Olivier Beretta dug deep on his third and final qualifying lap to win the GT1 Pole in Sunday’s Utah Grand Prix with a fastest lap of 1:43.869 (105.641 mph), edging his teammate Johnny O’Connell in the #3 C6.R by just .175 seconds. The pole win was the 22nd for Corvette Racing’s driver from Monaco.
The battle for the GT1 pole was split in the first two laps with Beretta winning the first lap and O’Connell winning the second.
“Mike West, my crew chief, told me on my second lap that I was behind Johnny, so I said to myself, ‘OK, this is the last lap, I must do the maximum that I can,'” said Beretta. “My Corvette C6.R was perfect, so the quick lap time came.”
The road course at Miller Motorsports Park has been once of the favorites of the Corvette Racing team in recent years. This year, the course has been reconfigured to a 3.048 circuit.
“It’s good to be quick for three qualifying laps, but the car must be quick and comfortable for the whole race,” Beretta noted. “This is the last preparation for the big race in Le Mans, so we have been testing and everything is working well. There is always strong competition between the No. 3 and No. 4 Corvette on the track, but we are always working together to find out what can help us for Le Mans. That is the one race we really want to win.”
The Utah Grand Prix is the final ALMS race before the team packs up and heads to France for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in mid-June. The twin Corvette race cars are scheduled to be flown across the Atlantic just days after the Utah race.
“The cars have came through unscathed so far, and that’s our main objective this weekend,” reported Steve Wesoloski, GM Racing Road Racing Group manager. “We’ve achieved good top speeds with the cellulosic E85R ethanol at this track so the new fuel is working really well for us. We’re also working on muffler development in view of the sound restrictions at Le Mans, and it looks like we’ll have good horsepower when we go to France.”
In GT2, LG Motorsports/Riley Technologies #28 Corvette finished with a fastest lap of 1:49.057 (100.615 mph) to start 9th out of the 14 cars that qualified.
The American Le Mans Series Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix presented by The Grand and Little America Hotels, the fourth round of the 11-race ALMS, is scheduled to start at 1:05 p.m. MDT on Sunday, May 18. SPEED will broadcast the two-hour, 45-minute race live at 3 p.m. EDT.
Bondurant School of High Performance Driving
Photo Credit: American LeMans