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AUSTIN, Texas (Sept. 20, 2013) – Through the years, Corvette and Chevrolet have had the honor of racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. A number of American sports car achievements have come from Corvette drivers over the years, and those contributions will be front and center during a special ceremony this weekend at Circuit of The Americas.
Friday evening, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), the governing body of Le Mans, will honor Dr. Dick Thompson, the oldest living American to race at Le Mans. “The Flying Dentist” won multiple SCCA national championships from the mid-1950s to early-1960s, and Thompson was part of Corvette’s initial journey to Le Mans in 1960 in one of Briggs Cunningham’s three Corvettes.
Cunningham’s trio of cars, plus a fourth entered by Camoradi USA, started a dramatic shift in the perception of Corvette as a global sports car brand. Corvette Racing’s debut of the C5-R at the great race in 2000 added to its rich history. Since that time, Corvette Racing captured seven class victories at Le Mans with the C5-R and C6.R.
As part of this weekend’s tribute, both of Corvette Racing’s Compuware Corvette C6.Rs that race in the American Le Mans Series’ GT class will feature the names of every American driver who has raced at Le Mans in the race’s first 90 years. Included on that list are seven American drivers who drove or currently drive for Corvette Racing.
The ALMS shares the COTA weekend with the FIA World Endurance Championship.
JIM CAMPBELL, CHEVROLET VICE PRESIDENT, PERFORMANCE VEHICLES AND MOTORSPORTS
“We salute and honor all of the American drivers who have competed at Le Mans, including Dr. Dick Thompson for his achievements. He was inducted in the National Corvette Museum’s Hall of Fame in 2000 – a very special honor in the Corvette community. I personally had the opportunity to spend time with Dr. Thompson at the 12 Hours of Sebring a number of years ago, where we sat in the 1959 Corvette Stingray Racer. It was extra special because he had actually raced that car.”
PIERRE FILLON, PRESIDENT, AUTOMOBILE CLUB DE L’OUEST
“As part of the ceremonies linked to the 90th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest is pleased to honor the American drivers who have raced at Le Mans through their most senior, Dr. Dick Thompson, a former Corvette driver. An iconic American brand, Corvette’s racing history is tied to the 24 Hours of Le Mans and there could be no more appropriate a manufacturer to carry the names of all the U.S. drivers who have distinguished themselves at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”
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