The No. 33 Corvette Racing C8.R, driven by Nicky Catsburg, Ben Keating and Nico Varrone, put forth a valiant effort at the 24 Hours of Le Mans on the weekend of June 10th through 11th, 2023, finishing 26th overall, but scoring the victory in the GTE Am class.
Things got a little interesting for the Chevrolet team early on, as only a few hours in, the front suspension of the No. 33 Corvette Racing C8.R began to act up. Catsburg, who was at the wheel at the time, brought the No. 33 Corvette to the attention of the crew, who replaced a shock to correct the issue before sending the race car back out, last in the GTE Am division.
After a series of well-timed pit stops, the No. 33 Corvette muscled back into competition and took command of the GTE Am lead. Other participants in the division suffered crashes or needed repairs, giving Corvette Racing just the window it needed in order to stay out front.
“All of our strategy completely went out the window,” Keating explained of the broken shock on the C8.R racer. “We had everything lined up and planned exactly how we were going to do it. Nico got sick and I didn’t plan on doing any driving [at night], and I ended up driving from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. I didn’t plan on doing any driving in the rain, and I ended up having a stint in the rain. Everything got turned on its head. It turned out that it was exactly what we needed to get our laps back. The way we won it is special. To feel like it was out of reach and then watch this team claw back and get victory out defeat’s grasp was really special.”
— Corvette Racing (@CorvetteRacing) June 11, 2023
It’s worth noting that last weekend’s Le Mans race was the last in which a factory backed Corvette Racing team will compete, as General Motors is abandoning the program upon conclusion of the 2023 racing season.