Corvette Racing will seek its ninth American Le Mans Series championship and its eighth victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2012. With a win in the GTE Pro class at Le Mans and runner-up finishes in the ALMS GT team and driver championships last year, America's premier production sports car team has focused on improving all aspects of its performance as it prepares its Compuware Corvette C6.R race cars for the 2012 campaign.
Corvette Racing's revised driver lineup delivers a powerful combination of youth and experience. Antonio Garcia joins Oliver Gavin, Jan Magnussen, and Tommy Milner as the four full-season drivers. Richard Westbrook will reprise his role as third driver in endurance events (Sebring, Le Mans, and Petit Le Mans), and Jordan Taylor will join Corvette Racing for the three long-distance races.
"The level of competition in the 2011 American Le Mans Series GT category was intense, and we expect it to be just as fierce in 2012," said GM Racing Director Mark Kent. "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, a 20-year-old resident of Apopka, Fla., will become the 23rd driver to race in Corvette Racing colors. The son of championship-winning driver Wayne Taylor, this second-generation racer literally grew up at race tracks. After progressing quickly through karting and school series, he made his debut in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series in 2008. Taylor and his co-driver piloted the Autohaus Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro to a runner-up finish in the 2011 Rolex GT championship, just two points short of the title. He will continue to compete in the Rolex Series in 2012 with Autohaus Motorsports in addition to driving for Corvette Racing in endurance races.
"Corvette Racing is one of the most iconic names in motorsports, and joining this team is a huge opportunity for me," said Taylor, a student at the University of Central Florida. "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, and I can't wait to get started!"
GM has a longstanding association with the Taylor family, reaching back to the Chevrolet Intrepid GTP, Oldsmobile Aurora WSC, and Cadillac LMP programs. Wayne Taylor Racing currently campaigns a Corvette Daytona Prototype in the 2012 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series.
"We have watched Jordan develop as a fine young driver over the years, and when he had an opportunity to test for Corvette Racing, his performance was very impressive," said Kent. "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. He has tremendous potential and we see this opportunity as an investment in the team's future.
"I also want to acknowledge the contributions of Olivier Beretta to Corvette Racing," Kent continued. "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."
Corvette Racing will participate in the Sebring Winter Test on February 8-9 in preparation for the season-opening 60th Anniversary Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 17. With two automatic invitations to qualify for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the team will return to the French circuit for the 80th running of the classic endurance race on June 16-17, 2012.
"Corvette Racing's starts every season with the same objectives: to capture the ALMS GT championship and to win at Le Mans," said Kent. "We've never worked harder to achieve these goals. The entire team is energized and excited, and the strength of the competition drives us to strive for continuous improvement."