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Corvette Racing looking for sixth consecutive Triple Crown win at Le Mans

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One of America’s fastest production street cars will once again be in the global spotlight as the Corvette Racing prepares for what it hopes will be its ninth career win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 100th win overall for the Corvette program.

Corvette Racing has eight wins in 16 races at Le Mans, making it the top GT team. Plus, it’s looking to pick up where it left off in last season’s 24 Hours event, with Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner winning the GTE Pro class by a five-lap margin in the No. 64 Corvette.

“There is a reason we have won here eight times: we operate as a unified team that focuses on winning regardless of the odds,” Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan said in a media release. “This has the potential to be the hardest-fought GT race in Le Mans history and we at Corvette Racing, along with all our fans, can’t wait for that green flag to drop!”

Corvette Racing is already off to a good start: Antonio Garcia set the fastest time in class in this year’s Test Day in the No. 63 Corvette C7.R, which he’ll co-drive with Ricky Taylor and Jan Magnussen. Meanwhile, the No. 64 Corvette sister car was fourth-quickest on Test Day with Gavin at the controls.

“The Test Day went very smooth and we ran through our program,” Garcia said. “We have to do what we can to make the car stronger because all the other teams will do the same. We’ve had years in the past where we have had a lot of cars.

“But this year is as tough as I can remember. The main thing is that no matter the other manufacturers, you need to win. I’m confident. As a team we won the first two big races of the year: Daytona and Sebring. So I’m hoping to repeat what we did last year and win at Le Mans.”

Corvette Racing is going for its sixth consecutive Triple Crown win, having previously captured the Rolex 24 At Daytona (2015, 2016), Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring (2015, 2016) and 24 Hours of Le Mans (2015). That streak is part of an overall 21-race victory string in Triple Crown events.

“Having a good test with no mechanical issues makes race week that much less stressful,” Milner said. “You can focus on the details of the race, getting all three drivers cycled through and not worrying about finding extra speed.

“That’s what we had last year. We had a Corvette that was comfortable and fast. Jordan (Taylor) came in and was on-pace right away, which is obviously good. Going back there with the same driver lineup leaves us feeling pretty confident that we can achieve that again.”

The six drivers – Gavin, Milner, Magnussen, Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Ricky Taylor – have 52 combined starts at Le Mans with 15 victories between them. Gavin has the most (five, all with Corvette Racing), along with four by Magnussen (also all with Corvette Racing) while Garcia has three (two with Corvette Racing), Milner two (both with Corvette Racing) and Jordan Taylor’s win last year.

“This is my 17th Le Mans and I don’t think there is one that has been the same as another,” Magnussen said. “It is the nature of the race – the track, the weather and your competitors are all different each year.

“We are pretty satisfied following the Test Day. The Corvette showed good speed over one lap but also we did a lot of work on long runs with our race setup. So I feel we are very prepared. The thing about Le Mans is that once you get to the race there are so many variables that are out of your control and are difficult to account for. You have to trust the engineers, crew and your own abilities to make it through.”

Corvette Racing 24 Hours of Le Mans Record

Year Finish Class Car Drivers
2000 3rd GTS Corvette C5-R Pilgrim/Collins/Freon
4th GTS Corvette C5-R Fellows/Kneifel/Bell
2001 1st GTS Corvette C5-R Fellows/O’Connell/Pruett
2nd GTS Corvette C5-R Pilgrim/Collins/Freon
2002 1st GTS Corvette C5-R Fellows/O’Connell/Gavin
2nd GTS Corvette C5-R Pilgrim/Collins/Freon
2003 2nd GTS Corvette C5-R Gavin/Collins/Pilgrim
3rd GTS Corvette C5-R Fellows/O’Connell/Freon
2004 1st GTS Corvette C5-R Gavin/Beretta/Magnussen
2nd GTS Corvette C5-R Fellows/O’Connell/ Papis
2005 1st GT1 Corvette C6.R Beretta/Gavin/Magnussen
2nd GT1 Corvette C6.R Fellows/O’Connell/Papis
2006 1st GT1 Corvette C6.R Beretta/Gavin/Magnussen
7th GT1 Corvette C6.R Fellows/O’Connell/Papis
2007 2nd GT1 Corvette C6.R Fellows/O’Connell/Magnussen
14th GT1 Corvette C6.R Beretta/Gavin/Papis
2008 2nd GT1 Corvette C6.R Fellows/O’Connell/Magnussen
3rd GT1 Corvette C6.R Beretta/Gavin/Papis
2009 1st GT1 Corvette C6.R O’Connell/Magnussen/Garcia
4th GT1 Corvette C6.R Gavin/Beretta/Fassler
2010 10th (DNF) GT2 Corvette C6.R Gavin/Beretta/Collard
12th (DNF) GT2 Corvette C6.R O’Connell/Magnussen/Garcia
2011 1st GTE Pro Corvette C6.R Beretta/Milner/Garcia
14th (DNF) GTE Pro Corvette C6.R Gavin/Magnussen/Westbrook
2012 5th GTE Pro Corvette C6.R Garcia/Magnussen/Taylor
6th GTE Pro Corvette C6.R Gavin/Milner/Westbrook
2013 4th GTE Pro Corvette C6.R Garcia/Magnussen/Taylor
7th GTE Pro Corvette C6.R Gavin/Milner/Westbrook
2014 2nd GTE Pro Corvette C7.R Garcia/Magnussen/Taylor
4th GTE Pro Corvette C7.R Gavin/Milner/Westbrook
2015 DNS GTE Pro Corvette C7.R Garcia/Magnussen/Briscoe
1st GTE Pro Corvette C7.R Gavin/Milner/Taylor
Totals 8 wins 16 starts

 

 

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.