Ahead of its first season of worldwide GT3 competition, Corvette Racing has announced an expansion its factory driver roster 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 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, who departs Mercedes-AMG after a lengthy stint with the German manufacturer, 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 LMGT3 class.
“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,” Juncadella said. “It makes me proud and it feels quite unique to be a Corvette factory driver.”
Bamber will contest selected WeatherTech Championship 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.
The Kiwi also remains under contract for Cadillac Racing’s WEC program in 2024.
“It’s really exciting to be joining Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports for the long races,” Bamber said. “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.”
In 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.
“This certainly ranks up there for me, joining such a brand like Corvette and an organization like GM,” he said. “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.”
Varrone, Corvette Racing’s rising star in this year’s WEC, will transition to full-time WeatherTech Championship 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.
“It’s a big honor to be a factory driver for Corvette,” Varrone said. “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.”
Corvette Z06 GT3.R program manager Christie Bagne added: “As we move into GT3 and customer racing, it is important that we add to our roster of drivers that are available to teams.
“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.”