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2009 Le Mans 24: Corvette Racing Scores Sixth GT1 Class Win

by Keith Cornett on June 14, 2009

Sixth Class Win for Corvette Racing's #63 C6.R
Photo Credit: Richard Prince

Corvette Racing came to La Sarthe with a single-minded goal to win the GT1 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and that’s exactly what they accomplished. Piloting the #63 Velocity Yellow Corvette C6.R across the finish line was Johnny O’Connell, who became the only American to win Le Mans 4 times. The #64 Corvette seized the GT1 lead with 3 hours left to run, but transmission problems knocked the Black Corvette out of the race.

Coming in second was the White #73 Corvette run by Luc Alphands team and in third place was the Jetalliance Racing Aston Martin DBR9, which was way down on the leader board most of the race but refused to quit. Once the #64 Corvette went out of the race, the Aston Martin was assured a podium finish.

Corvette Racing Quotes

Jan Magnussen, No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R:
“Four Le Mans wins feels absolutely great. My role in this one was for only half the race. I really have to thank Johnny and Antonio for working so hard during the last half of the race. Also a special mention to my crew chief Dan Binks. Standing on the victory podium at Le Mans is just amazing, and I hope that we can carry on.”

Johnny O’Connell, No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R:
“Winning at Le Mans is hard because it’s all about pushing as hard as you can while being perfect with your technique and taking care of the car. I think the three of us did that, even when we were wiped out and tired. The guys in the No. 64 Corvette might have had a little more mid-corner grip than us, so we had to push every minute. When you do that, sometimes you make mistakes, but the No. 63 finished the race as pretty as it started it.”

Antonio Garcia, No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R:
“I’ll tell you tomorrow when I wake up what it means to win Le Mans twice. This is my third 24-hour race win a row – I won Le Mans last year and Daytona 24 this year. I cannot ask for anything else. Corvette Racing gave me a car and a crew that worked perfectly, and I really appreciate it. During the night and this morning, I was up to my best. That’s what a proper team needs to be – everyone giving 100 percent.”

Oliver Gavin, No. 64 Compuware Corvette C6.R:
“It didn’t seem to matter what we did today, it was something just ready to trip us up, whether it was punctures or safety cars or this gearbox problem. I think that Olivier, Marcel and myself had driven well throughout the race, and it was going to be extremely close at the finish. It was going to come down two cars racing at the end of the race, which is quite unusual here at Le Mans. I really thought we had a great shot at it today, after we kept clawing back and finally pulled away, but then the final card played by Lady Luck was all bad luck. It’s desperately disappointing.”

Olivier Beretta, No. 64 Compuware Corvette C6.R:
“The car was good, then I had a puncture and my car was starting to be difficult, so they called me in and changed the tire. On the restart, I made the pass on the No. 63 Corvette before the Ford chicane. There was a lot of confusion and I just put the throttle flat on the floor.”

“It seemed like we were racing against the pace car all day. We’d lose two minutes, catch back up, and then lose two minutes again. The team did a very good job, we never gave up, and what happened today is just part of racing. We are professionals and have to accept it – but to be honest, you have to be disappointed when you push hard and don’t win.”

Doug Louth, Corvette Racing Engineering Director:
“It was easy to stay awake this morning because there was a lot happening. It couldn’t have been any closer between the two Corvettes – if they had both run to the finish, it would have come down to the wire. There were a lot of possible scenarios with pit stops and tires. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, but Corvette C6.Rs finished first and second.”

Dan Binks, Crew Chief, Corvette C6.R No. 63:
“Winning Le Mans is so unbelievable that I can’t even talk about it. All of the people here worked their butts off, and we’re just the guys who show up at the track. There are dozens of guys back in the shop working on this stuff.”



Source:
Corvette Racing
Photo Credit: Richard Prince

Related:
2009 Le Mans 24: Live Blogging Corvette Racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans
2009 Le Mans 24: Corvette Racing Qualifies One-Two in GT1 Class
Chevrolet’s Ed Peper: Corvette Racing Program to Continue Under GM Bankruptcy

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