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CORVETTE RACING AT IMOLA: Building on Qatar Performance

cor123

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CORVETTE RACING AT IMOLA: Building on Qatar Performance

TF Sport team buoyed by pre-race testing at Italian circuit ahead of Round 2


DETROIT (April 16, 2024) – Corvette Racing and TF Sport write their next chapter together this weekend as the team and its pair of Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.Rs travel to Italy for the FIA World Endurance Championship’s Six Hours of Imola.


The goal this time around for TF Sport and Chevrolet is to earn more points in the LM GT3 Drivers, Manufacturers and Teams championship standings. Both the No. 81 and No. 82 Corvettes came away from the season-opening event in Qatar with points and positives to take into the Italian round.


The second round of the championship is at a new venue for the Corvette brand, but not for TF Sport. Already, the team has undertaken a robust testing program at the 3.05-mile, 19-turn circuit in which the two Corvette Z06 GT3.Rs recorded more than 3,000 kilometers. TF Sport has raced just once at Monza but it was a stellar outing – a 1-2 finish in the European Le Mans Series’ GTE class and the LMP2 Pro-Am victory in 2022.


In addition, Corvette Racing has tasted success in Italy during the last two FIA WEC seasons: it won the GTE Pro class at Monza in 2022 with the Corvette C8.R, and the team wrapped up the GTE Am Drivers and Teams titles in 2023 also at Monza.


The FIA WEC’s Six Hours of Imola Prologue is set for 1 p.m. Central European Time / 7 a.m. Eastern Time on Sunday, April 21. MotorTrend and MotorTrend Plus will provide both live television and streaming coverage of the race and Friday’s qualifying, as will the FIA WEC app and the MAX app in the U.S. Radio Le Mans will stream audio coverage of the race plus Friday’s final practice and qualifying.



CHARLIE EASTWOOD, NO. 81 TF SPORT CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: "I feel everyone is thinking the same thing in that it will be a super-tough race with traffic. As we know, Imola has the characteristics of one of the more old-school European tracks. With that, it makes passing between GT3 and Hypercar very difficult. We were testing at Imola a few weeks ago in the Corvette, and the delta of lap time between GT3 and Hypercar was significantly smaller than most circuits. The main reason for this is that at Imola in the GT3 cars, you can take a lot of curbs. There has been a completely new profile of the curbing around most of the circuit so that the GT3s can get right on top of the curbs, which the Corvette was handling very well at the test but the Hypercars cannot; they have to drive around them. So the laptime delta is going to be very small and I feel they are going to struggle to pass the GT cars very easily. So you're going to see a lot of aggression into braking zones and things like that. It's going to be an interesting race and hard to know how it's fully going to pan out. But it will be action-packed and with a chance of some collisions between cars in different classes.

"I have raced at Imola in LMP2. That in itself was very difficult with the traffic. If anything, the Hypercars may struggle even more as they are a heavier car and can't take the curbs as much as the P2s. We might find that some Hypercars may be stuck behind GT3s for half a lap or maybe a third of a lap, which is a significant laptime loss for those guys."


DANI JUNCADELLA, NO. 82 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: "I did a race in 2022 with GT World Challenge at Imola where I finished second. It's a pretty cool track, to be fair, with not much rest between corners; there aren't many long straights so there is a lot of activity in your driving. The Corvette felt pretty good at the test. It was a positive session, and it was positive because my teammates did pretty well. Both Seb and Hiroshi... especially Hiro. He found a lot of speed during the two days, which is very encouraging. As I've said before, our result in the end ultimately depends a lot on their performance. They were both impressive, which is encouraging as a sort of driver coach.

"An interesting feature about Imola is that at most of the corners, there are very high curbs. It's a quite unique driving style because you need to use as much as you can from the curbs. But on the other hand, it's difficult to set up the cars to ride those curbs properly. In the test, we could see that it was quite upsetting when you were beating those big curbs. But there is a way to go through to maximize the car balance and performance.

"Also there is the atmosphere around the corner where Aryton Senna crashed. There is a statue of him, a lot of flowers and a lot of memories. It's always special to be in such an environment. You can feel that vibe around the track."


SEBASTIEN BAUD, NO. 82 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: "I am very much looking forward to participating in this second round of the World Endurance Championship. We have had good preparation with the team and my teammates. And above all, a good analysis of our performances after the first round in Qatar. I am very determined for this six-hour race and also to demonstrate the full potential of the Corvette Z06 GT3.R. Imola is going to be a tricky race with traffic. You will have to remain very attentive, while being quick."


2024 FIA World Endurance Championship Points

LMGT3 Drivers Standings

1. Aliaksandr Malykhin/Joel Sturm/Klaus Bachler – 38

2. Alex Riberas/Daniel Mancinelli/Ian James – 27

3. Clement Mateu/Erwan Bastard/Marco Sorensen – 23

4. Ahmad Al Harthy/Maxime Martin/Valentino Rossi – 18

5. David Rigon/Francesco/Castellacci/Thomas Flohr – 15

10. Daniel Juncadella/Hiroshi Koizumi/Sebastien Baud – 2

11. Charlie Eastwood/Rui Andrade/Tom Van Rompuy – 1



LMGT3 Teams Standings

1. No. 92 Manthey PureRxcing – 38

2. No. 27 Heart of Racing Team – 27

3. No. 777 D’Station Racing – 23

4. No. 46 Team WRT – 18

5. No. 54 Vista AF Corse – 15

10. No. 82 TF Sport – 2

11. No. 81 TF Sport – 1



CORVETTE RACING BY THE NUMBERS: Imola

• 2: Starts for Corvette Racing in Italy – both at Monza in WEC (2022, 2023)

• 3: Corvette Z06 GT3.Rs in competition this weekend – No. 13 of AWA at Long Beach, No. 81 and No. 82 of TF Sport at Imola

• 4: Generations of Corvette ZR1 (C3, C4, C6 and C7). The eighth-generation Corvette ZR1 will be revealed this summer

• 14: Manufacturer Championships for Chevrolet and Corvette Racing since 2001

• 19: Number of street circuit victories for Corvette Racing – more than any other IMSA entrant at the circuit.

• 27: Tracks at which Corvette Racing has won races – Baltimore, Charlotte Motor Speedway, COTA, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park/Mosport, Daytona, Detroit, Houston, Laguna Seca, Le Mans, Lime Rock, Long Beach, Miami, Mid-Ohio, Monza, Portimão, Portland, Road America, Road Atlanta, Sebring, Sonoma, St. Petersburg, Texas, Trois Rivieres, Utah, VIR, Washington DC and Watkins Glen

• 45: Number of drivers in Corvette Racing entries since 1999. Rui Andrade, Sebastien Baud, Hiroshi Koizumi and Tom Van Rompuy joined the list at Qatar to open the WEC season

• 71: Years since Corvette was introduced to the world on Jan. 17, 1953 in New York City. A total of 300 cars were produced that year

• 127: Victories worldwide for Corvette Racing – 115 in North America, nine at Le Mans and three in the FIA WEC

• 287: Event starts by Corvette Racing since 1999

• 4,225.27: Number of racing miles completed by Corvette Racing in its 15 previous trips to Long Beach. That represents 2,147 laps around the 1.968-mile street circuit.

• 371,612.71: Total number of racing miles completed by Corvette Racing entries since 1999. To put that in perspective, Corvette Racing is more than halfway to the distance traveled by Apollo 13 – the longest manned spaceflight in history: 622,268 miles



Corvette Racing in Italy (wins in bold)

2022

No. 64 Corvette C8.R: Tommy Milner/Nick Tandy (Monza) – 1st in GTE Pro


2023

No. 33 Corvette C8.R: Nicky Catsburg/Ben Keating/Nico Varrone (Monza) – 4th in GTE Am (clinched GTE Am championship)


Ryan Smith
Judy Kouba
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