LAS VEGAS (November 2, 1999) – Today Chevrolet announced that it was expanding its sports-car racing stage internationally with the C5-R Corvette’s participation in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2000. And now it has captured one of its new stars to help lead the way.

General Motors officials announced the signing of sports-car veteran Justin Bell to join Team Corvette and drive the C5-R in 2000. The 1998 GT2 class winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans joins Team Corvette from Viper Team ORECA.

"We couldn’t be happier with the addition of Justin to our established driver lineup for the C5-R," said Team Corvette program manager Doug Fehan. "To have a driver of his experience and ability show interest in driving the C5-R Corvette is a testament to the progress we have made after racing less than a year.

"I think signing a driver of Justin Bell’s stature sends a message that we’re continuing to head in the right direction."

Bell is a veteran of "the world’s greatest endurance race" with six tries at the 24 Hours of Le Mans including a third overall in 1995 in a McLaren F1, a win in 1998 in the GT2 class with drivers David Donahue and Luca Drudi, and a second-place finish in GTS in this year’s contest. He also claimed the FIA GT2 World Championship in 1997.

The personable Bell got his motorsports career started racing motocross when he was nine years old, and he competed at both the junior and national levels for 10 years before switching to Formula cars. He finished second in points in the American Barber Saab Series in 1989, and since then has gained a wealth of experience in many different formats including Indy Lights, F3000, Touring Cars and International GT. The 31-year-old currently lives in London with his wife Sarah.

Chevrolet officially returned to road racing earlier this year with the introduction of the GM Goodwrench Service Plus-sponsored C5-R Corvette, a GM-engineered GTS sports car based on the production C5. The C5-R garnered a podium finish in its debut in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January with a third-place finish. Through five races in its inaugural season, the C5-R has three podium finishes including a pair of second-place finishes at the Sears Point and Laguna Seca races in the American Le Mans Series. The GM Goodwrench Service Plus C5-R Corvette concludes its 1999 race season this weekend at the Grand Prix of Las Vegas at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, Nov. 7


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