In just a few short weeks, Corvette Racing will make its glorious return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans where the team will attempt to hold on to their winning title for another year. But things have changed a bit for this year’s race, with the team implementing new bodywork and suspension changes for the C6.R and bringing on rookie driver Jordan Taylor for the famed endurance race. But, as we found out from Corvette Racing, 21-year-old Taylor will have to prove himself in the upcoming Le Mans Test Day to get a chance to drive the daddy of all endurance races; a sort of rite of passage for the young driver.
The test day on June 3rd will not be the first time that Taylor has been to Le Mans. As the son of championship and 1998 LMP1 class Le Mans winning driver Wayne Taylor, Jordan Taylor attended the 24 hour race back in 2001 as a 10-year-old child, knowing then that driving in Le Mans was a lifelong goal.
“I went to Le Mans in 2001 and 2002 to watch my Dad drive in the race,” Taylor said in a Corvette Racing news update. “I remember going around the track, seeing the cars at Indianapolis corner, watching the drivers’ parade, and taking it all in. I thought how amazing it would be to someday compete in the race.”
Eleven years later, Taylor will be back at the track, only this time alongside Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia with the No. 73 Compuware C6.R Corvette Racing car.
In order to drive in the 24 hour race come June 16th and 17th, Taylor will have to complete at least 10, 8.5-mile laps at the famed track on the June 3rd test day. This should be no problem since Taylor finished second in the 2011 Grand-Am Sports Car Series GT championship race before coming to Corvette Racing, as well as taking the lead in the GT class in his first stint at his Corvette Racing debut at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring back in March.
In addition to welcoming Jordan for his first professional 24 Hours of Le Mans driving experience, Corvette Racing will also be using the Le Mans Test Day to get some practice in the new wide-body C6.R. The new Corvette setup includes a revised body design, updated suspension, enhanced aero package, and new Michelin tires optimized for the Le Mans course. The test day will be the only opportunity for Corvette Racing to have the new cars on the track before practice and qualifying starts on June 13th.
“With the new bodywork and suspension, we need to test the Corvette C6.R’s straight-line speed, evaluate the balance in braking zones and high-speed corner entries, and run through all of the different Michelin tire options,” No.74 C6.R driver Oliver Gavin explained in a Corvette Racing news release. “Of course we want to be fast, we want to be quick, but there is a list of things we want to tick off – make sure the car is reliable, consistent, and comfortable for the drivers.” Gavin will join Richard Westbrook and Tommy Milner to pilot the No. 74 C6.R at Le Mans this year.
With busy travel schedules for both Taylor and Westbrook, who will both be competing in the Grand-Am Series races on June 2nd, June 8th-9th, and June 21st-23rd here in the states in addition to their Le Mans preparations, Corvette Racing is bound to have a hectic few weeks. We wish the team luck with their upcoming Le Mans Test Day, as well as their following practice and qualifying schedule, and we look forward to seeing Corvette Racing battle it out for the top position at Le Mans once again come June 16th.
For more information on the test day and Taylor’s first Le Mans Test Day and subsequent race, check out CorvetteRacing.com. And be sure to check out this awesome video of what it’s like to be behind the wheel of the 2011 Le Mans winning Corvette C6.R.