O'Connell to make Le Mans 24 Hours return in Corvette

Former Corvette Racing driver Johnny O'Connell will return to the Le Mans 24 Hours next month after an absence of five years

O'Connell to make Le Mans 24 Hours return in Corvette

The 53-year-old American, a four-time class winner at Le Mans, will race a Chevrolet Corvette C7.R for Taiwanese entrant Team AAI in the 24 Hours on June 18-19.

He will share the GTE Am entry to be run by the Belgian ProSpeed squad with British historic racer Oliver Bryant and Canadian Le Mans regular Mark Patterson.

O'Connell, who now races for Chevrolet sister brand Cadillac in the Pirelli World Challenge, told Autosport: "I'm highly excited to be going back, and to be honest with you, I've tried every year since I last raced there in 2010 to get to Le Mans."

He explained that the Pratt & Miller organisation, which runs the factory Chevrolet and the Cadillac he races in the PWC, had provided the introduction.

"Pratt & Miller filled me in with what was going on, and then it was a matter of me letting the team know I was available," he said.

O'Connell, who was part of the Corvette Racing line-up in 2001-'10, stressed that he had no concerns about getting up to speed on the 8.47-mile Le Mans circuit after the long absence.

"If I hadn't been racing, I would be nervous, but the past five years have been highly productive for me," said the winner of last year's PWC.

The Corvette that O'Connell, Bryant and Patterson will be racing is the car that won GTE Pro at Le Mans last year with Corvette Racing drivers Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Jordan Taylor.

This car, purchased by a Dutch collector, replaces the C6.R that Team AAI originally entered for Le Mans.

Team AAI primemover Jun San Chen has stood down from the line-up from Le Mans.

shares
comments
Brad Pitt given Le Mans 24 Hours honorary starter role

Previous article

Brad Pitt given Le Mans 24 Hours honorary starter role

Next article

Final seats filled in 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours driver line-up

Final seats filled in 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours driver line-up
Load comments
The standout memories of Le Mans 2021 Plus

The standout memories of Le Mans 2021

OPINION: With four of the five Hypercar entries unproven in a 24-hour race, it would not have been unexpected for at least one of them to suffer serious reliability trouble. That they all managed to make it through the race relatively unscathed, says GARY WATKINS, was something of a surprise.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Plus

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks Plus

How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks

The screaming rotary-engined Mazda 787 is regarded as one of the most popular Le Mans 24 Hours-winning cars, but until its surprise success on this day 30 years ago it was never regarded as a likely victor. But that reckoned without a new technical partner, some canny political manoeuvring and a rival's bizarre self-inflicted weakness

WEC
Aug 22, 2021
Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse? Plus

Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse?

One Toyota, normally with the number 7 on the side, always seems to attract the bad luck in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez are hoping for a change in fortune this time around, but face significantly more unknowns than in recent years

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow Plus

Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow

Many were quick to dismiss Glickenhaus when the boutique American sportscar firm's entry into the top class of the Le Mans 24 Hours was announced. It's all-new LMH racer, powered by an engine built by a rally specialist, goes in as the underdog against Toyota but the mathematical odds suggest that it has more than just a faint hope of success

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021
The Asian underdog taking on the mighty GT factories at Le Mans Plus

The Asian underdog taking on the mighty GT factories at Le Mans

The rising HubAuto team steps up to GTE Pro at Le Mans this year for an ambitious bid to take on the three works giants – and has every reason to be optimistic of achieving its goal in becoming the first privateer on the podium since 2016

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021
How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car Plus

How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car

The JW Automotive Engineering team won twice at the Le Mans 24 Hours with ageing Fords and were considered heavy favourites to add more victories to its tally after partnering with Porsche. But despite being armed with the all-conquering 917, this formidable combination was never as successful in real life as on the big screen

Le Mans
Aug 14, 2021
Why Argentina’s current great isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio Plus

Why Argentina’s current great isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio

Having twice missed out on Formula 1 and reinvented himself as a touring car driver, Jose Maria Lopez has had a rocky ride to becoming a four-time world champion. One more would put him level with his nation's favourite son, but there's another prize he would value far more than the honour of matching Juan Manuel Fangio's tally

WEC
Aug 14, 2021