Following a less than stellar outing at the 12 Hours of Sebring, Corvette Racing is ready to rebound this weekend as the ALMS comes to the streets of Long Beach. The race around the 11-turn 1.986-mile temporary track is a 100 minute sprint and teams will only have a couple of hours of practice time on the track before the race on Saturday afternoon.
Practice for the shootout will be held Friday with two hours devoted to green-track racing. That will be followed by the 30 minute qualifying period. Drivers won’t see the race circuit again until they begin their reconnaissance laps before the green flag start at 4:40 pm local time.
“I believe the compressed schedule actually gives Corvette Racing an advantage over many other teams,” said Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. “The combination of the team’s simulation technology and years of experience racing in various series at Long Beach will offset the limited track time. We’re confident that when the Corvette C6.Rs roll out of the transporters, we could race with that setup.”
Fehan addressed the Sebring pit lane crash by saying steps have been put in place to prevent future incidents:
“We have dissected and analyzed the entire pit stop process, and where there were shortcomings we’ve addressed them,” Fehan said. “The team has put in place procedures that should prevent that from ever happening again.”
Team veteran Johnny O’Connell made his first appearance at Long Beach in 1986. He’s driven open-wheel and trans-am cars on the temporary street track before the ALMS added it to the schedule in 2007.
“I think everybody on the team is going to be very motivated after what turned out to be a very disappointing Sebring race for us,” O’Connell said. “The limited track time means that every aspect of preparation has to be done quickly and professionally. With Corvette Racing’s engineering capabilities, I’m confident we can get our car in its operating window quickly.
“On a street course like Long Beach, a driver has to be smart but also a little aggressive to get a good result,” O’Connell continued. “The short stints are going to put the emphasis on sharp pit stop strategy and quick driver changes. You can’t afford to lose time behind a slower car, but you also have to remember that any mistake on a street circuit is usually highly detrimental to success.”
The Pratt and Miller pit crews will be staging a demonstration in the Thunder on Pine Avenue pre-race event in downtown Long Beach on Thursday, April 15th. The crew of the No.4 Compuware Corvette C6.R driven by Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta will take on Alex Job Racing for bragging rights in pit stop prowess. Demonstrations are scheduled at 6:45 and 7:45 p.m.
The American Le Mans Series at Long Beach is scheduled to start at 4:40 p.m. PT on Saturday, April 17th. The one hour, 40-minute race will be televised on SPEED from 8 – 10 p.m. ET.
Bondurant School of High Performance Driving