Corvette Racing at 2011Petit Le Mans - Anne Proffit photoEnlarge Photo
Corvette Racing will return to the American Le Mans Series in 2012, seeking a ninth championship and will also be trying for an eighth victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. After earning victory in the GTE Pro class at Le Mans and runner-up results in the ALMS GT team and driver championships in 2011, Corvette Racing has focused on improving all aspects of its performance as it prepares a brace of Compuware Corvette C6.R race cars for the 2012 season.
The Corvette team has revised its driver lineup to meld youth and experience. Full season drivers are returning pilots Oliver Gavin, Jan Magnussen and Tommy Milner; Antonio Garcia joins as a full-season driver for this year (he worked the endurance contests for Corvette Racing in the past). Richard Westbrook returns as third driver in the Sebring, Le Mans and Petit Le Mans endurance events, joined by Jordan Taylor.
"The level of competition in the 2011 American Le Mans Series GT category was intense," said Mark Kent, GM Racing director. "We expect it to be just as fierce in 2012. Corvette Racing has been working hard over the winter to develop a complete package of cars, drivers, team and technology that will be able to win in this extremely competitive environment."
Jordan Taylor - courtesy Corvette RacingEnlarge Photo
Jordan Taylor, the 20-year-old son of championship-winning driver Wayne Taylor, is the 23rd driver to compete for Corvette Racing. A resident of Apopka, FL, Taylor literally grew up at race tracks. He made his pro debut in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series in 2008 and earned a runner-up finish in last year's Rolex GT championship, driving the Autohaus Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, just two points away from the title. Taylor will continue to drive in the Rolex series with Autohaus in addition to his Corvette Racing endurance contest assignments.
"We have watched Jordan develop as a fine young driver of the years," Kent said, "and when he had an opportunity to test for Corvette Racing, his performance was very impressive. He is totally dedicated to racing, gives great feedback, understands how to interpret data and knows how to make changes to the car and his driving style to suit the conditions.
"Jordan has tremendous potential and we see this opportunity as an investment in the team's future," Kent continued. "I also want to acknowledge the contributions of Olivier Beretta to Corvette Racing. Olivier was a valued member of the team and he played a key role in our success in the ALMS and at Le Mans. Although we have parted company with Olivier, we'll look forward to seeing him at the race track, and we wish him all the best in the future."
A student at the University of Central Florida Jordan Taylor remarked, "Corvette Racing is one of the most iconic names in motorsports, and joining this team is a huge opportunity for me. There are certainly going to be challenges as I learn the capabilities of the Corvette C6.R race cars, become familiar with the team, adapt to new tracks and race with new competitors. It's going to be amazing to race a Corvette at Sebring, Le Mans and Road Atlanta. I can't wait to get started!"
GM Racing has a longstanding association with the Taylor family that reaches back to the days of the Chevrolet Intrepid GTP, Oldsmobile Aurora WSC and Cadillac LMP programs. Wayne Taylor Racing currently competes in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series with the new Corvette Daytona Prototype. The team was fastest over the recent Roar Before The Rolex 24 three-day test.
"Corvette Racing starts every season with the same objectives: to capture the ALMS GT championship and to win at Le Mans," Kent declared. "We've never worked harder to achieve those goals. The entire team is energized and excited, and the strength o the competition drives us to strive for continuous improvement."
Corvette Racing takes part in the Sebring Winter Test at Sebring International Raceway on February 8-9, preparing for the season-opening 60th anniversary Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring on March 17. The team has two automatic invitations to qualify for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and will return to the French circuit for the 80th running of the classic endurance race on June 16-17.