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Topic: CORVETTE RACING AT LE MANS: Eight-Hour Report

in Forum: C6 Corvette Racing

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CORVETTE RACING AT LE MANS: Eight-Hour Report (1/1)
 6/15/24 8:19pm
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Joined: 11/1/2010
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TF Sport Corvette Z06 GT3.Rs running strong as 24 Hours heads into darkness

LE MANS, France (June 15, 2024) – TF Sport charged into darkness at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with its two Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.R still in the hunt for LMGT3 honors during the car’s first appearance at the French classic.

The clock struck midnight at the eight-hour mark with TF Sport’s No. 81 Corvette of Charlie Eastwood running 18th of 23 cars in class just after a restart following the race’s first safety car. It marked a bit of reversal of fortunes for the trio of Eastwood, Tom Van Rompuy and Rui Andrade, which started toward the back of the grid but pushed toward the top-10 in the race’s opening stages.

Van Rompuy, the Bronze-rated driver in the No. 81 Corvette, drove the opening stint and handed over to factory driver Eastwood as early rain began to fall on parts of the circuits. Eastwood was able to make up time and overtake a handful of cars to 12th by the time he finished his run. Andrade followed with a double-stint before the cycle began again.

Sebastien Baud was in the No. 82 Corvette, which ran 19th at midnight. Daniel Juncadella began seventh but suffered from a straight-line speed deficit and fell back before handing over to Hiroshi Koizumi, who had a tough job in the mixed conditions. Baud followed for his first stint before all three cycled back through before the safety car came out.

The next update from Corvette Racing and TF Sport will come at the 18-hour mark.


CHARLIE EASTWOOD, NO. 81 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: "Our thought process going into the race ended up paying off pretty well. We expected there to be mixed conditions a couple of hours into the race, and it fell in our favor. With that, I was able to capitalize on some of the Bronzes and things ahead to try to build a gap to them and put us in the mix of the race. We're struggling on pace but so much can happen with more rain later. We need to make sure we make all the right calls, stay out of trouble and make sure we're there at the end."

(On traffic): "It was surprisingly bad. Everyone in Hypercar is at 110 percent. They were diving in with moves in Porsche Curves that normally you wouldn't expect at this hour of the race. But everyone knows if you build a gap at Le Mans, it's pretty hard to close it. So it was difficult out there because the rain, some of the P2s had wet tires on, some of them had Bronze drivers in, so I was following a couple of them when it was raining because I had the same pace. It was a busy first stint but good to get the first one out of the way. Now we'll press on and try to keep moving forward."

RUI ANDRADE, NO. 81 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: "It was a tough double-stint for me with a little bit of rain just there in the middle. The track was greasy and slippery with low, low grip. It was a balance. With the track-limit rule we have now, we're only allowed 10 for the whole 24 hours. So it's very hard to be on the limit and not make mistakes. It's a long race so we have to be smart and think ahead. I'm happy to get everyone through the first rotations. We're taking steps up in the classifications with no mistakes. Hopefully it keeps going that way. We'll see where we are tomorrow."

(On traffic) "I think the P2 cars have a lot of respect toward us. Some of the Hyper-cars have a lot less patience. We've seen at other tracks where they don't give us enough space and it leads to mistakes. We always have to watch out for that, but luckily so far everything has been OK. Maybe one or two close calls but nothing too dramatic. We are hoping to just stay clean."

TOM VAN ROMPUY, NO. 81 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: "It was a tricky first stint. The track was very low on grip, so I think most people struggled a bit. We struggled more also on the straights compared to the others. But my first double-stint is done. I think we made a good call to let me start because we have gained some positions compared to other teams who had to put in their Bronzes at the start of the rain. There is a long way to go. We'll keep this strategy up, stay out of trouble and see where we are later."

DANI JUNCADELLA, NO. 82 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: "That was a better run than before and good. But still the biggest limitation is fighting against the others on the straight. We can't really overtake other cars. When I'm by myself, the car is very quick. It's really good in the corners. It's nice to drive but it's a shame we are a bit powerless on the straights. It's going to rain at some point, so we need to stay on the lead lap. That is the hardest bit. If we can manage to do that, things can shuffle overnight and will make things interesting. That's the goal right now."

HIROSHI KOIZUMI, NO. 82 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: "My first Le Mans stint was very difficult. The conditions were very tough because of the rain. I did not know how wet or dry it was ahead of me so I had to be careful. I did stop when it was still wet but the car is fine and everything is OK."

Ryan Smith
Judy Kouba Dominick

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