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Catsburg: "Expectations even higher" to end Corvette's Le Mans win drought

Corvette Racing driver Nicky Catsburg admits there's increased pressure for the manufacturer to end its eight-year Le Mans 24 Hours win drought in the final season of GTE rules.

#33 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R of Nicky Catsburg, Ben Keating, Nicolas Varrone

The American brand last secured a class success at La Sarthe in 2015, despite coming close in several editions since then - including having two cars in GTE Pro victory contention last year before neither ultimately finished.

Now, with the Chevrolet Corvette C8.R GTE's final appearance in the enduro coming with a sole GTE Am entry this weekend, Catsburg says there is a strong focus on returning to winning ways ahead of the introduction of the LMGT3 class for 2024.

"We had high expectations the last two years and I guess the expectations are even higher this year," he told Autosport.

"We're all very anxious and we really want to win this one."

Asked if there was added pressure to secure the spoils this year, Catsburg said: "I would say so. It's in the back of my mind, that this is the last shot at GTE.

"It's also the one endurance race that I'm missing on my CV. I would love to add it."

#33 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R of Nicky Catsburg, Ben Keating, Nicolas Varrone

#33 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R of Nicky Catsburg, Ben Keating, Nicolas Varrone

Photo by: Paul Foster

While Catsburg was among the Corvette drivers to miss out in 2022, last year's GTE Am victor Ben Keating - who triumphed with the TF Sport Aston Martin squad - says there's added spotlight this year.

"Corvette has had eight wins at Le Mans through the years, but not with the C8," he told Autosport.

"This year is the 100th anniversary for Le Mans, and there's definitely - I won't say a tonne of pressure - but a tonne of anticipation about maybe this being the year."

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Catsburg, Keating and Nico Varrone enjoy a huge 39-point lead in the GTE Am World Endurance Championship standings after taking two wins and a further podium this year, but Catsburg is keen to stress that form is no guarantee of another strong result.

"Even if we have all the ingredients there - which I think we do have - it's still a mechanical sport, there's still other cars around you, anything can happen," he said.

"Let's just approach it as any other race, trying to stay out of trouble, see where we are at the end and then go for it. I'm very excited."

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