Gavin and Beretta Post Second Straight Podium Finish
ELKHART LAKE, Wis., Aug. 22, 2010 – Corvette Racing finished third and fourth today in the seventh round of the 2010 American Le Mans Series at the fast Road America circuit. Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta followed up their runner-up finish at Mid-Ohio with a third today in the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R after a charge from ninth in the final hour. They completed 66 laps on the 4.048-mile circuit and finished 4.945 seconds behind the winning No. 90 BMW of Dirk Mueller and Joey Hand. Jan Magnussen and Johnny O’Connell piloted the No. 3 Compuware Corvette to fourth, 8.405 seconds behind their teammates as the top nine GT cars finished on the lead lap.
“It was another good result for the No. 4 Corvette and a good result for the team,” said Gavin, who drove the final two stints. “At the end we didn’t have quite enough to take on (runner-up) Patrick Long or catch the BMW – it seemed like we used everything up trying to get to the front from the back of the pack. We had a huge amount of ground to gain, and we certainly made up a lot of it.”
The Corvettes started first and second in the intensely competitive GT field, with Beretta in the pole-winning No. 4 Corvette and O’Connell in the No. 3 Corvette. The first of four full-course cautions slowed the pace after only three laps. Both Beretta and O’Connell lost positions on the restart, and when the second caution period began after nine laps, the No. 3 Corvette pitted for fuel only while the No. 4 stayed out.
“I had a very good start and the car was working well,” Beretta said. “When the second yellow came and we stayed under caution for many laps, I knew it would be difficult on the restart. I had so much pickup on the tires that it was hard to stay on the track. I just tried to do as much as I could without making a mistake.”
O’Connell’s pit stop dropped him to seventh in the queue, while Beretta was back in the lead. But as the laps went by, both Corvettes struggled to maintain grip.
“At the start of the race I was thinking we were going to be pretty good, but then we lost the handle,” O’Connell said. “The early part was a lot of fun, but after we filled it with fuel and didn’t take new tires, it was tough from that point on.”
Shortly after the first hour, Beretta handed off the No. 4 Corvette on a green-flag stop to Gavin, who rejoined in 11th place. Seventeen minutes later, the No. 3 Corvette pitted under caution and Magnussen replaced O’Connell. Both Corvettes pitted under the fourth caution at 1:41, taking on enough E85 ethanol to run to the finish. Gavin moved from seventh to fifth in the span of four laps, and after Magnussen ceded fourth to him on the 53rd lap, Gavin set off in hot pursuit of the leaders. Both Corvettes passed the No. 62 Ferrari of Gianmaria Bruni on lap 54 and began to reel in the No. 45 Porsche of Patrick Long in a fight for second.
“I thought, ‘All right, game on!'” Gavin reported. “I got up behind Patrick and it was like flipping a switch, and we really started to struggle. We were working the left-side tires pretty hard, and that’s something that the team will continue to work on as we develop the GT-spec Corvette. Olivier drove very, very well at the start, and had a really tough time with the caution periods and the pickup on the tires. All in all, we’re very pleased to come home with another podium finish for Corvette Racing.”
Magnussen held fourth to the finish, and had a front-row seat for the battle between the Corvette and Porsche.
“Had things gone differently with the safety cars and the pit stops, maybe the result could have been different,” Magnussen said. “It was hard to have a good car for the whole stint, and everybody was struggling a little bit. We’ve still got some work to do, but for sure we are going in the right direction with podium finishes. But we want to be winning races so we’ll keep working.”
Corvette Racing’s next event is the Mobil 1 presents the Grand Prix of Mosport at Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. The two-hour, 45-minute race will start at 3:05 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 29. The race will be televised tape-delayed on SPEED from 4 – 7 p.m. ET. Live radio coverage will be available on American Le Mans Radio, Sirius Channel 127, and XM Channel 242.
American Le Mans Series powered by eStar GT Results:
- Mueller/Hand, BMW M3 GT, 66
- Bergmeister/Long, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 66
- Gavin/Beretta, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 66
- O’Connell/Magnussen, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 66
- Brown/Cosmo, Ferrari 430 GT, 66
- Melo/Bruni, Ferrari 430 GT, 66
- Salo/Kaffer, Ferrari 430 GT, 66
- Sharp/van Overbeek, Ferrari 430 GT, 66
- Law/Neiman, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 66
- Sellers/Henzler, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 65
- Robertson/Robertson/Murry, Ford GT-R, 59
- Goossens/Dalziel, Jaguar XKRS, 26
- Auberlen/Milner, BMW M3 GT, 8
Bondurant School of High Performance Driving
Photo Credit: Richard Prince/GM Racing Photo