Chevrolet celebrates its driver, manufacturer champions at annual event

Photo by Steve Fecht for Chevrolet
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STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. – When you manage to clean up across multiple spectrums, series and divisions of motorsports, you owe yourself a celebration.

Such was the case Wednesday at the GM Heritage Center in Sterling Heights, where Chevrolet and Cadillac’s respective driver and manufacturer championships for 2015 were celebrated and honored.

Drivers and champions recognized included:

  • Scott Dixon, No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, Verizon IndyCar Series driver’s champion
  • Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, 99th Indianapolis 500 champion
  • Chris Berube, Chevrolet racing program manager, IndyCar, IndyCar manufacturer’s championship
  • Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi, No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP, TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Prototype driver’s champions (Chevrolet won Prototype manufacturer’s championship)
  • Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis, No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R, Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge GS driver’s champions (Chevrolet won GS manufacturer’s championship)
  • Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia, No. 3 Corvette C7.R, winners at Rolex 24 at Daytona, Mobil 1 Twelve hours of Sebring
  • Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Jordan Taylor, No. 64 Corvette C7.R, winners at 24 Hours of Le Mans
  • Johnny O’Connell, No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R, Pirelli World Challenge GT driver’s champion
  • Michael Cooper, No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R, Pirelli World Challenge GTS driver’s champion
  • Erica Enders-Stevens, Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, NHRA Pro Stock driver’s champion
  • Donny Schatz, No. 15 Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance, World of Outlaws champion
  • Several drivers, NHRA manufacturer’s champion
  • NASCAR Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series manufacturer’s championships

In addtion, Chevrolet also took time to recognize a couple others who have made an impact on the company’s history.

Andy Pilgrim, who spent 16 years with the company from 1999 through 2015, was awarded a special honor for his contributions across both Corvette Racing (1999 to 2003) and Cadillac Racing (2004 to 2007, 2011 to 2015).

Pilgrim referenced his five months in the buildup to driving with Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 3 Corvette at the 2001 Rolex 24 at Daytona (Kelly Collins was fourth driver), and Earnhardt hailed Pilgrim’s sports car skills.

“Y’all know who this is?” Earnhardt said of Pilgrim, as Pilgrim told the crowd on Wednesday. “He was my PR agent!”

Pilgrim will not continue with Cadillac Racing in the 2016 Pirelli World Challenge season, but is still seeking to continue within the championship.

Meanwhile at the opposite end of the spectrum, NHRA legend John Force was recognized as he and his John Force Racing team have returned to Chevrolet this season. Force, daughter Brittany Force and Robert Hight were all in attendance.

In typically awesome John Force candor, John Force said, “We’re going through a lot of change, but we’re home. I’m home. About the only GM brand I haven’t won a title with is in a Cadillac. My first trophy was won here in a Buick. We love the engineers, everyone working with us. Mr. Jim Campbell puts up with me. I love what I do.

“What was the question again?”

Here’s a roundup of images on social media from Team Chevy from the day.

Drivers, team members and teams chimed in too. Here’s some of the highlights:

Good to see these guys. #lemans24hours champions. #ChevyChampions @jordan10taylor @tommymilner

A photo posted by @olivergavin on

The most beautiful car in the room. 1953 #Chevrolet #Corvette

A photo posted by @olivergavin on

This one we title the @cadillac ats-Vr and the kid @jordan10taylor …. Kids. Sheesh

A photo posted by Johnny OConnell (@johnny_oconnell3) on

Cadillac confirms WEC driver lineup with Chip Ganassi Racing that will race Le Mans in 2023

Cadillac Ganassi Le Mans
Cadillac Racing
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Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing announced their driver lineup for a 2023 entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the sports car series that includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Cadillac V-LMDh entry will be driven by Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn, who were teamed on the No. 02 Cadillac that competed in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi class this season and won the Twelve Hours of Sebring. The third driver will be Richard Westbrook, who will return to Ganassi after helping the team to a GT class win at Le Mans in 2018.

The team also will compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the rebranded Grand Touring Prototype premier category, which is designed for crossover between the top prototypes in IMSA and WEC. Ganassi will field a second entry at Daytona with its No. 01 Cadillac that will compete full time in IMSA with Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande.

A Ganassi spokesman said the team hopes to run its second entry in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans but only its WEC team is confirmed (an AOC invitation would be required for the IMSA team). The team also is exploring options but currently plans to have the WEC’s team base of operations in Indianapolis.

Ganassi is the first American-based prototype team to confirm its entry in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s expected that Team Penske, which raced this year’s Le Mans with a full-time WEC entry in LMP2, also will race Le Mans with Porsche’s new LMDh car that is set for IMSA, but the manufacturer has yet to confirm its driver and team lineup.

Next year will mark the return of Cadillac to Le Mans for the first time since 2002.

Before joining Ganassi last year, Lynn made 28 WEC starts since 2016, winning the LMGTE Pro class at Le Mans in 2020.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to continue with Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing,” Lynn said in a release. “It’s a huge honor to drive for Chip in any capacity but certainly on a full factory sports car program, it’s seriously cool. Cadillac has so much heritage as a luxury North American sports car brand, so to be able to represent them is a huge privilege. I’ve had a lot of fun in my first year doing it and to continue that onto the World Endurance Championship stage is fantastic.

“For me, returning to WEC is sort of what I’ve always known and it’s a bit like going into my wheelhouse. This year in IMSA was a bit different with getting to know all-new circuits and a new style of racing so 2023 will be filled with a bit more of what I’m used to with more of a European focus. I think what’s significant about WEC is without a doubt Le Mans. As a sports car race, Le Mans is the crown jewel and everything that we want to win. To be able to take Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac back to Le Mans to fight for overall honors is a huge honor and that’s something that I’m going to work tirelessly to make sure we achieve.”

Bamber won the Le Mans overall in 2015 and ’17 with Porsche teams and also was a 2019 GTLM champion in IMSA.

“I am really happy to continue at Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac,” Bamber said in a release. “I’ve loved my first season in DPi and now to continue over into the LMDh era and WEC is super exciting. Looking forward to fighting for a world championship and another Le Mans victory.

“The World Endurance Championships gives us the opportunity to race at the world’s biggest race, which is Le Mans, the crown jewel of sports car racing. I’ve been lucky enough to win it before and it’s obviously a huge goal for Cadillac and everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing. To have that goal in sight is really exciting. It’s been great to have Alex as a teammate in 2022. We’ve been able to learn and grow together in the DPi, and we have a really good partnership going into WEC. We know each other really well and believe adding Richard will be a seamless transition.”

Said Westbrook: “After four really good years at Chip Ganassi Racing, I’ve got so many friends there and I’ve always dreamt to come back one day. It just worked so well between 2016 and 2019, and I’m delighted we found a route to come together again. I can’t wait, it’s an exciting era in sports car racing right now.

“I feel like I know Alex and Earl really well. I did Le Mans with Alex in 2020 and I’ve known him for years. It feels like I’m going back with an ex-teammate and exactly the same with Earl. Although I’ve never shared a car with Earl, we’ve always done the same sort of racing be it in WEC or in IMSA. We’ve had lots of battles, including this year in our dueling Cadillacs. We’ve always gotten along quite well, and I can say we’re going to have a great year together.”

The seven-race WEC season, which also includes a stop at Spa, will begin March 17 with the 1,000 Miles of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway in Florida.