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CORVETTE RACING AT LE MANS: Keating, No. 33 C8.R Take Hyperpole!


Well-known member
Feb 1, 2008
2009 GT1 Championship Edition

CORVETTE RACING AT LE MANS: Keating, No. 33 C8.R Take Hyperpole!
Perfect storm of tow, tires and team talent earn GTE Am pole

LE MANS, France (June 8, 2023) – A tow, tires and talent. Those all came
together Corvette Racing as Ben Keating put the No. 33 Mobil 1/SiriusXM
Chevrolet Corvette C8.R on the GTE Am pole position during Thursday’s
Hyperpole session ahead of this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Keating – teaming in the Corvette with Nicky Catsburg and Nico Varrone –
posted a best lap of 3:52.376 (131.171 mph) to take Corvette Racing’s second
straight pole position at Le Mans. The GTE Am championship-leading trio
increased their points advantage by one with the P1 finish.

The stellar work by the Corvette Racing team continued after Wednesday’s
heroics that saw Catsburg get the C8.R into Hyperpole following a fast
repair job by the crew after a crash at the end of the first practice. The
storybook result kept going even on Keating’s first lap Thursday when he
picked up a tow from another GTE car all the way down the Mulsanne Straight.
He cleared his competitor going into Mulsanne Corner to take provisional
pole after the opening flyer.

Keating improved his time slightly before a red flag halted the session with
five minutes to go. As the session went green again, Corvette Racing
engineers decided to fit the C8.R with fresh, soft compound Michelin tires –
the only team to do so during the stoppage.

Keating made the decision pay off with his best lap of the weekend and put
Corvette Racing out front to start its biggest race of the season.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is scheduled for 4 p.m. CET / 10 a.m. ET on
Saturday, June 10. MotorTrend and MotorTrend Plus will provide both live
television and streaming coverage. Radio Le Mans also will stream audio
coverage of the race.

POLE-WINNER: "I wanted to find a gap on my out-lap. I thought the GT cars
were driving really slow for having hot tires. I was thinking that we have
hot tires, it's time to push. They were all going slow and I was push, push,
push. So I had a big gap and I didn't think I would ever catch the Ferrari
ahead of me because he was so far up there. But the LMP2 cars, when they got
to the chicane, just stopped to get a window. So I was right on the Ferrari
and he gave me a perfect tow down every straight away. I passed him into
Mulsanne, and he didn't slow me down any. It was incredible and I thought
that was as good as it gets, almost to the point that I was wondering why we
were out there!

"I did a cool-down lap and the team told me that the 25 was 0.3 seconds
behind. I thought then that I'd better get it in gear! I pushed really hard
for another lap and had one in the bank because of no track limits. So I
could push a little more, and the Corvette was set up so well that I didn't
have to worry about track limits. The car went exactly where I wanted it to
go. I could push the car harder in every corner. I got better in Porsche
Curves and came over the line at 3:53.0. I didn't think there was any way
anyone was going to touch me. But we came in for the red flag, and I didn't
understand the point of putting new tires on it because I didn't think I
could improve. But it makes sense now.

"The sun had gone down and the tires really came into the window. The air
was a little cooler, and we were at bare minimum of fuel. So I got one
out-lap and then one flyer. I got the peak of the tire, the peak of low
fuel, the peak of the temperature, and I put a lap together. It was pretty
magical, especially considering how close we were to not even making
qualifying yesterday. The team did an amazing job to get the car out where
Nicky could do what we needed to get us into Hyperpole. So I'm incredibly
excited and happy for the entire team. This is the best way I can think of
to go into the race!"

Ryan Smith
Judy Kouba Dominick

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