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Feb 1, 2008
2009 GT1 Championship Edition
Press Release:


Catsburg, Keating, Varrone, No. 33 Corvette team wrap up historic season

SAKHIR, Bahrain (November 4, 2023) – Corvette Racing finished seventh Saturday at the Eight Hours of Bahrain to close the 2023 FIA World Endurance Championship and put a cap on a historic season.

Nicky Catsburg, Ben Keating and Nico Varrone battled challenging conditions throughout the season finale in hopes of securing a GTE Am podium finish in the final contest for the No. 33 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette C8.R and the rest of the GTE machinery in WEC.

The championship season included three victories – Corvette Racing’s ninth class win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, at the 1,000 Miles of Sebring in the U.S., and the Six Hours of Portimão – three pole positions for Keating and a championship clinch at Monza in July with two races to go.

It was a fitting way for the C8.R and Corvette Racing to close their campaigns in the WEC. The Corvette Z06 GT3.R is slated to be part of the WEC grid next year in the hands of TF Sport for the LM GT3 category while the No. 33 C8.R team transitions back to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship under the Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports banner.

Keating qualified the C8.R fifth in class Friday, and hopes were high for a run at a sixth podium finish this season. The green flag brought rare misfortune to Corvette as Keating had to avoid multiple cars when prototype entries spun and went off-track in front of the GTE Am field.

The C8.R rejoined the track in ninth place and mired in traffic. It didn’t help that the Corvette faced an uphill battle on the performance front with the C8.R 15 pounds heavier than any other GTE Am car and a pre-event reduction in power.

Keating made his first stop just past the 30-minute mark in a strategic call to free him from class traffic. The off-strategy call saw him run as high as fourth in his final two stints of the season before swapping over to Varrone just shy of three hours.

A year after his first laps in the C8.R at the WEC Rookie Test at Bahrain, Varrone rejoined the race in 10th place with the goal of managing the Corvette’s tires, a tough task on a track notorious for high degradation due to its rough surface. Again, the Corvette got up as high as fourth in Varrone’s three stints, and he swapped to Catsburg for the final run with less than two hours to go.

Rejoining eighth in class, Catsburg gained one spot inside the final hour but didn’t have the performance to get any higher in the order before the finish.

NICKY CATSBURG, NO. 33 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FINISHED SEVENTH IN CLASS: "The result of today isn't important. If we couldn't win today, it's great to see the Iron Dames win. I think they deserved one all season. But we deserved the championship. We celebrated it once, and it was nice to celebrate it again tonight with the team. On the cool-down lap, I was thanking them and I realized that the stuff we accomplished this year was really cool. We did it with two races to go but that doesn't make tonight any less special. I'm super happy and super proud of the entire team, and I can't wait to work them again in America next season."

BEN KEATING, NO. 33 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FINISHED SEVENTH IN CLASS: “I didn't have any contact at the start. There were cars everywhere. I lost a lot of positions but avoided any contact. It was a green and clean race, and unfortunately we didn't have the pace this weekend. I think it was the price for having really good strategy all year. It was a magical season and a magical time – the last race for GTE, the last race for me with Corvette Racing and the last race for me in World Endurance Championship. It's still surreal and magical when you think about this season. To have won the championship, to have won Le Mans and had such great results all season long... it's pretty hard to sit back and enjoy it when you're as busy as I was out there in the race. But I tried to remind myself of it as often as I could. It's been a lot of fun."

NICO VARRONE, NO. 33 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FINISHED SEVENTH IN CLASS: “I'm really happy to finish the season with Corvette Racing. It was an amazing year and a fairytale story. Driving the C8.R for the final time in Bahrain was really nice, and I've enjoyed every minute. This race was tough for us with tires and our performance. Other cars were passing us easily, and we had no power in a straight line. The only chance we had to match them was trying to save our tires and see if that worked. I tried to be consistent and not make mistakes to lose as little time as possible. Other than that, the Corvette was good. Always here it is tricky with traction and grip. We were just missing power. That's just how it was. We cannot complain too much. We've had an amazing season."

LAURA WONTROP KLAUSER, GM SPORTS CAR RACING PROGRAM MANAGER: “There aren't enough words to describe how proud we are for everyone on the Corvette Racing team for an incredible season. Winning the final GTE Am championship is great, winning three races – including Le Mans – is something you never will forget. But to do all that in one year with this group is indescribable. I'm confident we are only getting started with WEC championships and wins with more to come with the Z06 GT3.R in the future.”

Ryan Smith
Judy Kouba Dominick

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