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Feb 1, 2008
2009 GT1 Championship Edition
Press Release

CORVETTE RACING AT MONZA: A Corvette Championship!

Catsburg, Keating, Varrone wrap up GTE Am title in No. 33 C8.R

MONZA, Italy (July 9, 2023) – Campionato, Corvette!

Corvette Racing clinched the GTE Am Drivers and Teams titles in the FIA World Endurance Championship on Sunday with a fourth-place finish at the Six Hours of Monza for the trio of Nicky Catsburg, Ben Keating and Nico Varrone. The No. 33 Corvette C8.R team finished ahead of its closest championship competitors to wrap up the program’s first title in WEC competition.

It’s been a dream season for Corvette Racing with three victories – the 24 Hours of Le Mans, 1000 Miles of Sebring and Six Hours Portimão – in addition to a runner-up finish at the Six Hours of Spa.

"Congratulations to Ben Keating, Nicky Catsburg and Nico Varrone on their championship in the first year for Corvette Racing in the World Endurance Championship’s GTE Am class,” said Mark Stielow, Director, Chevrolet Motorsports Competition Engineering. “This was not an easy accomplishment despite the results this season. The strategy and execution by the entire Corvette Racing team – the drivers, the crew and the engineers – has been excellent throughout the season. This was a deep and competitive class and we are grateful that Corvette Racing has come out on top. It gives us great momentum going into the end of the season and 2024 when the Corvette Z06 GT3.R customer program arrives in WEC."

There were a number of scenarios in play to clinch the title. The most straight-forward options were to win or finish second Sunday, or place ahead of its two nearest challengers – the No. 25 TF Sport and No. 85 Iron Dames entries. The latter worked just fine.

Keating set the tone for the Corvette team early. He started sixth but picked up spots on consecutive laps to run third prior to a safety-car period at the 15-minute mark. The Corvette crew elected to bring the C8.R into pitlane for a fuel top-off. By the time Keating made his second stop at 80 minutes running, he had worked his way back up to second as the varying pit strategies came into view.

He gave way to Varrone just past the two-hour mark but a rare in-race mistake meant the C8.R was called in for a drive-through penalty due to speeding in the pitlane. Varrone slid back to sixth but steadily worked his way back to the lead with strong pace and the pit stop cycle. By the time his driving time was complete just prior to the four-hour mark, the C8.R ran third but less than four seconds from the leader.

Catsburg drove the final 92 minutes but was unable to make in-roads to the podium finishers – all of which were from the same manufacturer and ran more than 100 pounds lighter than the Corvette. The C8.R carried 40 additional kilograms of “success ballast” in accordance with GTE Am sporting rules. That is due to the victory in the previous race at Le Mans, 10 kilograms for taking the runner-up spot at Spa (the race prior to Le Mans) and another 15 for leading the championship. In addition, the C8.R received 10 additional kilograms of pre-event weight by the rules-makers, making the Corvette 50 kilograms (110 pounds) heavier than how it began the season at Sebring.

The next round for Corvette Racing in the FIA WEC is the Six Hours of Fuji on Sunday, September 10.

NICKY CATSBURG, NO. 33 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FIA WEC GTE AM CHAMPION: “Honestly, this season might have been one of my nicest in motorsport. It has been so cool, right from the start. It was always very relaxed with not a lot of pressure. Somehow the results just kept coming. I cannot deny that we have a great car, a great team and we have an awesome lineup. But we still need to execute, and I feel like we did that really well. Today I feel like we should have come away with a podium. We got a little bit unlucky with some of the safety car situations, but we did great. It’s super, super cool to be able to call myself a World Champion. I think I had won it before with a team but not as a driver. So I’m really, really happy!”

BEN KEATING, NO. 33 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FIA WEC GTE AM CHAMPION: “I’ve said it over and over, but in this championship and in each one of the five races we’ve had, it has been a true team performance overall. You win as a team and you lose as a team, but we’ve also been lucky in quite a lot of places. It’s just been a magical season. Everyone kept talking about us needing to finish first or second in order to clinch the championship here. I kept saying it was more about where the 25 and 85 finished rather than where we finished. We weren’t really racing for that. We were racing to be as far up in the order as we possibly could be. We had a really good race. It’s been an amazing season. I keep on joking that because we’ve finished fourth, we get to lose 10 kilograms in success ballast! Now we can really start pushing hard because we don’t have to be conservative. Just kidding! It’s been a great season. I’m really proud of everyone on the Corvette Racing team.”

NICO VARRONE, NO. 33 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FIA WEC GTE AM CHAMPION:“This means quite a lot. It feels very weird at the moment but means so much. To say that we are World Champions is just an amazing feeling. I’ve been working for this since I was 8 years old and started driving karts. I didn’t imagine it was going to be so early. As Ben said, this was all teamwork all season. We’ve all done a great job – the three of us as teammates, the engineers and the pit crew has been amazing. We did a fantastic job. Today we weren’t racing for the win and couldn’t make it. But finishing fourth and sealing the title already with two rounds to go is just amazing.”

LAURA WONTROP KLAUSER, GM SPORTS CAR RACING PROGRAM MANAGER: "How cool is this? The Corvette Racing team joined the WEC full-time last year to learn the championship and had some great successes. We enjoyed it so much and had an opportunity this year with Ben, Nicky and Nico to have a Corvette in the GTE Am class. This group couldn't say no! Now to be able to walk away champions and win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the final year of GTE and the C8.R is a dream come true."

Ryan Smith
Judy Kouba Dominick

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