AWA has confirmed three additional drivers for its Corvette Z06 GT3.Rs in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD class. Lars Kern (main image), Thomas Merrill and Charlie Eastwood will join the team for endurance races in 2024.
Full season teammates Orey Fidani and Matt Bell will once again be joined by Kern for the Michelin Endurance Cup events, with their Rolex 24 at Daytona co-driver to be confirmed at a later date. Anthony Mantella and Nico Varrone will be accompanied by Thomas Merrill in the five endurance races, with Charlie Eastwood completing the driver line-up for the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Kern returns to the team following a successful 2023 season that included two podium finishes, at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and Motul Petit Le Mans. After two seasons competing in prototype classes, the German driver is eager to return to his roots in the GTD Class.
“This is a very special opportunity to be returning to the GTD Class following my past two years competing in LMP3,” he said. “I’m incredibly happy to be back with AWA and to be driving with Orey Fidani and Matt Bell again. We have a strong relationship and it means a lot to me that we are taking this next step together. I cannot wait to get behind the wheel of the Corvette Z06 GT3.R and experience it first-hand. This brand and manufacturer has accumulated so many incredible achievements and accomplishments over the years and I hope to be able to contribute to some more.”
Merrill has already seen victory with AWA in the 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona, and will aim to achieve further success with the team in the upcoming season. Merrill brings prior experience in the GTD Class with various manufacturers.
“I’m totally stoked to be back with Anthony Mantella, Nico Varrone, and AWA in 2024,” said Merrill. “It’s amazing to be a part of the Corvette program, and I’m proud to be representing the Stars and Stripes both in and out of the car. Racing a Corvette in IMSA has always been a dream of mine. It’s going to be a hugely exciting year ahead with my teammates Anthony, Nico, and Charlie Eastwood, we’re a real dream team. I can’t wait to get started.”
The newest addition to the team, Eastwood, comes equipped with a significant and impressive racing resume. The Corvette factory driver from Northern Ireland has competed in a wide variety of championships on an international level, including winning GTE-Am at the 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans. He will join AWA for the Rolex 24 at Daytona in addition to competing in the FIA World Endurance Championship in a Corvette with TF Sport.