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Feb 1, 2008
2009 GT1 Championship Edition

TF Sport drivers, team make positive steps forward in six hours of testing

LE MANS, France (June 9, 2024) – TF Sport’s pair of Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.Rs ran through a relatively trouble-free six hours of testing Sunday ahead of the coming week’s 24 Hours of Le Mans – the first appearance for the Z06 GT3.R in the French classic, as well as for the LM GT3 field in which it will compete.

Both Corvettes were firmly entrenched in the lead pack of GT3 cars following two three-hour sessions around the 8.48-mile Le Mans circuit. Sebastien Baud in the No. 82 Corvette was the quickest driver in class but only by a couple of hundredths of a second. His time of 3:59.883 (127.070 mph) in the Z06 GT3.R that he shares with Hiroshi Koizumi and factory driver Daniel Juncadella gave him a slim 0.037-second margin over the next two cars in class. The gap from Baud to the 14th-place GT3 car was only 0.774 seconds, which further shows the depth of quality in the first-year class.

Among those cars was the No. 81 Corvette Z06 GT3.R of Rui Andrade, Tom Van Rompuy and factory driver Charlie Eastwood. Andrade set the best lap of the trio – a 4:00.444 (126.760 mph) effort in the afternoon portion, as well.

The Test Day results put TF Sport in a position to continue the Corvette Racing program’s strong history at Le Mans. Corvette Racing won last year’s GTE Am race – en route to the WEC championship – in the final year of the Corvette C8.R GTE car. It capped a run of nine class victories in the race since 2000 and one of the most successful stints for a single program at Le Mans in the modern era.

TF Sport and the rest of the Le Mans field will have Monday and Tuesday to analyze data and make additional adjustments ahead of Wednesday’s first official practice sessions and qualifying, plus Thursday’s Hyperpole session to set the grid for this year’s race.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is scheduled for 4 p.m. CET / 10 a.m. ET on Saturday, June 15. MotorTrend will air live television coverage while streaming coverage on the FIA WEC app and the MAX app in the U.S., will begin Wednesday, June 12. Radio Le Mans also will stream audio coverage of all on-track sessions.


CHARLIE EASTWOOD, NO. 81 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: “There is such a big build-up to the race and a bit of anticipation of how it’s going to be. For the last few years with GTE, it’s always been the same thing time and time again. For us now, it’s a completely new tire and completely new car. I think everyone likes the fact that we have the test in and have two or three days to digest it all. If it were straight into the race weekend, it would all ramp up pretty quickly. It was pretty good today and the pace looks strong. We’re trying to get an understanding how to get the Z06 GT3.R as fast possible around Le Mans.”

(Are you satisfied?) “Absolutely. We had a lot of confidence in the car coming in. We didn’t even do an install lap; we just went straight into the run because we knew it was going to be solid, which was a relief and great. Now straight away, we’re already just fine-tuning things. We’re not going to be changing it upside-down or anything. All in all, things are pretty good.”

RUI ANDRADE, NO. 81 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: “Today was a big learning curve, having only driven around Le Mans in a P2, which has different characteristics to the Corvette. But I’m really pleased with how it went. The car feels incredible and suits the track really well. In the morning, the track was pretty dirty but the team made some good adjustments. I’m feeling strong and we had some strong runs toward the end between myself and Seb. The pace was strong, and I’m pretty happy with the balance. A place like Le Mans is all about feeling and confidence. You need that confidence to attack the corners with high speeds. It’s the kind of place where if you make a small mistake, the race can be over. So having a day like this where you feel so comfortable from the beginning and you can just push. This car gives you that confidence. This is a good first step for us."

TOM VAN ROMPUY, NO. 81 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: “The first laps are now complete, so the first milestone is complete for this big race at Le Mans. I’m happy with that. I was able to explore the track with this fabulous Corvette GT3, and it was great. There are some small things where we need to work on and improve. But already I feel like we already are in a strong window. I’m confident that we will keep working and improving for the first session Wednesday. Everyone has little things to work on. But even with those things for us, I believe we are in a strong spot. I’m very happy.”

DANI JUNCADELLA, NO. 82 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: “It’s my debut in Le Mans, and this was fun. It looks exactly the same like in my iRacing simulator, so that was pretty cool because I’ve done many laps on there. I was able to get up to speed quite quickly thanks to that. The car feels very nice so far. My teammates are doing well so far. Hiroshi made an improvement of six seconds from this morning, which is encouraging. It does feel special being part of Le Mans with the atmosphere. But to be honest, nothing really caught me by surprise. It just looks so similar (to the simulator)… I was like, ‘I’ve been here. I know this.’ So that was very telling and quite cool.”

SEBASTIEN BAUD, NO. 82 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: “For me, today I realized a very big dream. I started in motorsport 10 years ago… my dream was to be at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. And my second dream was to drive a Corvette. Today was very good because the car was a pleasure to drive. The feeling was incredible, just like it was at the start of the season. My first time coming out of pitlane this morning, I had a big smile on my face. It was crazy to realize my dream. Now I’m focused on the race. This is just the pre-event test so the pressure will come a little more for practice and qualifying Wednesday. We will all stay connected with the team the next couple of days because this is very important to me as this is part of endurance racing.”

HIROSHI KOIZUMI, NO. 82 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: “I am very happy with today. My goal was to learn this car on this track and not make mistakes. I feel I did that and even beat my personal target for laptime. It was nice to get a lot of green flag time. This was not the case last year when I did Michelin Le Mans Cup. I am happy and I think the team is happy, too. I am more excited now for Wednesday and the race.”

Ryan Smith
Judy Kouba Dominick

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