Classic Wisconsin Circuit Is Corvette’s Proving Ground and Ancestral Home
ELKHART LAKE, Wis., Aug. 13, 2012 – The long and winding road to the American Le Mans Series championship runs through Road America, a track that is revered and respected by generations of sports car racers. The classic 4-mile circuit in the rolling Wisconsin countryside will host the Road America Road Race Showcase, the seventh round of the 2012 ALMS on Saturday, followed by the Corvette World Tribute on Sunday.
Like the famed French circuit that is the series’ namesake, Road America’s soaring straights and high-speed curves are a test of both horsepower and fortitude. The track has long been a proving ground for America’s iconic sports car, from the early days of solid-axle Corvettes, Sting Rays, and Grand Sports to today’s advanced Corvette C6.Rs.
“Road America is a fantastic circuit, a great track for teams, drivers, and race cars,” said Oliver Gavin, who shares the GT championship points lead with teammate Tommy Milner. “It’s got all the ingredients to make a great race. It’s the highest speed track we run on apart from Le Mans, and it’s the one track where we can test for the 24-hour race.”
“I like race tracks that are fast, with quick corners and a layout that has a rhythm – and Road America has all of those things,” said Milner, Gavin’s co-driver in the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R. “When the setup is right and the car feels comfortable, it’s a very rewarding lap. With the long straightaways and heavy braking zones, you can make passes happen.
“We tested at Road America early in the year when we were preparing for Le Mans,” Milner revealed, “and the new wide-body C6.R was very good there. I got a feel for how far the car has progressed since last season.”
Gavin and Milner are riding a wave of momentum after scoring their third win of the season and regaining the points lead in the preceding round at Mid-Ohio. With four races still to run, both are mindful of the championship scenarios.
“Every race is important, and there are bonus points on the table at Road America because it’s a four-hour race,” Milner explained. “It would be great to have a cushion going into Baltimore because anything can happen at street races.”
Gavin agreed: “I think that a four-hour race at Road America suits Corvette Racing’s strengths,” he said. “We seem to have a good approach to these longer races. With the opportunity to clock up some more points, it’s vital to keep that scoreboard ticking over.”
Jan Magnusssen and Antonio Garcia are aiming to rebound after contact in the closing minutes at Mid-Ohio knocked them out of the lead in the GT championship race. They will go into Road America third in the standings, 13 points behind their teammates.
“Road America is a very challenging track with mega-fast bits and some good technical corners,” Magnussen said. “Of course there is the Carousel and the Kink that everyone talks about. It’s a fantastic feeling going through there when the car works – and when it doesn’t work, it’s not so fantastic!
“Racing for four hours at Road America adds both strategy and points,” he continued. “The track lends itself to really good racing because of the long straights; it’s possible to tow up behind people and then outbrake them going into Turn 1 and Turn 5. We’re going there with a clear goal – to win the race.”
The action at Road America will continue on Sunday, August 19, with the Corvette World Tribute, a gathering of vintage and contemporary examples of America’s favorite sports car that celebrates the marque’s 60th year in production. The Corvette World Tribute offers a full slate of activities for participants, enthusiasts, and spectators to experience the Corvette lifestyle. Autocross and slalom courses, a concours featuring People’s Choice awards, a road rally, and track sessions for touring and race-prepared Corvettes will provide nonstop activity.
The Corvette Racing Display also will on hand at Road America on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and fans can receive a Corvette Racing T-shirt for registering at the display. On Friday and Saturday, the Team Chevy Test Drive will be in operation in the karting area near Turns 7 and 8. This ride-and-drive gives customers the opportunity to drive a variety of Chevy vehicles, including Corvette, Camaro, Volt, Cruze, and Sonic. Participants in the Test Driver will receive a 60th Anniversary Corvette T-shirt.
The four-hour Road America Road Race Showcase, the seventh round of the 2012 American Le Mans Series, will start at 2:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, August 18. The race can be viewed live on ESPN3.com starting at 3:15 p.m. ET. ESPN2 will televise the race at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 19.
Bondurant School of High Performance Driving