RACING: C8.R Confirmed for 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans
Corvette Racing Returns to the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the 2021 Season!
Both of the mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette C8.R race teams have confirmed their participation in the 2021 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans on August 21 and 22, 2021. The race, which has been pushed back from its traditional mid-June dates, is expected to have 62 entrants at the time of this publication, making this one of the largest, strongest race fields in years.
Last year, Corvette Racing withdrew from the event. In a statement from Jim Campbell, vice-president of motorsports and performance, he explained “several factors played into our decision, including current conditions and the re-scheduled timing.” He also stated that the decision to withdraw from the event was “not an easy one.”
The current conditions Campbell referred to centered around the ongoing global COVID health crisis. Additionally, the IMSA SportsCar Championship calendar in which Pratt & Miller (Corvette Racing) competes, prevented the Corvette Racing team from participating in the re-scheduled 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans, which had been moved from June to September 19-20, 2020. The team’s absence from this event marked the first time since 2000 that Corvette Racing was absent from the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
For the 2021 running of the race, the GTE Pro-class C8.R Corvettes will once more carry their traditional #63 and #64 race numbers and will be driven by their regular drivers. The No. 63 Corvette will be piloted by Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor. They will be joined by Nicky Catsburg as their third driver for the 24-hour endurance event. The No. 64 will be piloted by Nick Tandy and Tommy Milner, with Alexander Sims joining as their third.
The return of the Corvette Racing teams to the 24-hour endurance race in Le Mans, France was made possible following a re-structuring of the 2021 IMSA schedule. The Virginia International Raceway (VIR) race, which was originally scheduled for the same weekend as the 24 Hours of Le Mans, has been pushed back to October 9th. The Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta (the series finale of the IMSA season) has been moved to November 13th.
Chevrolet served its notice of intent to return to Le Mans by entering one C8.R for the Algarve WEC round, which has now been pushed back from April to June 2021. The confirmation of the Corvette Racing teams to Le Mans, along with the entry of the Proton Competition-run WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSS has increased the GTE Pro division to a total of seven cars.
Five entries in the new Hypercar class, 25 cars in LMP2 and 24 additional cars in GTE AM bring the total race field to the record-setting 62 competitors – the same number of entrants that was expected to start at Le Mans in 2019. Last year’s grid dropped to 59 cars after a series of withdrawals (which included Corvette Racing).
Pierre Fillon, president of Le Mans and organizer the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, said that the return to a full-strength grid “is a strong signal that our discipline is more appealing than ever”. The five cars in the top Hypercar category on the entry announced on Tuesday is the same number that took part in LMP1 last year.
The class is made up of the two Le Mans Hypercars fielded by Toyota and Glickenhaus, plus the solo P1 Alpine-badged ORECA-Gibson run by Signatech, which are all contesting the full WEC.