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Corvette Racing

Corvette Racing: 2009 Le Mans Campaign Confirmed

by Keith Cornett on December 23, 2008

A GT1 Corvette at the 24 Hours of Le Mans

Last week we brought you the report from AutoSport Magazine that claimed Corvette Racing was pulling out of 2009′s 24 Hours of Le Mans due to budget constraints. But Program Manager Doug Fehan rebutted that report as erroneous and says the Le Mans Challenge is a go.

The AutoSport report suggested that Corvette Racing wouldn’t compete at Le Mans and would instead focus on developing the new GT2 Corvette that is set to debut in the second half of the 2009 ALMS season.

Fehan says the plans to compete in GT1 at the beginning of the season and at Le Mans are still on.

“The primary focus of the race team is the 12 Hours of Sebring, Long Beach and, of course as it always has been, the 24 Hours of Le Mans,” he said. “We tested the GT1 car at Sebring in November, and we will be utilizing Sebring and Long Beach to put the final touches on the Le Mans effort.

“We’re continuously developing the car and package for fuel mileage, efficiency and new materials from our various suppliers. We want our last GT1 appearance at Le Mans to be successful. The team understands the importance of a victory at Sebring, Long Beach and Le Mans to close the GT1 program.”

Fehan also took the opportunity to address the progress of new GT2 Corvette C6.R and says development is on schedule to debut the new car at Mid-Ohio in early August.

“Engineering and fabrication continues to focus on the GT2 program,” he said. “We expect the first actual race car to be completed in early February and will be testing that car in the spring.”



Source:
Crash.net
Photo Credit: Richard Prince

Related:
Corvette Racing: Budget Cuts Force Cancellation of 2009 Le Mans Challenge?
Corvette Racing: GT2 Corvette C6.R Ready for Assembly
Corvette Racing: GT2 Will Never Be The Same

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The GT1 Corvettes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans

AutoSport Magazine is reporting that Corvette Racing will not return to France next summer to compete one last time in the 24 Hours of Le Mans GT1 class as originally planned due to budget constraints. However Steve Wesoloski, director of Chevrolet’s road racing program denies the decision has been made.

Corvette Racing has won at La Sarthe 4 times since 2000 and finished 2nd in class last year, but due to the ongoing financial crises, the team has been told to reduce its racing budget next year. Should the AutoSport Magazine report be true, you would think that this decision would call into question the whole strategy of running the GT1 program during the first half of the season as those races are essentially tune-ups for the 24 Hours of Lemans in June.

While Wesoloski denies the cancellation rumor, he does add the caveat that the final decision will based on the bailout discussions in Washington:

“We are still going ahead with our plans for a reduced programme of Sebring, Long Beach and Le Mans,” he said. “No one has told me otherwise. We are, of course, prepared for all eventualities. It all hinges on what happens in Washington.”



Source:
Autosport.com
Photo Credit: Richard Prince

Related:
Corvette Racing: GT2 Corvette C6.R Ready for Assembly
Corvette Racing: GT2 Will Never Be The Same

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RIDEMAKERZ Corvette Lineup

Pratt & Miller has partnered with RIDEMAKERZ, the custom model car building experience for kids to launch a lineup of Corvette models based on the C6.R and the C6RS. The new models were introduced Friday at Pratt & Miller’s Corvette Racing headquarters. Corvette Racing’s Ron Fellows was on hand along with kids from the Detroit Academy of Arts and Science to build the very first models which were donated to underprivileged children.

The RIDEMAKERZ concept is often referred to as the “Build a Bear” for boys, but kids of all ages enjoy the custom car building experience. Once you select your body style, you can customize the look with wheels, engines, exhaust style as well as decide whether to add a battery powered remote control or a free wheel chassis for pushing.

The RIDEMAKERZ partnership with Pratt & Miller explains why the Corvette Racing team duct-taped a Corvette model to the hood of the Number 4 C6.R for a hot lap around Monterey’s Laguna Seca raceway back in October:

“We are excited and proud to announce the release of our latest customizable RIDE, the legendary Chevrolet Corvette,” says RIDEMAKERZ ZEO and Founder Larry Andreini. “The RZ ‘Vettes are not just any Corvettes; they are the ‘BadBoy’ Pratt & Miller built, Le Mans winning race car, C6.R, and the quarter-of-a-million dollar, street legal C6RS Super-Car. It’s an honor to make these models available so that kids, parents, and car enthusiasts alike can build and trick out their ultimate model Corvette.”

Doug Fehan, Program Manager for Corvette Racing adds, “General Motors doesn’t just let anybody build a model Corvette. The new Pratt & Miller C6.R and C6RS Corvette models from RIDEMAKERZ truly capture the soul and spirit of the Corvette. Beyond that, we like how RIDEMAKERZ provides a hands-on building experience that allows kids, and kids at heart, to make choices and be creative.”

The RIDEMAKERZ Corvettes are available at any of the 12 nationwide shopz or online at RIDEMAKERZ.com with prices starting at $29. The remote control unit adds $25 and accessories start at $2.50.

Source:
RIDEMAKERZ.com

Related:
Pratt & Miller’s Corvette C6RS Doing Track Duty for ALMS

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Ultimate Tribute: SEMA 2008 Corvette C6.R Replica

by Keith Cornett on November 5, 2008

2008 Corvette C6.R Replica

This Corvette Z06 turned C6R replica looks to be the real deal until you get up close and view the interior. Making its debut at last year’s SEMA show, this ultimate tribute Corvette has returned to Las Vegas for SEMA 2008 and features the updated 2008 “Jake Scrape” livery which includes the new Compuware logo and black wheels. While we believe the best livery ever was the B-Pillar Jake on the 2007 Monterey Corvette C6Rs, we know this Corvette would be a hit at any of the ALMS Corvette corrals.

2008 Corvette C6.R Replica 2008 Corvette C6.R Replica 2008 Corvette C6.R Replica
2008 Corvette C6.R Replica 2008 Corvette C6.R Replica 2008 Corvette C6.R Replica
Photos copyright ©2008 Drew Phillips / Weblogs, Inc.

See more photos at Autoblog


Source:
Autoblog

Related:
Corvette Racing’s C6.Rs Sporting the New Jake Scrape
BadBoyVettes Unveil the Rebranded Corvette Racing C6.Rs

2009 Corvette ZR1 on the Nurburgring

Back in June when GM Development Engineer Jim Mero drove the 2009 Corvette ZR1 around the Nurburgring in 7:26.4, we wondered out loud what that time could have been if one of Corvette Racing’s drivers, particularly Jan Magnussen, had the opportunity to drive the 6.2L Supercharged Corvette around the world’s all-important 12.9 mile track. According to several sources, we’ve learned that on Monday, October 27th, Jan Magnussen drove the Corvette ZR1 to a time of 7:22.4, besting the previous time by 4 seconds!

Jan Magnussen’s extensive knowledge of the Nordschleife and his employment with Corvette Racing makes him the perfect candidate for a second Corvette ZR1 attack on the ‘Ring. It was Magnussen that left Corvette’s first mark on the Nurburgring with his Corvette Z06 lap time of 7:42.9 back in 2005.

There is somewhat of a conspiracy afloat about this time, as it was originally posted to FasterLaps.com here and then the entry was deleted. It’s posted again here with credit from Autoblog which listed the information from the original post:

Lap time ID: 49063045e0652
Car: 2008 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 (476 kw)
Track: Nordschleife
Lap time: 7.22.4
Driven by: Jan Magnussen
Submitter IP: 24.208.168.135
Date & time of submission: 27/10/08, 23:19:01

Without proof including video or a substantiated third-party eyewitness, this time will remain suspect. We also can’t imagine that GM wouldn’t take the opportunity to roll-tape as Nurburgring times have become such an important selling tool for the new super cars, Corvette ZR1 included.

Lastly, this story really leaves us wanting more. How about a race-prepped ZR1 complete with racing tires, roll bar and that really fast looking velocity yellow paint? Now that would be something to see!


Source:
Autoblog.com
MotorGears.com
FasterLaps.com

Related:
[VIDEO] Official Video of Corvette ZR1′s 7:26.4 Nürburgring Lap
[VIDEO] 2009 Corvette ZR1 Laps Nürburgring in 7:26.4

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Corvette Racing: GT2 Corvette C6.R Ready for Assembly

by Keith Cornett on October 27, 2008

The GT1 #4 Corvette at Laguna Seca

The much anticipated move from GT1 to GT2 next year brings a whole host of new challenges and obstacles for the Corvette Racing team. Having thoroughly dominated the GT1 class and pretty much driving out the competition over the last two years, GT2 will pit Corvette’s C6.R against some of the premier manufacturers and teams in sports car racing. Corvette Racing Program Director Doug Fehan recently shed some light on GT2 C6.R project during an ALMS conference call.

According to Fehan, the debut of the Corvette C6.R in GT2 will most likely happen at Mid-Ohio, the 7th race of the 12 race ALMS season. Some of the changes the GT2 Corvette will have over the GT1 car include a smaller rear wing, steel brakes and a “little less” horsepower. Like the GT1 Corvettes, the GT2 car will be powered by cellulosic E85.

“The engineering work is completed and we’ll be starting in the next week to 10 days actually assembling the car,” Fehan said. “We’ve done the simulations on it. We know what the rules are and we know what the other cars are capable of. When we finally come out we’ll do the best job we possibly can.”

Followers of the ALMS know all about the competitiveness of the GT2 class. Porsche and Ferrari are the two premier cars and BMW is returing with a M3 factory team as well. Also in the mix are Viper’s, Ford GT40s, Aston Martin and the LG Motorsports Corvette. Fehan warns that this will be a transition year and not to expect the Corvette C6.Rs to dominate immediately.

“Don’t look for us to dominate right out of the shoot – it’s not going not to happen,” Fehan said. “Rear-engine and mid-engine cars have a distinct advantage in that classification. We know the challenges that lie ahead for a front-engine car and we are prepared to meet them. Let’s not forget too that we spent the first two years struggling with (the GT1) car. It took us awhile to get us up to speed and we expect that same kind of learning curve. We are prepared for it.”

According GM’s previous press release on the move to GT2, Corvette Racing will run the GT1 car at Sebring and Long Beach (skipping St. Pete and Utah) and then will make its final appearance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June. The team will then skip Lime Rock to make theirGT2 class debut at the Acura Sports Car Challenge in Mid-Ohio. Should the debut happen at Mid Ohio, the team will have six races left in the ALMS schedule including the premier events Petit Le Mans and Monterey.



Source:
AmericanLeMans.com

Related:
Corvette Racing: GT2 Will Never Be The Same

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Corvette Racing: Team Celebrates Post-Seasons Awards

by Keith Cornett on October 25, 2008

Doug Fehan (left) accepts the From the Fans award from ALMS found Don Panoz

Corvette Racing’s Program Manager Doug Fehan was presented with the From The Fans Award at the American Le Mans awards ceremony following last weekend’s season finale, the Monterey Sports Car Championships at Laguna Seca. Mike West, crew chief for the #4 Corvette C6.R was named GT1 Mechanic of the Year. Jan Magnussen and Johnny O’Connell won the GT1 drivers championship and Chevrolet took home the GT1 manufacturers championship trophy for the eighth straight year.

Fehan’s win of the From the Fans award is significant because it’s determined by ALMS fans in online voting. The purpose is to award the person who has made the greatest contribution to sports car racing in the year. Fehan was very busy this year as one of the most visible supporters of the Green Challenge initiative. Doug also helped raise more than $6,000 in the Corvette Challenge Bike Race to Fight Cancer which benefited the Lance Armstrong Foundation by racing C6.R driver Oliver Gavin in a lap around Road America.

“Each and every one of our team members knows how to take care of our fans – not only our fans, but all fans,” said Fehan. “Anybody who visits Corvette Racing knows that hospitality is our No. 1 priority. We try to make everyone feel at home.”

Johnny O’Connell and Jan Magnussen won the GT1 drivers championship. This was the third time O’Connell won award, and his first with teammate Jan Magnussen. Johnny came within three votes of winning the Most Popular Driver award.

“Jan and I were teamed together in 1999 with another marque, and we never got that second season,” said O’Connell. “I’m so grateful to everyone at Chevrolet for giving us the opportunity to realize what I thought would have happened in 2000. I’m blessed that throughout my career I’ve had great teammates, guys that I could push and that could push me. To all the great champions, whether you won or not, it’s an honor for all of us to compete with you week in and week out.”

The GT1 Mechanic of the Year went to Mike West, crew chief of the #4 Corvette C6.R. The recipient is selected by the pit lane and technical staffs of the IMSA. This was Mike’s first time to win the prestigious award.

Finally, Corvette Racing claimed its eight consecutive team title in the GT1 class. GM’s Racing Director Mark Kent accepted the manufacturers trophy and said the following:

“Corvette Racing has achieved remarkable results in 10 years of competition in the GT1 category,” Kent said. “The 2008 season marks the end of one chapter in Corvette Racing history, and the beginning of a new chapter as we move into the GT2 category in 2009. We look back at our past success with pride, and we look forward to new challenges with determination to succeed. We anticipate great competition, and I can think of no team that is better prepared for that challenge than Corvette Racing.”



Source:
Corvette Racing

Related:
[VIDEO] Corvette Racing’s Doug Fehan on the Green Challenge
Corvette Racing: Vote for Fehan, O’Connell in 2008!
Le Mans: Corvette Racing and the National Anthem

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1963 Corvette Grand Sport Chassis #002

Grand Sport Corvette Chassis #002 – one of the legendary five Corvettes secretly built by Zora Arkus-Duntov and the Corvette engineering team explicitly for racing will be offered for sale at RM Auction’s Automobiles of Arizona in January 2009. The 1963 Corvette Grand Sports are considered to be some of the rarest and most valuable Corvettes ever made, and this will be the first time one is being made available in a public sale.

Built to challenge Carrol Shelby’s Cobras in SCCA and FIA endurance races, the Grand Sport program originally called for 125 of these lightweight Corvette race cars to be built, which would allow the cars to run in the GT class at Sebring and Le Mans. The Grand Sports weighed in at about 1,900 pounds, or 1,300 pounds less than a stock Corvette coupe. They were originally powered by an all aluminum 377 ci V8 with 58 mm side draft Weber carbs. The engine was capable of 550 horsepower and coupled to a 4-speed transmission.

Failing to meet the 125 minimum build, the Corvettes raced in the prototype class in 1963 at Sebring. Although they ran against advanced purpose-built race cars, the Corvettes proved to be superior in speed and handling to the Cobras that raced in the GT class.

The Grand Sports finally got the chance to go head-to-head with the Cobras at the 1963 Nassau Speed Week race. The Corvettes finished third and fourth behind two prototypes and completely bested the Cobras.

Unfortunately the program was cancelled by GM in early 1964. The Grand Sport prototypes, two roadsters and three coupes, survived destruction and fell into the hands of private racers like Roger Penske and George Wintersteen who preserved their heritage for future generations.

1963 Corvette Grand Sport #002 1963 Corvette Grand Sport #002 1963 Corvette Grand Sport #002
1963 Corvette Grand Sport #002 at Watkins Glen 1963 Corvette Grand Sport #002 at Mosport  

Some have estimated that a Grand Sport Corvette could sell for as much as $5 million dollars and with that kind of estimate, it’s totally plausible that this Corvette could be the most expensive Corvette ever purchased at an auction.

The #002 Corvette Grand Sport is scheduled for sale at the Automobiles of Arizona event on Friday, January 16th. The following is excerpted from the press release:


Preeminent international auction house, RM Auctions, will open the 2009 collector car season in grand style as they offer one of the rarest and most valuable Corvettes in history – the legendary 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport – at their famed ‘Automobiles of Arizona’ event. The January 16th event will mark RM’s 10th anniversary sale in Phoenix, Arizona.

PHOENIX, Arizona (October 21, 2008) – Preeminent international auction house, RM Auctions will mark their 10th anniversary Automobiles of Arizona auction event in Phoenix, Arizona with the sale of one the rarest and most valuable Corvettes in history – an all mighty 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport (chassis no. 002).

Often referred to as one of the most fascinating enigmas in motor racing annals and certainly one of the most valuable, the Grand Sport was General Motor’s contender to Ford’s venerable Shelby Cobra. Envisioned by the legendary ‘father of the Corvette’, Zora Arkus-Duntov, these top secret, hand-built race cars were designed to win at FIA endurance races and ultimately the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Only five were built out of an expected 120 car run before General Motors cancelled its competition activities in early 1964. Miraculously, each of the prototypes escaped destruction orders, falling into the hands of private racers who preserved their heritage for future generations.

From this elite fraternity, the multi-million dollar 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport (Chassis no. 002) with its original un-restored race body is being offered for the first time ever at RM’s Biltmore auction in January. Previously owned by Roger Penske and George Wintersteen, 002 is one of just two roadsters produced out of the original five prototypes.

“The Corvette Grand Sport is one of the greatest American racing cars and quite possibly, one of the most historically significant American built race bred automobiles ever produced,” says Ian Kelleher, Managing Director of RM Auctions. “Additionally, for Corvette enthusiasts, this car is singularly the most important and significant Corvette to ever come to market, making its offering in Arizona a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire such an important piece of American motoring history.”

Keith Martin, Publisher of Corvette Market Magazine adds: “The Grand Sport is clearly one of the most desirable Corvettes ever built. With its significant racing history, featuring a strong showing in the 1966 U.S. Road Racing Championship, it is the most important Corvette to ever be offered for sale publicly.”

This legendary Corvette will be presented along with over 100 exceptional vintage automobiles and motorcycles.


Source:
RM Auctions
Corvette Legends
Photo credits – Studio: RM Auctions-Troy Wood Vintage: Dave Friedman

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1962 Gulf Oil Corvette Sells for $1.485 Million at Pebble Beach Technorati Tags:
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The Corvette C6.Rs at Montery

Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta claimed victory in the ALMS season-ending race Monterey Sports Car Championships at Laguna Seca. The #4 Corvette C6.R finished 12 seconds ahead of the teammates Johnny O’Connell and Jan Magnussen in the #3 Corvette. The race was Corvette Racing’s last at Monterey in the GT1 class as the team makes the transition to GT2 following 2009′s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The race was full of cautions with five full-course yellow flags in the first hour alone. It was the 11th caution and its subsequent restart that allowed Beretta to pass O’Connell on the front straight to take the lead with 45 minutes remaining.

“With all the victories I have, I was lucky to drive for a good team and to have very good teammates,” Beretta said. I was not alone. I didn’t want to lose today,” he declared. “I knew this was the last chance. I was thinking about the restart on cold tires and driving like I was in the wet. I put the power down and everything went okay. I could have spun because I put the power down very early, but the car stayed on the track and I managed to overtake Johnny.”

Corvette Racing’s Program Manager Doug Fehan was enthusiastic about the performance today and the entire season by the two teams:

“Today’s event was not just a good race, but a great race,” said Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. “When you see the lead changes, the pit stops, it was the quintessential representation of what we’ve worked on for a decade. The Corvettes were thousandths of a second apart on the race track and thousandths of a second apart in the pit lane. There’s a reason why this team is regarded as one of the best sports car teams in the world, and we demonstrated that today.”

With his victory at Monterey, Olivier Beretta became the first driver in ALMS history to reach 40 career wins, including five victories at Laguna Seca. Gavin tallied his 31st victory in the series. O’Connell and Magnussen do take home the GT1 Drivers Championship finishing 238 points to 215 for the #4 team.

Corvette Racing will return next season to start the series in the GT1 class at the 12 Hours of Sebring. The race is scheduled for March 21. 2009. The team is expect to also race at Long Beach California before making the trip to France in June for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Following that endurance race, the team is expected to transition to GT2 for the rest of the ALMS season.



Source:
Corvette Racing

Related:
Corvette Racing: New Jake Livery Set for Monterey

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Corvette Racing: New Jake Livery Set for Monterey

by Keith Cornett on October 18, 2008

The Corvette C6.Rs at Petit Le Mans

If you’re planning on watching the Monterey SportsCar Championships this weekend, you’ll see Corvette Racing’s now-famous mascot “Jake” front and center on the hood. The new graphics were created by the GM Design Center for the season ending American Le Mans race.

Corvette C6.R Jake Livery Corvette C6.R Jake Livery Corvette C6.R Jake Livery

In other news, Jan Magnussen scored his second pole of the season with a GT1 class record at Laguna Seca. His lap of 1:19.291 (101.611 mph) eclisped the record he set last year and was .499 seconds faster than Oliver Gavin’s 1:19.790 (100.975 mph). Our friends at BadBoyVettes remind us that with Corvette Racing moving to GT2 next year following Le Mans, this is a record that could stand forever.

The four-hour ALMS race, the headline event of the Monterey Sports Car Championships, is scheduled to start at 2:45 p.m. on Saturday, October 18. NBC will televise the race tape-delayed from 2 to 4 p.m. EDT on Sunday, October 19.



Source:
BadBoyVettes.com
Corvette Racing

Related:
Corvette Racing: Petit Le Mans News Roundup
[VIDEO] Corvette Racing’s Doug Fehan on the Green Challenge

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