|Key additions to bolster first year of Corvette Z06 GT3.R program DETROIT (November 13, 2023) – Ahead of its first season of worldwide GT3 competition, Corvette Racing is expanding its roster of factory drivers that will compete in championships and events around the globe with the new Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.R.|
Daniel Juncadella, Earl Bamber, Charlie Eastwood and Nico Varrone will be part of the group that will race Corvette Z06 GT3.Rs in either the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, FIA World Endurance Championship – or in some cases both.
They join existing Corvette factory drivers Antonio Garcia, Tommy Milner, Nicky Catsburg and Alexander Sims, all of whom will contest the full WeatherTech Championship season. The eight collectively will compete as factory drivers for Corvette Racing – the brand that encompasses all factory-supported and customer Z06 GT3.R efforts going forward.
Juncadella and Bamber each will be part of Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports’ two-car effort in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GT Daytona (GTD) PRO class. Both drivers will race with the factory-backed program in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans. Juncadella will drive with Garcia and Sims while Bamber joins Milner and Catsburg.
In addition, Juncadella will have the distinction of driving the Z06 GT3.R in two championships as he joins TF Sport for its full-season effort in the LM GT3 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship – including the 24 Hours of Le Mans – his first year in the global series.
Bamber will contest IMSA’s endurance rounds in the Z06 GT3.R. Previously a long-time rival to the Corvette Racing program, Bamber already has tested the Z06 GT3.R, adding to a long list of GT3 cars he has driven throughout his career. He also remains under contract for Cadillac Racing’s WEC program in 2024.
In FIA WEC, Eastwood joins the Corvette factory lineup alongside Juncadella as TF Sport’s two professional drivers. It’s a familiar relationship for Eastwood, who has driven for TF Sport in the championship from 2018-20 and the current season.
Varrone, Corvette Racing’s rising star in this year’s FIA WEC, will transition to full-time IMSA duties in his first year as a factory driver. He rejoins AWA – a team with which he won this year’s Rolex 24 At Daytona in the LMP3 class – and will partner with Anthony Mantella in the GTD category.
“As we move into GT3 and customer racing, it is important that we add to our roster of drivers that are available to teams,” said Christie Bagne, Corvette Z06 GT3.R program manager. “We are excited about the wealth of experience in our Corvette factory lineup. Both GM and our teams will benefit from the learnings from each driver.”
|Career Highlights· Daniel Juncadella: 2023 Rolex 24 At Daytona and Petit Le Mans GTD PRO winner; 2022 Spa 24 Hours and Indianapolis Eight Hours winner; 2022 GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup champion; 2012 European F3 champion; 2011 Macau Grand Prix winner· Earl Bamber: 2023 Nürburgring 24 Hours winner; 2022, 2020 Sebring 12 Hours winner; 2020 Spa 24 Hours winner; 2019 IMSA GTLM champion; 2015 and 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours overall winner; 2017 World Endurance Championship LMP1 champion; 2014 and 2016 Bathurst 12 Hours class winner· Charlie Eastwood: 2023 Asian Le Mans Series LMP2 champion; 2022 European Le Mans Series LMP2 Pro-Am champion; 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours GTE Am winner; 2019 Spa 24 Hours winner; 2019 Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup Pro-Am champion· Nico Varrone: 2023 FIA World Endurance Championship GTE Am champion; 2023 Le Mans 24 Hours GTE Am winner; 2023 Sebring 1,000 Miles GTE Am winner; 2023 Rolex 24 At Daytona LMP3 winner|
Corvette Racing Driver QuotesDANIEL JUNCADELLA, CORVETTE RACING BY PRATT MILLER MOTORSPORTS (IMSA ENDUROS) / TF SPORT (FIA WEC FULL-TIME): “I’ve been a witness to what it means to be a Corvette driver in the U.S. That’s means a really big fanbase. That’s pretty exciting, to be honest. At every autograph session in IMSA that I’ve been sitting next to the Corvette tent, there is a queue of 100 people waiting to get an autograph from their drivers, and we were just sitting around! That’s very exciting, I have to say, to see the legacy that Corvette Racing has created in the U.S. and to see the amount of awareness about the brand is very exciting. It makes me proud and it feels quite unique to be a Corvette factory driver.”On the FIA WEC: “I have not been to Le Mans. I did watch a lot of this year’s race. I was already in talks with Corvette so I knew it might be one of my possibilities for next year, and that made me be more interested in the race. This year obviously was a big year for Hypercar and all the brands coming together with the new regulations. It was an interesting year with a lot of stuff – the Centenary, the last year of GTE… I have to say I was a bit worried that Corvette was winning again because I was like, ‘They are winning so much this year that it’s going to make it difficult for me next year being so successful.’ But it did make me realize how good of a brand they are, how good of a team they are and how they turned things around. It was very exciting.”
EARL BAMBER, CORVETTE RACING BY PRATT MILLER MOTORSPORTS: “It’s really exciting to be joining Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports for the long races. I’ve been a part of some big rivalries for many years in IMSA racing. But this organization has won so many races and championships… it’s really impressive. When I did my first test at Road America, you could see why they’ve been so successful. I’ve driven the Z06 GT3.R and I think the package is really good. These guys have built fantastic GTLM cars over the years, and I don’t see why the Corvette GT3 should be any different. It’s a well-balanced car already just in its infancy, so I think they will be a formidable force not just in IMSA but also as this program seeks out to go all around the world. I think it will be one of the benchmark cars into the future.”
CHARLIE EASTWOOD, TF SPORT: “This certainly ranks up there for me, joining such a brand like Corvette and an organization like GM. It’s what so many drivers wish for their whole career. It seems to be an amazing place to be, and you can see that because so many drivers stay for so long. I’m really looking forward to that opportunity to learn from the best in the business and push on together to achieve great things for many years to come.”(Being back with TF Sport): “It’s really beneficial. Obviously, this is a brand-new car with new regulations going to GT3 from GTE, so knowing all the team and the engineers already I feel like it can give us the upper hand in how quickly we can develop a brand-new car. It’s a short timeframe between receiving the car and only a few days testing before we get to Qatar. We need to make sure that we’re making the most out of the time that we have together. Knowing all the personnel and the engineers, I hope that will put us in a really good place going into the first round at Qatar.”
NICO VARRONE, AWA: “First of all, it’s a big honor to be a factory driver for Corvette. It’s also nice to be back in IMSA next season with everyone at AWA. These are people that I know from this year and doing the endurance races in LMP3. It was a good year. We won Daytona and had great performances throughout the season. It will be a big challenge with the new car, not only for our team but everyone in the entire Corvette program. But this is also a completely new class for AWA. It will be a challenge but we will be prepared to make the most of it and get some wins with the Corvette Z06 GT3.R and have a great season.”