C7.R in camouflage (photo courtesy of GM)
Corvette Racing officially debuted its new Corvette C7.R racecar on Thursday in Detroit, along with an impressive driving roster for the 2014 endurance racing season.
The team will field eight drivers across 12 races around the globe in the new C7.R that will compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the inaugural season of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
The cornerstones of the program are the four full-season drivers that are unchanged from a year ago. Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen last year’s GT champions in the American Le Mans Series are back together after leading the category with three victories. Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner third in the ALMS GT championship in 2013 with two wins after taking the class title in 2012 will drive the other Corvette.
The endurance roster for 2014 sees a mix of familiar faces and newcomers to the Corvette Racing program. IndyCar and sports car ace Ryan Briscoe joins Robin Liddell for the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring as part of the GT Le Mans category. At the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, Jordan Taylor and Richard Westbrook return for the team in the GTE Pro class.
“The 2014 season will be thrilling for Corvette Racing enthusiasts with the debut of the new Corvette C7.R,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. Vice President, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “The C7.R will debut with a roster of drivers who bring high levels of experience and a team-first mentality that can help Corvette Racing succeed in the world’s most challenging endurance events.”
Briscoe will partner with Garcia and Magnussen in the No. 3 Corvette C7.R for his first taste of GT-spec racing.
The Aussie, who has won nine times in ALMS prototype competition with Penske Racing and Level 5 Motorsports, will make his first appearance in the C7.R at the Roar Before the 24 on Jan. 3-5.
“It’s an honor to get the opportunity to run Daytona and Sebring with Corvette Racing. I’ve often been pitted
alongside the Corvette team (in the ALMS), and I’ve long idolized them. It’s an amazing group of guys that run
two amazing cars. I was always a little envious of the guys driving them, and now I get a shot to. So I’m really
excited about it. I know Jan and Antonio really well. I should be able to slot into the team pretty well.
“The closest thing I’ve raced to the Corvette is the V8 Supercars in Australia. The Corvettes will be a much higher
performance car as far as cornering. Honestly, having raced around the Corvettes before, they aren’t far off the
pace of the prototypes I raced in the P2 class the last couple years. They are really quick and have great tires.
They look like they brake really well. But this is really my first time racing in the GT-spec class. The competition
is going to be unbelievably strong, as it always is in GT. But I’m really looking forward to getting a feel for the
new C7.R on the track. It’s a beautiful looking car. Hopefully it’s as strong as it looks.”
Liddell drove for Stevenson Motorsports in a Camaro GT.R as part of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series the past six seasons. He won 18 times with a highest finish of second three times in the Rolex Series GT championship. In the ALMS, Liddell won seven times driving both prototype and GT cars.
While full-season duties in the TUDOR Championship’s prototype class precludes them from competing for
Corvette Racing in the U.S., the familiarity of Taylor and Westbrook with the program at Le Mans is a boost for
a team seeking its eighth class win there since 2001. Westbrook will race for fourth time at Le Mans with
Corvette Racing and Taylor his third.
“We feel this roster will be extremely competitive,” said Mark Kent, Director of Chevrolet Racing. “This is a
program that embraces continuity and teamwork in all areas. It is a key to success in motorsports evidenced by the roster of drivers who will compete at Le Mans against the most challenging competition in endurance racing. We also welcome championship talents Ryan Briscoe and Robin Liddell to the Corvette Racing program for the opening two races of an exciting new chapter in sports car racing.”