Corvette Racing Celebrates Homecoming as Le Mans and Mosport Winner
LEXINGTON, Ohio, Aug. 2, 2011 – Situated between the Corvette assembly plant in Bowling Green, Ky., and Corvette Racing’s headquarters in suburban Detroit, the historic 2.25-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is the spiritual home of the Compuware Corvettes. The Corvette Racing team is hoping for a homecoming celebration in the fifth round of the American Le Mans Series, the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge, on Saturday, August 6.
Corvette Racing returns to Mid-Ohio with momentum after a victory by Jan Magnussen and Oliver Gavin in the No. 4 Corvette C6.R at the preceding round at Mosport International Raceway on July 24. In June, teammates Tommy Milner, Olivier Beretta, and Antonio Garcia triumphed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Gavin and Magnussen’s win in Mosport narrowed the ALMS GT championship race; the Corvette duo is second in the drivers’ standings, 23 points behind BMW’s Dirk Mueller and Joey Hand, and Chevrolet is second in the manufacturer standings by 22 markers. With a maximum of 120 points on the table in the next five races and series-mandated balance of performance adjustments taking effect at Mid-Ohio, the GT championship is wide open at the midpoint of the ALMS season.
After scoring seven wins in the GT1 category at Mid-Ohio, Corvette Racing debuted its GT class Corvettes at the Ohio circuit in August 2009 with a runner-up finish by Magnussen and Johnny O’Connell. Last year at Mid-Ohio, Gavin and Beretta finished second in the fiercely contested class. Now the team is focused on moving up one spot on the podium with a victory.
“Mid-Ohio is quite a good track for us, and we’ve been very strong there from the first race with the GT car,” Magnussen said. “This year we’ve been a little behind because of the regulations, but this may change at Mid-Ohio. It could be our time to shine.”
“Last year we were really, really close to a win at Mid-Ohio,” Gavin recalled. “Our car came alive in the race and we had a great battle in GT. I managed to get past the BMW and Porsche, and then I had an excellent fight with Jamie Melo’s Ferrari in the final minutes. I think we had a car that was fast enough to win, but didn’t quite get the breaks to get a victory. I just hope we can continue on an upward trend.
“The Mid-Ohio circuit is rather narrow and it can be quite tricky to pass, but we proved last year that we could do it,” Gavin explained. “Getting the car through the Keyhole is challenging because you’re braking uphill and then the track falls away as the car goes over the crest. Coming into the corner at the end of the back straight is another challenge because the braking zone can be quite slippery. It’s a track where you need to be precise with your lines, precise with your braking, and have a car that rotates well.”
Tommy Milner will drive a Corvette for the first time at Mid-Ohio after finishing third there in 2009 and 2010. “I’ve had success at Mid-Ohio in the past, and combined with Corvette’s previous success, I hope to get a good result this year,” Milner said. “Mid-Ohio is a showcase for the GT class; there are areas where it’s tough to pass, but there are enough opportunities for the prototypes to get by. The elevation changes and the variety of corners make it a great place to race.”
The Mid-Ohio round is well attended by Corvette Racing’s friends and extended family, and the team is supported by hundreds of Corvette owners and enthusiasts in the Corvette Corral.
“It’s not far from the team headquarters, and a lot of the people who design and build the cars come from the race shop,” said Beretta, who is slated to make his milestone 100th ALMS start this weekend. “I hope we will have a good result with both cars. The track is quite interesting because the grip is not constant. The best strategy is to get out front and stay there!”
The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, August 6. Live video coverage will available on ESPN3.com in the US and americanlemans.com for international users. ESPN2 will televise the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge on Sunday, August 7, at 10 p.m. ET.
Bondurant School of High Performance Driving
Photo Credit: Richard Prince/GM Racing