Gavin Wins First GT Pole of Season for Corvette, Magnussen Takes Second Spot
ELKHART LAKE, Wis., Aug. 21, 2010 – Corvette Racing qualified first and second in the GT class for Sunday’s American Le Mans Series powered by eStar at Road America. Oliver Gavin set the time to beat with his fastest lap at 2:06.509 (115.192mph) in the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R. Jan Magnussen responded with a 2:06.674 to put the No. 3 Compuware Corvette in the second qualifying spot, just .165 seconds off Gavin’s pole-winning time.
“It’s fantastic for the Corvettes to be one-two,” said Gavin after he captured his 19th career ALMS pole. “This is not a victory, but it’s a really good step in the right direction. It’s so close in the GT class that you have to push to the max all the time. I did that, and got a good result.”
Gavin set his quick time on his second flying lap, with Magnussen a heartbeat behind. The 20-minute qualifying was then red-flagged to retrieve a car from the circuit, leaving just enough time on the clock for final qualifying runs. Both Corvettes completed one flyer before the checkered flag flew, with Magnussen cutting Gavin’s margin to a razor-thin .165 seconds. The team then had to wait out the final laps by their rivals to see if their times would hold.
“My car was right in the sweet spot for that one lap, and I was trying to recreate that the next time out,” Gavin said. “But the tires had cooled, and going out again the car lost that little edge. Jan did a really phenomenal job to pull that lap out after the stop.
“It was one of those qualifying sessions where you’re hoping it’s all going to go your way with traffic and with your decisions on the setup,” said the Briton. “The Corvette engineering team made a really great call just before the start of the session. The car feels much like it did in Le Mans, so I feel very confident.”
Magnussen was sitting in a gravel trap in the final minutes of practice after going off in Turn 8. The car was undamaged, and after being towed out, the Dane was primed and ready for a fast qualifying run.
“We made a huge improvement to the car in the last practice – I don’t think we’ve ever made an improvement like that,” Magnussen said. “I made a small mistake and went off, but fortunately we didn’t damage anything. We’ve moved the car from being rather difficult to drive to a proper race car, and I’m very, very happy.
“A Corvette one-two in qualifying is fantastic, but I’m a competitive person and I’d like to be No. 1,” he conceded. “With this setup, we can charge a little more, and it should be an excellent race car.”
Today’s pole was the first in ALMS competition for Corvette Racing since Magnussen won the pole in the series’ 2009 season finale in Monterey, Calif. Gavin was the fastest GT2 qualifier at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.
“It’s certainly great for Corvette Racing to be back on top,” said Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. “You can never underestimate the value of testing in the development of a new product and the continuous improvement of that product. Testing is what got Corvette Racing to where we qualified today.”
The two-hour, 45-minute American Le Mans Series powered by eStar at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., will start at 2:05 p.m. CT on Sunday, August 22, and will be televised live on SPEED at 3 p.m. ET. Live radio coverage will be available on American Le Mans Radio, Sirius Channel 127, and XM Channel 242. Follow CorvetteRacing on Twitter for real-time pit notes.
American Le Mans Series powered by eStar GT Qualifying:
- Gavin/Beretta, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 2:06.509
- O’Connell/Magnussen, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 2:06.674
- Salo/Kaffer, Ferrari 430 GT, 2:06.997
- Mueller/Hand, BMW E92 M3, 2:07.222
- Bergmeister/Long, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 2:07.392
- Sharp/van Overbeek, Ferrari 430 GT, 2:07.455
- Melo/Bruni, Ferrari 430 GT, 2:07.561
- Auberlen/Milner, BMW E92 M3, 2:07.716
- Sellers/Henzler, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 2:07.939
- Robertson/Robertson/Murry, Ford GT, 2:08.703
- Goossens/Dalziel, Jaguar XKRS, 2:10.084
- Brown/Cosmo, Ferrari 430 GT, 2:15.710
- Law/Neiman, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 2:20.428
Bondurant School of High Performance Driving
Photo Credit: Richard Prince/GM Racing Photo