Changing Conditions Add to Challenge at Historic Connecticut Circuit
LAKEVILLE, Conn., July 8, 2011 – Intermittent rain and rapidly changing track conditions added to the complexity of qualifying at Lime Rock Park for Saturday’s American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix, the third round of the American Le Mans Series. Oliver Gavin qualified the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R fourth in the GT class with a time of 51.897 seconds (102.298 mph) on the roller coaster 1.47-mile circuit. Tommy Milner was a heartbeat behind in fifth at 51.954 seconds (102.249 mph) in the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R. Joey Hand put the No. 56 BMW M3 GT on the pole with a fast lap at 50.925 (104.200 mph).
Rain before the start of the second one-hour practice session saw the field on grooved tires. As a dry line developed, the Corvettes switched to slick tires and finished the session on top in the GT class. When the GT qualifying session began 25 minutes later, the Corvette crew continued to make adjustments.
“We made quite a lot of changes before the start of qualifying to extend our test session and to learn as much as we could during the limited track time,” said Gavin, who turned his quickest time on his fifth lap. “We made good progress, and I think we understand the GT car much better this year at Lime Rock.
“It was a shame that we couldn’t find a couple of more tenths to get in front of the Porsche that’s third on the grid,” Gavin continued. “I did make a small mistake in the final corner, touched the curb on the inside, and that might have made the difference.”
Milner turned his fastest lap on his 12th circuit. “With very little dry practice time, qualifying ended up being a practice session at the start,” Milner noted. “It was good for me to get a feel for the car on slick tires at the end of practice, but it was really hard to push in those damp and drying conditions.
“My Corvette was good in qualifying, but I was buried in traffic and lost the laps when the tires were at their very best,” he explained. “It wasn’t a perfect qualifying session because I didn’t get the most out of the car. Two tenths of a second doesn’t sound like much, but on a short track like this, it’s big. We’re still in good shape. Corvette Racing does a great job on pit stops, which are very important here. Now our focus is on a clean race.”
The American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix is scheduled to start at 2:05 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 9. Live video coverage is available on ESPN3.com in the US and americanlemans.com for international users. ESPN2 will televise the race starting at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 10.
American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix GT Qualifying (Top 10):
- 56 Mueller/Hand, BMW M3 GT, 50.925
- 55 Auberlen/Werner, BMW M3 GT, 51.179
- 45 Bergmeister/Long, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 51.872
- 4 Gavin/Magnussen, Corvette C6.R, 51.897
- 3 Beretta/Milner, Corvette C6.R, 51.954
- 44 Neiman/Holzer, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 52.005
- 04 Murry/Lazzaro, Doran Ford GT, 52.109
- 02 Brown/Cosmo, Ferrari F458 Italia, 52.350
- 17 Henzler/Sellers, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 52.388
- 01 Sharp/van Overbeek, Ferrari F458 Italia, 52.956
Bondurant School of High Performance Driving