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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Corvette had “full bundle” to win WEC title two rounds early

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Along with Ben Keating and Nico Varrone, fourth place within the six-hour race was sufficient for the American squad to say the ultimate GTE Am title earlier than the arrival of LMGT3 guidelines for 2023 will render its C8.R ineligible.  

Again-to-back victories at Sebring and Portimao, adopted up by a second place at Spa and a 3rd win of the season within the double factors Le Mans 24 Hours, had put Corvette in a commanding championship place heading to Italy.  

Regardless of lacking out on a podium for the primary time all season as Porsche took its first win of 2023 courtesy of the #77 Dempsey-Proton Competitors staff, an eighth place for its closest rival TF Sport means Corvette can not be caught. It has a 78-point benefit with a most of 67 nonetheless achievable. 

Catsburg, who has additionally taken 24-hour race victories on the Nurburgring (outright) and Spa (in pro-am) this season, paid tribute to the contribution of his “excellent” team-mates and “relaxed” ambiance within the Pratt & Miller-run staff for contributing to its first WEC title. 

For bronze-rated Keating it was a second GTE Am title in as many seasons, after he had claimed the crown for TF in 2022, whereas 22-year-old silver driver Varrone joined Corvette after two seasons in sportscars racing LMP3 and Ferrari GT equipment.  

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“This yr has actually been lots about doing it as a staff,” Catsburg mentioned. “And my team-mates additionally Nico and Ben deserve an enormous credit score.  

“I really feel that, okay, I’m doing a great job, I’m evaluating to all the opposite platinums, however they’re excellent of their class.  

#33 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R: Ben Keating, Nicolas Varrone, Nicky Catsburg

Photograph by: JEP / Motorsport Images

“Nico is the very best silver, Ben is the very best bronze for my part and that’s what sort of makes it simpler when you may have an entire bundle like that. I believe that’s the place we’re making the distinction. 

“It has been such a relaxed ambiance within the staff and amongst the drivers. I all the time really feel like these weekends are a little bit of a vacation, going out together with your mates, having enjoyable.  

“I have to say this yr, the superb ambiance amongst the mechanics, the drivers, we simply get alongside nicely. We go for dinner each night time, we all the time hang around.  

“Typically you simply have guys the place you don’t click on as a lot with, and this yr has been superior from the beginning. And that helps lots.”  

Catsburg added that the data it was the ultimate season of competitors for the favored GTE vehicles, which not like GT3 machines would not have ABS, “makes it further cool”. 

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With the championship wrapped up, he has pledged that Corvette’s strategy is not going to change for the ultimate two rounds, with 10kg in success weight set to return off the automobile for Fuji in September.  

“I don’t suppose a lot will change,” he mentioned. “I believe we are going to simply proceed the place we left off.”

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