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Feb 1, 2008
2009 GT1 Championship Edition
CORVETTE RACING AT LE MANS: TF Sport Sees the Checkered Flag

Both Corvette Z06 GT3.Rs finish full 24 hours in treacherous LMGT3 battle

LE MANS, France (June 16, 2024) – TF Sport and the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.R program achieved the goal of completing the 24 Hours of Le Mans on Sunday as the pair of first-year GT3 Corvettes completed the full race in a challenging and treacherous 24-hour battle.

Both Corvettes combined to complete 545 laps for 4,616 miles in the race. It wasn’t just the first Le Mans for the Corvette GT3 entry but also the first in the French classic for the TF Sport/Chevrolet partnership.

The No. 82 Corvette of Hiroshi Koizumi, Sebastien Baud and Corvette factory driver Daniel Juncadella led the TF Sport effort with an 11th-place finish after starting 18th and completed 278 laps in the LMGT3 class. The No. 81 sister car of Tom Van Rompuy, Rui Andrade and factory driver Daniel Juncadella placed 15th as Porsche took the class win.

This was the second 24-hour race for the Z06 GT3.R this year, the first coming at the Rolex 24 At Daytona to open the IMSA season. Le Mans also marked the fourth round of this year’s FIA World Endurance Championship.

Weather played a role in multiple parts of the race, which put a premium on limiting mistakes and staying on track. For a large majority, that’s what the TF Sport team did even in a couple of treacherous conditions. The most notable was a four-hour-plus safety car period due to heavy rain that started just shy of halfway.

Bronze-rated drivers Van Rompuy (No. 81 Corvette) and Koizumi (No. 82 Z06 GT3.R) were at the wheel for the bulk of the safety car period. The cars circulated the circuit at 80 kph until the rains let up enough for the field to safely return to racing.

The lengthy period did allow Van Rompuy and Koizumi to complete a bulk of their six-hour minimum drive time – a requirement for Bronze and Silver drivers. Both continued to put in solid laps before the race’s only significant issue struck with Eastwood at the wheel of the No. 81 Corvette – a power system problem that the team eventually rectified but not before losing more than 10 laps.

Other than that, the cars and teams ran like clockwork, even in challenging weather early and a late rain shower that was heavy enough for the team to change to wet-weather tires with two hours to go.

The only other significant issues for the No. 81 Corvette was a trip to the garage to change the nose of the car during the race’s first safety car period near the eight-hour mark. On the No. 82 side, a couple of minor off-track excursions and a clutch system issue were the only items of note in the first two-thirds of the race.

The next race for TF Sport in the FIA World Endurance Championship is the Six Hours of São Paulo (Brazil) on Sunday, July 14.


CHARLIE EASTWOOD, NO. 81 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: “I’m happy to get to the end of the race. It threw close to everything at us, especially with the weather and conditions. There were a lot of tricky stints. There wasn’t a single stint in full dry conditions, which I can’t believe in a 24-hour race. All in all, I’m super proud of everyone for all of the work that has been happening – both from the GM and Corvette Racing side but also TF Sport. The rate of development that we’ve had with this car in this space of six months has been insane. Hopefully the development continues and we come back here next year even stronger.”

RUI ANDRADE, NO. 81 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: "We were just unlucky today, and this is how Le Mans is. It usually brings everything at you. I think we had a solid run – no mistakes by the drivers or teams. We weren’t the fastest car in the class, but we were definitely maximizing what we had. Unfortunately these things happen. The car ran faultlessly for most of the race. After the power hiccup, we continued to fight back. There are a lot of positives to take away from this race.”

TOM VAN ROMPUY, NO. 81 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: “I’m happy that we brought the car home. Obviously we always hope for more, but that means only one thing: come back stronger next year. But here we did all we could which was in our hands. I’m happy to make it to the finish after all the things that were thrown at us with the conditions and the weather. Now it’s time for a good sleep!”

DANIEL JUNCADELLA, NO. 82 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: “We made it to the end, which is an amazing accomplishment. We lost the clutch six or seven hours in, so that was quite insane. I’m very happy with the result considering some of the difficulties today. We got behind by three laps but finished two laps back, so that is encouraging. All in all, it was a great first experience for me at Le Mans. I had a lot of driving in all conditions, and the Corvette handled very good. It actually got better throughout the race, and I’m quite happy with that. Thanks to TF Sport, the guys at GM Corvette Racing and Pratt Miller for all their work this week. It’s such a pleasure to be part of such a big program. I’m looking forward to many more.”

SEBASTIEN BAUD, NO. 82 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: “We have finished Le Mans in the “Rookie Car” with Dani and Hiroshi! So I am happy for this and it is good for my experience and to keep developing the Corvette. Of course I’m a competitor and I would have liked a better result in LMGT3. But P11 isn’t too bad. I hope we come back next year to improve because I think the car is good around here. We had some problems with top speed and mechanically with the clutch. It was difficult to manage and keep moving up. But the team kept fighting back, and myself, Dani and Hiroshi pushed a lot. I liked Le Mans, I like his place and I like all the fans here. It’s amazing, and the car is so nice around this track. I hope we keep continuing to improve, and my goal continues to be winning a race this year with Corvette.”

HIROSHI KOIZUMI, NO. 82 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: “First off all, it’s good to finish the race. At the beginning, it wasn’t planned that I would drive at night. I had no practice during the week. The plan was to have Dani and Seb drive those hours. But getting in the car at that time of night and in the rain was challenging. As a team sport, my job is to keep the car safe and give it to my teammates. And I feel that I did that. Motorsports and racing at this level, it’s not easy to get a good result especially at Le Mans. But I hope I can try this race again with Dani and Seb as my partners.”

Ryan Smith
Judy Kouba Dominick

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