale Earnhardt/Dale Earnhardt Jr. – 2nd in GTS



2014

No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Ryan Briscoe – 10th in GTLM

No. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Robin Liddell – 5th in GTLM



2015

No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Ryan Briscoe – 1st in GTLM (Magnussen fastest race lap)

No. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Simon Pagenaud – 3rd in GTLM (Gavin pole)



2016

No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Mike Rockenfeller – 2nd in GTLM (Garcia fastest race lap)

No. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler – 1st in GTLM (Winner by 0.034 second)



2017

No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Mike Rockenfeller – 4th in GTLM

No. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler – 9th in GTLM



2018

No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Mike Rockenfeller – 3rd in GTLM (Magnussen pole)

No. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler – 4th in GTLM



2019

No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Mike Rockenfeller – 6th in GTLM

No. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler – 8th in GTLM



2020 (Rolex 24 – January)

No. 3 Corvette C8.R: Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor/Nicky Catsburg – 4th in GTLM

No. 4 Corvette C8.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler – 7th in GTLM



2020 (WeatherTech 240 – July)

No. 3 Corvette C8.R: Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor – 1st in GTLM

No. 4 Corvette C8.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner – 5th in GTLM



2021

No. 3 Corvette C8.R: Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor/Nicky Catsburg – 1st in GTLM

No. 4 Corvette C8.R: Tommy Milner/Nick Tandy/Alexander Sims – 2nd in GTLM



2022

No. 3 Corvette C8.R: Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor/Nicky Catsburg – 6th in GTD PRO

No. 4 Corvette C8.R: Tommy Milner/Nick Tandy/Marco Sorensen – 10th in GTD PRO



2023

No. 3 Corvette C8.R: Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor/Tommy Milner – 2nd in GTD PRO


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