No. 33 Corvette C8.R to start second in GTE Am debut at Sebring 1,000 Miles
SEBRING, Fla. (March 16, 2023) – In his first qualifying session as part of Corvette Racing, Ben Keating qualified second in a stacked GTE Am category Thursday ahead of the FIA World Endurance Championship’s 1,000 Miles of Sebring.
Piloting the No. 33 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R, Keating posted a best lap of 1:59.345 (112.841 mph). He will team in Friday’s season-opening race with Corvette Racing veteran Nicky Catsburg and fellow newcomer Nico Varrone.
Only 0.784 seconds separated the four fastest cars in qualifying. Keating was never lower than second and swapped provisional pole position multiple times in the 15-minute session.
The Corvette program is easily the most experienced team in the WEC paddock at the 3.74-mile, 17-turn Sebring International Raceway circuit. It has 25 years of racing experience at the historic track, which sits on the site of an Army airbase from World War II.
In addition to two previous starts in GTE Pro at the Sebring WEC round – including a runner-up finish last year for Tommy Milner and Nick Tandy – Corvette Racing has 13 victories at the track with 12 coming in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
On the driver front, both Catsburg and Keating have previous starts in the Sebring WEC round. Catsburg finished second in GTE Pro in 2019 while Keating placed third a year ago in GTE Am on his way to the class championship. Meanwhile, Varrone will make his first full-season start as a WEC competitor in the 1,000 Miles.
The 1,000 Miles of Sebring for the FIA World Endurance Championship is scheduled for noon ET on Friday, March 17. MotorTrend and MotorTrend Plus will provide both level television and streaming coverage. Radio Le Mans also will stream audio coverage the race.
BEN KEATING, NO. 33 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – QUALIFIED SECOND IN GTE AM: “It was really interesting. We did mock qualifying this morning, but I had much more grip in the car. I don’t know if our tires don’t like the Carrera Cup tires or what, but I had a lot more grip this afternoon. It was much of a handful than I expected in qualifying. I was really wheeling the car around there. With less grip, it was more work. I thought I may be able to compete with the time that Sarah did to be on the pole. I did three laps that were almost exactly the same. I think she got ahead of me by four-thousandths and then I got ahead of her. It was fun to go back and forth. We’re starting on the front row for our home race. I know that the Porsche is really different when it gets full of fuel. So qualifying is one thing and racing is another. I’m excited to go out there and race with her. We’ve been on the front row most of last season together, so it’s not unfamiliar territory. We’ll be OK.”
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