As we have recently reported, Corvette Racing may be leaving the American LeMans Series (ALMS). We learned today of another factor that may cause the GTI Championship team to leave the American racing circuit in favor of a European series. Corvette Driver Oliver Gavin said that Aston Martin may be leaving the ALMS, and the loss of their British rivals may ultimately be the deciding factor for Corvette to leave the series as well. Should Aston Martin leave the ALMS, Corvette would be left without any series competition. Aston Martin and Corvette racing have battled in recent years and this last year the British team really gave Corvette Racing a run for the GT1 Championship. The championship came down to the last race of the season at Laguna Seca. Aston Martin won the race but the second place finish by the two “Ollies” gave Corvette racing enough points for the GT1 Championship. Other factors that were leaning on Corvette Racing leaving the ALMS was last year’s performance-balancing sanctions that made the race for the Championship must closer than it should have been. Lastly, fielding the legendary racing team in the European circuit could ultimately introduce the Corvette to new buyers. Here are some of Oliver Gavin’s quotes from the Autosport show:
“I’m not entirely sure where we are going to be racing,” Gavin said on the central stage at the Autosport show. “With the Corvettes, they’re still deciding on whether it should be in Europe or in the ALMS again. “We’re waiting to see what Aston Martin are doing in terms of their program – we’re hoping they’re going to come back and race us in the ALMS.” “I had a very interesting season last year – frustrating at times, but ultimately it was successful for us, winning the championship and also beating them (Aston Martin) at Le Mans, which was a fantastic achievement for everybody involved in Corvette Racing.” “I think there’s certainly a marketing benefit of just turning up and running the car,” Gavin explained. “But we do need competition, we do want to race against someone, and it was great last year, having the competition from Aston Martin, so we’re just hoping they’ll find the money to come back.”I would hate to see Corvette Racing leave the ALMS, but what is the worst of the two scenarios? Winning without competition or losing because of performance sanctions? Winning is always fun, but without a serious competitor, the races would be boring. Losing in the ALMS because of performance sanctions would hurt the image of Corvette Racing evan more. Most casual fans would only know that Corvette lost, not that they had been penalized with sanctions that didn’t allow them to win. Should Corvette Racing make the jump to a European series, we could still count on seeing them here in the states for Sebring and perhaps Le Petit LeMans at Road Atlanta, but that would be it. I think we may be seeing the end of the GT1 class in the ALMS as we know it.
Autosport.com Via An American Classic
Image Credit: Richard Prince Related:
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