When the Corvette Racing team takes to the streets this Saturday for the ninth round of the the 2008 ALMS season at Detroit’s Belle Isle Grand Prix, they’ll be celebrating the milestone of their 100th race in international road racing. Since the team’s debut in February 1999 at the Rolex 24 at the Daytona Motor Speedway, Corvette Racing has scored 71 wins and captured seven consecutive ALMS GT1 championships.
Chevrolet and Corvette Racing is the “home team” for Saturday’s Detroit Belle Island Grand Prix. Chevrolet is the official vehicle and 2 time Indy 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi will be driving the E85 Corvette Z06 Pace Car to open the race. Hundreds of Corvette racing fans will also converge on Detroit and will be found in the Corvette Corral – the designated parking area for Corvette drivers attending the race. Chevrolet will have a special display set up at the site and chances are high that you’ll be able to see the new 2009 Corvette ZR1. As part of the celebration this week, Johnny O’Connell will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Detroit Tigers baseball game on Wednesday night.
“Competing in our 100th race will be an amazing achievement, and another first for a factory-backed General Motors program,” said Doug Fehan, Corvette Racing program manager. “Everyone at Corvette Racing is very proud of this accomplishment.”
“Reaching this milestone is a testament to GM management’s commitment to the Corvette as a brand and to the Corvette Racing program,” he continued. “Since the program’s inception, we have learned that the longer this program runs, the greater the benefits derived by the company.”
“We’ve established Corvette as a global icon,” Fehan noted. “We’ve established Corvette as the world’s best sports car – not just America’s best sports car. We’ve demonstrated to GM how lessons learned in racing can be applied to production vehicles, ultimately producing better vehicles for our customers. Corvette is the tip of the technological spear for GM, and everyone who buys a Corvette now knows that it is truly race bred.”
The drivers also seem to enjoy the 2.096 mile, 14-turn temporary racing circuit that makes Detroit Belle Island Grand Prix.
“Run almost in the shadows of the GM Renaissance Center, the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix weekend is an appropriate stop for the American Le Mans Series. The circuit is both demanding and physical, and with the edges of the track being concrete barriers, there is no room whatsoever for any mistake. Driving a Corvette in the event last year and getting to show the executives of GM what Corvette Racing is all about was an awesome opportunity. Winning made it even better.” â€“ Johnny Oâ€™Connell, Corvette Racing
“We have many great races on the ALMS calendar, but the Detroit Grand Prix is special. It’s a fantastic race with a very cool atmosphere. Roger Penske and the race organizers do a fantastic job with the facility, and you feel the atmosphere as soon as you cross the bridge to Belle Isle. The circuit is a fun track to drive, but it’s one of those places that doesn’t leave a lot of room for mistakes. It’s a street circuit, which makes it difficult to pass and to be passed by the prototypes, so it’s really important that you have a good understanding with the drivers around you.” – Jan Magnussen, Corvette Racing
Corvette Racing will hit the streets of Detroit on Saturday at 2:35 pm. The two-hour, 45-minute race will be televised live on SPEED starting at 2:30 PM.
Bondurant School of High Performance Driving