Corvette Racing’s Countdown to Le Mans Begins at Utah Grand Prix


#64 C6.R Corvette at the 2006 24 Hours of LeMansMost coaches would tell their teams not to look ahead on the schedule and to concentrate on this week’s opponent. But if you’re Corvette Racing, you can’t help thinking about what comes after this Saturday’s Utah Grand Prix in Salt Lake City, especially when the next race on the calendar is road racing’s equivalent to the Super Bowl. Following the outcome on at Salt Lake, where the only drama in the GT1 class is which Corvette race car will be in the winners circle, the C6.R’s and their teams will be on the way to France for the 24 Hours of LeMans. But don’t think the boys in the yellow C6.R Corvettes aren’t going to have fun this weekend. Following three consecutive street circuits, the drivers get to enjoy the wide open spaces of the 4.5-mile Miller Motorsports Park, the longest road course in America and the track most similar to the 8.5 mile road course of LeMans.

“Parts of the track are very similar to Le Mans,” observed GT1 co-champion Oliver Gavin, driver of the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R. “Miller Motorsports Park doesn’t have the same straight-line speed and heavy braking that we experience at Le Mans, but its racing surface is just as smooth and the circuit has elements that remind me of the Dunlop chicane and the Esses in Le Mans. We will also be evaluating Michelin tires and the new GM air conditioning system that we’ll use in France, so this race will be a good test before we go off to the challenge of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.” “I love to race on the streets, but after three street races in a row, it will be good to go back to a dedicated road racing track,” added Olivier Beretta, Gavin’s teammate in the No. 4 Corvette C6.R. “My impression of the track in Salt Lake City is it’s like a European track, but even better because it’s longer. I never raced on a course with so many corners before we went there last year, and I’m happy to be going back.” “We were really shackled at that track last year, so it will be good to go back there and see what the Corvettes can really do,” Gavin noted. “I truly enjoyed driving the track in spite of the handicaps. It has a good combination of bends – in fact, there are so many turns and so few reference points that at first you wonder which way the track goes. It’s one circuit where you really need a map on the steering wheel to remember which way to turn!”
As this is last race before LeMans, Corvette Racing is very concerned about keeping the cars and equipment in good health. The C6.R Corvettes and their supplies will be air freighted to France just days after Saturday’s race. The two-hour, 45-minute race will be televised tape-delayed by CBS Sports on Sunday, May 20, at 1 p.m. EDT.
Photo Credit: Richard Prince Related:
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