Corvette Racing made a fast start in its GT2 debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Corvette C6.Rs were first and third in the opening four-hour free practice session. After a two-hour break, the first of three qualifying sessions for Saturday’s 24 Hours of Le Mans ran from 10 p.m. to midnight on the immense 8.47-mile circuit.
Jan Magnussen qualified the No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R second on the provisional GT2 grid at 4:00.097, and Oliver Gavin was third at 4:01.012 in the No. 64 Corvette C6.R. Gianmaria Bruni put the Risi Competizione Ferrari 430 GT on the provisional GT2 pole with the fastest lap at 3:59.233.
“I’m very happy with where we are,” Magnussen said. “There’s more qualifying tomorrow, and maybe we’ll have another go at it. It’s fun chasing a lap time, it’s good for team morale, but it’s not what we’re really here to do. It should be said that we don’t have a qualifying setup – this is the car that we’re going to race with. So far, so good, no major issues.”
Gavin settled for third after his qualifying run was stymied by traffic and a red flag. “Every time we got even close to going quickly, it seemed there was a car in the way,” he said. “On my best lap with the first set of tires it was looking like a good lap until a GT1 car that was just cruising through the Ford chicanes got in my way. We put on another set of tires, I had traffic every lap, and then the red flag flew. You can’t just keep going around trying to set a good time – you’ve got to focus on the program. It’s frustrating, but we still have tomorrow and hopefully the weather will be OK. I think we’ll get another shot tomorrow.”
Qualifying for the 78th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans will continue on Thursday with sessions from 7-9 p.m. and 10 p.m. to midnight. (1-3 pm EST and 4-6pm EST).
Corvette Racing Quotes:
Jan Magnussen, No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R:
“Right off the bat, it’s looking good for us. We have to improve where we can, but at least the car came off the truck really well. There is new tarmac from the Porsche Curves almost to the start/finish line. It’s very smooth and that helps everyone. There are some new speed bumps in the corners that you want to avoid because they really rattle the car. We have to relearn the course because we have less downforce than the GT1 Corvette and steel brakes. You really feel the difference here at Le Mans because the speeds are so high.”
Johnny O’Connell, No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R:
“Usually we’re fighting for grip in the first few hours of practice here, but when I got in the car for the second stint on a set of tires, the car was pretty good. The guys at Corvette Racing did their job – we’ve got good cars, now we just need to work on the little details. Compared to the GT1 car, there’s less power, but the braking is surprisingly strong.”
Antonio Garcia, No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R:
“The last time I drove this car was at Sebring, and I’ve been driving other types of cars since then. It took me two or three laps to get used to this car again, establish my reference and braking points, and remember what it was like to drive a GT2 car. I had to remind myself that I wasn’t in a GT1 Corvette so I built up the speed gradually to avoid forcing a mistake.”
Olivier Beretta, No. 64 Compuware Corvette C6.R:
“Before we came to Le Mans, we were confident with our testing with the GT2 Corvette. I really have to say that the team has given me the best package in seven years with Corvette Racing. It’s the result of experience, a lot of work, and a very good crew. The car was fantastic – I didn’t have to push, I just drove it. I just hope that we keep going in a positive direction. Honestly, after this first day, if the race were to start tomorrow, I’d be happy.
Oliver Gavin, No. 64 Compuware Corvette C6.R:
“I’m very encouraged by the way the car is. The circuit was initially very dirty, but after we bedded some brakes and got going, I felt very comfortable with the car. It’s doing all the things I want it to do. We compared several different tires and have got a good read on the setup. The braking is a bit different with the GT2 car – it’s not as rapid as it was with the carbon brakes in the GT1 spec. We’re also carrying a little more weight, which has an effect. On the other hand, the GT2 car is not pitchy or as nervous as the GT1, and that could play into our hands in the race. The P1 cars do come up quickly, so you have to keep an eye on the rearview mirrors.”
Emmanuel Collard, No. 64 Compuware Corvette C6.R:
“It was good to be back on the track in a Corvette. My teammates like the car very much. I need a few more laps, but by the end of my stint the car was quite good and the lap times weren’t bad, so it’s a good start. It’s always easier when you start the session and the car is good straight away. It gives you confidence.”
The 24 Hours of Le Mans will start at 3:00 p.m. CET (9:00 a.m. ET) on Saturday, June 12. SPEED will televise the start of the race live from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ET on June 12, and continue coverage from 6:00 p.m. to the race finish at 9:30 a.m. ET on June 13. Streaming video can be viewed on www.speed.com from 12:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET on June 12, and flag-to-flag audio coverage will be available on www.radiolemans.com.
24 Hours of Le Mans LM GT2 Provisional Top 10 Qualifying Times:
- (82) Melo/Bruni/Kaffer, No. 82 Ferrari 430 GTC, 3:59.233
- (63) O’Connell/Magnussen/Garcia, Corvette C6.R, 4:00.097
- (64) Gavin/Beretta/Collard, Corvette C6.R, 4:01.012
- (76) Pilet/Narac/Long, Porsche 997 GT3 RSR, 4:01.755
- (77) Lieb/Lietz/Henzler, Porsche 997 GTE RSR, 4:02.001
- (95) Alesi/Fisichella/Vilander, Ferrari 430 GTC, 4:02.492
- (96) Companc/Russo/Salo, Ferrari 430 GTC, 4:02.615
- (89) Farnbacher/Simonsen/Keen, Ferrari 430 GTC,4:03.886
- (83) Krohn/Jonsson/Van de Poele, Ferrari 430 GTC, 4:03.959
- (78) Muller/Farfus/Alzen, BMW M3 E-92, 4:04.986
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