On the centennial anniversary of the Chevrolet brand, hard work and skill paid off once again for Pratt & Miller's Corvette Racing team in the form of a solid class win at the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France. The victory was just a little bittersweet, however, following a terrifying crash for the team's second car.
The second car, driven by Oliver Gavin, Jan Magnussen and Richard Westbrook had led for the majority of the first 16 hours of the race, but then Magnussen collided with a Porsche and the day was over for that car.
About three hours before the end of the race, the Corvette driven by Olivier Beretta, Antonio Garcia, and Tommy Milner took over the class lead from AF Corse's Ferrari F458 Italia, and held off the BMW, Ferrari, and Porsche teams to the end. It was the sixth career victory for Olivier Beretta, the third for Antonio Garcia, and the first time for young Tommy Milner, who made the pass for the lead. Garcia drove the car to the checker.
"For me being an American and driving for an American car company and an American icon, like Corvette is unbelievable," Milner said. "Certainly, they have a lot more attention just being Corvette Racing with all their success at Le Mans. So for me to be apart of that - especially with their 100 anniversary of Chevrolet and now the 10th year anniversary for the first win at Le Mans - is very special to me. This is my first year of Corvette Racing and this was the one race that stood out that I wanted to win, and here I am.
"If I were to write a script to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Chevrolet and the 10th anniversary of Corvette Racing's first win at Le Mans, this would undoubtedly be it," said Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. "Louis Chevrolet was himself a racer, and his motto, 'Never give up!' is a philosophy we embraced from our first visit here. I think the result today embodied the spirit of Chevrolet's co-founder and of that iconic phrase."
Coming as it does on Chevrolet's 100th anniversary, the victory has tremendous symbolic value to the team, to GM, and to Corvette fans everywhere.