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

in Forum: C6 Corvette Racing

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CORVETTE RACING AT LE MANS: Sixteen-Hour Report (1/1)
 6/16/24 2:51am
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Joined: 11/1/2010
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Heavy rains impact race’s running but Corvettes still circulating in challenging conditions

LE MANS, France (June 16, 2024) – Rain threw a wrench in the running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans with TF Sport’s pair of Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.R continuing to circulate throughout the night in the car’s first appearance in the French endurance classic. 

The two Corvettes ran 14th and 17th after 16 hours in the LMGT3 class race that wasn’t a race for nearly four hours in the middle part of the contest. Heavy rain pelted the circuit just before the halfway, and as a result race officials called for the field to fall in line behind one of three safety cars around the 8.47-mile circuit.

Bronze-rated drivers Tom Van Rompuy (No. 81 Corvette) and Hiroshi Koizumi (No. 82 Z06 GT3.R) were at the wheel for a 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. That left teammates Charlie Eastwood and Rui Andrade in the No. 81 and Daniel Juncadella and Sebastien Baud in the No. 82 to drive the remaining eight hours between them.

The only 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 bleed of the clutch system were the only items of note in the first two-thirds of the race.

The next scheduled update from Corvette Racing and TF Sport will come following the conclusion of the race.


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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