Corvette Racing brought it home in seventh place at Bahrain on November 4th, 2023, marking the end of the organization’s stint as a factory-backed program in the WEC – and also the final competition outing for the C8.R race car.
Tag-teamed by Nicky Catsburg, Ben Keating and Nico Varrone, the No. 33 Corvette Racing C8.R qualified fifth in its class, but several factors put a damper on what might have been an otherwise stellar performance. Not only was the No. 33 ‘Vette 15 pounds heavier than its competition in the GTE Am class, it was also subject to a reduction in horsepower before the event in the interest of competition.
Keating had control of the No. 33 Vette when a multicar incident involved several race cars, forcing him to avoid it. However, he rallied up to fourth place after a round of pit stops. Varrone was able to keep the race car near the front during his stints before Catsburg assumed control in the latter stages of the eight-hour race. Catsburg surged back onto the racing surface in eighth, but was only able to put one more car in the rearview before the race was over, ultimately finishing seventh.
“On the cool-down lap, I was thanking [the team] and I realized that the stuff we accomplished this year was really cool,” said Catsburg after the race. “We did it with two races to go but that doesn’t make tonight any less special. I’m super happy and super proud of the entire team, and I can’t wait to work them again in America next season.”
Keating commented on his early-race incident, stating, “I lost a lot of positions but avoided any contact. It was a green and clean race, and unfortunately we didn’t have the pace this weekend. I think it was the price for having really good strategy all year. It was a magical season and a magical time – the last race for GTE, the last race for me with Corvette Racing and the last race for me in World Endurance Championship.”