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Corvette Racing

Corvette Racing: Reunited for the 24 Hours of Spa

by Keith Cornett on July 26, 2007

Luc Alphand Aventures' Drivers and their Corvette C6.RThe Corvette Racing team has this weekend off, but that doesn’t mean everyone is just staying home to mow the lawn or change the oil on their personal rides. Unbeknownst to most Americans, there is a major 24 hour endurance race happening in Belgium this weekend called the 24 Hours of Spa. French team Luc Alphand Aventures is fielding a Corvette C6.R and has enlisted the help of Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta to join the 4 member driver team to compete in the FIA-GT race. The Alphand Aventures Corvette C6.R is very familiar to the American LeMans drivers as it was the same Corvette they won the GT1 class with at LeMans in 2006. The Corvette, purpose built for a 24 hour endurance race, just received a fresh build up from C6.R builder Pratt and Miller and with its fresh white graphics and #3 on the side, the two “Ollies” should feel right at home. The 24 Hours of Spa is run on the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, a 4.3 mile track through the rolling hills of Belgium. It is a very fast and demanding track and many drivers rate it at the top of the most difficult list. But unlike the race at LeMans that include prototypes, this is the European FIA-GT Championship race, so the drivers aren’t just going for the class win, they are battling to win the race outright. Joining Beretta and Gavin for driver duty is Vincent Vosse, winning driver of the Spa in 2002 and the very fast newcomer Greg Franchi. The four Alphand drivers will be facing some very stiff competition from the who’s-who of European FIA racing teams that includes five Maserati MC12′s, three Aston Martin DBR9′s, two Lamborghini Murciélago R-GT, two Corvette C5-R and one other Corvette C6.R.

“The 24 Hours of Spa is still missing from my record book, and I must admit that coming out on top with such a competent and well humoured team really tempts me “, Olivier Beretta commented. ” Oliver Gavin and I know the car inside out, whilst both Vincent and Greg know Francorchamps like the back of their hand. In fact everything is looking up …” Vincent Vosse said “How could one let such an opportunity pass by to be able to drive with such great characters as Beretta et Gavin at the wheel of a car specially built for endurance racing, and for such a competent team as that of Luc Alphand? Even though on paper we have everything pointing to success, we need to beware of the race conditions here at Spa. Every year there are numerous surprises, and we must at all costs avoid any serious errors …”
The 24 Hours of Spa kicks off on Saturday July 28th at 10am EST (4pm local time). Count on to bring you a selected update or two as we follow our Crossed Flags brethren across the pond in this very exciting and challenging endurance race.
Wikipedia: The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps Related:
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Earlier this week we posted a photo of what turned out to be a festival car for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. The Yellow Corvette Convertibles were decorated very lightly with some graphics and the race logo on the doors. Today we received the official photos and it turns out that a White Corvette Z06 will be handling the Pace Car duties. White Z06 Corvettes were only made for the 2007 Ron Fellows Signature edition, so this is may be a one-off version prepared for the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Interestingly, with its LS7 505 hp V8 engine, this Corvette is more than able to hang with the NASCAR racing vehicles it was destined to pace.

Corvette Z06 Allstate 400 Pace Car Corvette Z06 Allstate 400 Pace Car

Credit: IMS Photos by Shawn Payne
The Allstate 400 Corvette Pace Car features a red hood (Crystal Red Metallic?) with a white Chevy bowtie logo and red and blue checkerboard design on top of the white exterior on the sides. Logos tastefully grace the doors and the official safety lights are installed on the hardtop. Chevy Day at the Brickyard on Friday will kickoff the weekend of racing. Practice and qualifying is Saturday, July 28th and the race will be held on Sunday, July 29th beginning at 2pm.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Related:
Over The Fence: Corvette to Pace 2007 Allstate Brickyard 400
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Maybe through the fence is a better way to describe how we came across this photo of the Corvette Pace Car Festival Car for the Allstate Brickyard 400. IndyAndy had a chance to visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway earlier this month when he spied these Velocity Yellow Corvette Convertibles in Gasoline Alley. The Corvettes feature the Allstate Brickyard 400 logos as well as the horizontal graphics that start at the front tires and sweep down the side. A graphic that appears to be the Chevrolet Bowtie graces the hood.

Corvette Convertible Pace Car
Photo Credit: IndyAndy
This marks the third major auto race to be paced by Corvette in 2008. Previous appearances include the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500. The Brickyard 400 festivus kicks off on Friday, July 27 with Chevy Day at the Brickyard. Practice and qualifying is Saturday, July 28th and the race will be held on Sunday, July 29th beginning at 2pm.
IndyAndy’s Indy Journal
Allstate 400 at the Brickyard Related:
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Corvette Racing: #4 Corvette C6.R Wins at Mid-Ohio

by Keith Cornett on July 22, 2007

Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta scored their sixth GT1 win at Saturday’s Mid-Ohio American LeMans race in Lexington, Ohio. While fortune smiled on the two Ollies, it was an all together different kind of race for the #3 Corvette driven by Jan Magnussen and Johnny O’Connell. Having to start at the rear of the grid due to failing a stall test following Friday’s qualifying session, the #3 Corvette made up the difference quickly in the first few laps with brilliant driving by O’Connell. After the driver switch Magnussen had closed the gap with the class leading #4 Corvette to just two seconds when contact was made with the #26 LMP2 Acura which spun the Corvette around. Officials gave the LMP2 a stop-and-go penalty but Magnussen lost nearly 20 seconds and effectively ended any chance of beating Gavin and Beretta.

“One of the P2 cars tried to pass me around the outside in the second-to-last corner, but he wasn’t up alongside me,” Magnussen recalled. “Then in the next corner he was on the inside coming up into the little kink onto the front straight, but he was only up on my rear wheel. I didn’t see him, but I felt him when he spun me around. “We had almost caught up to the other Corvette,” continued the Dane, “and it would have been cool to race them to the finish.” “The No. 3 Corvette made a great run, but unfortunately had a coming together with the No. 26 prototype that took them out of contention,” noted Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. “Otherwise I think we would have seen another great battle. Both cars made it to the finish line in perfect condition, and now we’ll move on to the next race.”
The victory for Gavin and Beretta extends their lead in the GT1 championship to 36 points with five races remaining. Both Corvettes completed 125 laps around the 2.25 mile Mid-Ohio track and finished 11th and 12th overall. Corvette Racing’s next event is the four-hour Generac 500 at Road America on Saturday, August 11. NBC Sports will televise the race tape-delayed at 2:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, August 12.
Source: Related:
Corvette Racing: GT1 Track Record Crushed in Mid-Ohio Qualifying
[Video] Le Mans: #63 Corvette Running Third in GT1 Technorati Tags:
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With Johnny O’Connell leading the way in the #3 C6.R, Corvette Racing shattered the GT1 track record at Mid-Ohio during Friday’s 20 minute qualifying session. O’Connell lapped the 2.25 mile course with a time of 1:16.568 (106.164 mph) while Oliver Gavin was close behind with a time of 1:16.635 (106.072 mph). The course record was 1:18.033 set by Gavin back in May 2005. Unfortunately for the #3 Corvette, the car failed the stall test during post-qualifying inspection and will be starting from the rear of the grid.

“Apparently there was a malfunction in the sealing of the airbox, and the engine didn’t stall when IMSA officials tested it after qualifying,” said Corvette Racing team manager Gary Pratt. “Therefore they disallowed the car’s time.”
The Mid-Ohio circuit has had a host of improvements made over the last year making the course a new favorite of the drivers.
“This race track is a lot of fun to drive around,” Gavin added. “The tarmac that’s been down for about a year now is giving good grip, it’s reasonably smooth, and we can attack the corners.” “They’ve improved the circuit, made the curbs more friendly, and I think every category is running faster,” O’Connell said. “Corvette Racing has also improved the Corvette C6.R and Michelin has improved the tires, so I’d expect us to be quicker than we were in 2005.”
The Acura Sports Car Challenge, the seventh round of the 12-race ALMS series, will start at 3:15 p.m. EDT on Saturday, July 21. CBS Sports will televise the two-hour, 45-minute race tape-delayed at 2 p.m. EDT on Sunday, July 22.
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Paul Newman Is Still Racing Corvettes at 82

by Keith Cornett on July 14, 2007

Paul Newman's #82 CorvetteAcademy Award winner and salad dressing king Paul Newman shares a passion for speed and despite being 82 years old, is still actively competing in SCCA sanctioned auto racing. After appearing in the film “Winning” back in 1969, Newman developed an interest in amateur racing has been competing since the early seventies. Today he drives in the GT-1 class and his race car of choice is the Chevrolet Corvette. This weekend Newman will be competing at the 60th Annual Glen Nationals at Watkins Glen International. Test day was Friday and driving the #82 Corvette, a reference to his age, Newman drove a best lap of 1:55.7, which was a half second off the time posted by his 62 year old teammate Mike Brockman, also driving a Corvette. Paul is no stranger to the winners circle. Just this year he has scored one pole, two SCCA regional-class wins and a second place finish. Newman has won four amateur national championships, the last being in 1986 and in 1995, at 70 years old, became the oldest driver to win at the 24 Hours of Daytona. Newman’s crew chief, Bill Lloyd says “His competitors are amazed at how quick he is at his age. He’s an inspiration for a lot of drivers, both young and old.” Newman’s #82 Corvette produces 640 horsepower and has a top speed of 185 mph. In addition to car’s number referencing his age, his trademark initials “PLN” (Paul Leonard Newman) are scripted above the door. Update: Paul finished in 4th position at the Glen Nationals. He had his work cut out for him after his cool suit failed. His racing team mate, Mike Brockman finished in second place just 10.410 seconds behind the 1st place finisher Simon Gregg. All three drove Corvettes…
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Bad Boy Vettes learned a costly lesson at LeMans last month: Until you can find a way to protect a hood mounted camera, mount it on the inside. But that didn’t stop the boys from trying something else new. During last week’s ALMS race at Lime Rock, BBV took racing videography to a new low…as in FootCam! With Johnny O’Connell taking a few practice laps around the short, bumpy 1.5 mile track that is Lime Rock, we see the in-car camera view and within a picture-in-picture screen is Johnny O’s foot going gas, brake, gas, brake.

Corvette Racing at Lime Rock
While I kept reading the knock on Lime Rock is that is small, tight and congested, seeing the video makes you realize it’s all that and more. And with speeds over 100 mph and top speeds at 150, that beautiful V8 sound the Corvette C6.R produces is just awesome. BBV is open to suggestions on other camera placements. How about ShifterCam or Driver’s FaceCam. Visit Bad Boy Vettes to view the video. Thanks for the tip, Dan!
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Best Video Yet: C6.R Corvette Lapping Le Mans Technorati Tags:
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Corvette Racing: #4 Corvette C6.R Wins Lime Rock

by Keith Cornett on July 8, 2007

Bouncing back from the DNF (Did Not Finish) at Le Mans, Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta braved the traffic on Lime Rock’s 1.54 mile raceway and scored a victory with a margin of just .384 seconds over the #3 Corvette C6.R. The winning Corvette went 165 laps and finished 8th overall. They led the #3 Corvette C6.R driven by Johnny O’Connell and Jan Magnussen the entire race, although never separating more than a few seconds.

Corvette Racing Program Manager Doug Fehan said “At the end of the day these guys finished a couple of tenths of a second apart, and it’s just incredible to think they can do that race after race,” he said. “Other teams have tried to accomplish that and can’t seem to do it. Today was a testament to the work that Corvette Racing has done.”
The #4 Corvette C6.R won the pole on Friday by an even smaller margin of .013 seconds. The starting grid was based on the practice times as rain washed out the official qualifying sessions.
“This is the smallest, narrowest, bumpiest, and craziest track we race on,” said Gavin after notching his 25th career ALMS victory. “When you have the prototypes driving up behind you with a lot of pace on the straights and GT2 cars with great speed in the corners, you have to keep you wits about you all the time. It’s very satisfying to come back to America and get a victory in our first race after Le Mans.” “It was like riding a bicycle in the middle of a highway with trucks and cars all around you,” Beretta explained. “Staying out of trouble was not easy, but (crew chief) Ray Gongla did a terrific job of spotting for me in the pits. It was difficult to stay out of trouble because of the traffic, but both cars are in one piece, and that was the goal.”
Beretta extended his record for career ALMS victories with his 33rd win. The “two Ollies” now unofficially lead the GT1 drivers championship by 32 points. Coming up next for Corvette Racing is the Acura Sports Car Challenge at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio on July 21st. Race time is 3:15 p.m. EDT and will be shown tape-delayed on 2 p.m. EDT on Sunday, July 22nd.
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Corvette Racing’s Ron Fellows Turns Attention to NASCAR Technorati Tags:
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Ron FellowsWithout so much as a chance to cool his jets following Corvette Racing’s 2nd place finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Ron Fellows has turned his attention to NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Toyota/Save Mart 350 at the Infineon Raceway on Sunday. The road-racing specialist has five combined wins in NASCAR’s Truck and Busch series, but so far a Nextel Cup race win has eluded him.

“It’d be huge,” Fellows said of a possible win. “It’s why we keep pursuing it. It’s unfinished business for me. We’ve been fortunate enough to win in the Truck Series and the Busch Series, but I really want to get a win in Nextel Cup. “When you look at how big and popular Nextel Cup racing is, it’s impossible to ignore. It would be, without a doubt, one of the biggest wins I’ve ever had.”
Fellows will be substituting for Tony Raines in the Hall of Fame #96 Chevrolet. Ron has 15 starts in NASCAR cup races finishing in the top 10 4 times and twice in top 5.
“I thoroughly enjoy doing [NASCAR races], whether it’s Busch, Cup or Truck,” Fellows said. “The Nextel Cup Series is the cream of the crop and on the competitive side of it, these guys are all very, very good. The racing is incredibly close and that’s enjoyable. “It’s also a lot shorter than what I’ve been doing recently [Le Mans] — and I don’t have to get out of the car during the pit stops.”
The Toyota/Save Mart 350 starts at 3:30pm and will be televised on TNT.
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Le Mans: #63 Corvette C6.R Finishes in 2nd Place Technorati Tags:

Le Mans: Corvette Racing’s Post-Race Recap

by Keith Cornett on June 20, 2007

The No. 63 Corvette C6.R team celebrates their 2nd place finish on the podium at Le MansLast week and throughout the weekend I set a goal to provide timely and interesting updates about Corvette Racing’s attempt to defend their GT1 championship at Le Mans. Truth be told, it was probably the most fun I’ve had on this blog since its inception in 2005. Despite the letdown that comes with your team falling short of the overall goal, second place is still an honor and the Corvette Racing streak of seven consecutive podium finishes is nothing short of amazing. Here are some related post-race links worth checking out, as the comments and stories come from the people that were there:
The official press release about the Second Place Finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. GM FYI Blog
Listen to four podcasts from the the Corvette Racing Team. The post-race comments come from GM Racing Director Mark Kent, Corvette Racing Program Manager Doug Fehan and drivers of the 2nd place #63 C6.R Johnny O’Connell and Jan Magnussen.
Oliver Gavin reflects on what’s it’s like when it goes wrong. The defending GT1 Class championship driver was piloting the #64 Corvette C6.R when the prop shaft failed. Unable to fix the car from the side of the track, Gavin was forced into an early retirement and found other ways to spend the time at Le Mans, including narrating this clip of the #63 Corvette C6.R making contact with a P1 Audi.
I’d like to congratulate the #63 Corvette C6.R team for giving the race their all, especially when 90 minutes into it you were suddenly shouldered with the sole responsibility of winning Le Mans. And for the #64 C6.R Team, you boys handled adversity and bad luck with class and dignity. We know you’ll be back next year with a vengeance! Lastly, I’d like to thank Richard Prince who loaned us three great Corvette Racing photos to use throughout the week as our Le Mans banner. You can view his work at Le Mans this year by visiting the Corvette Racing Photo Gallery.
Le Mans: #63 Corvette C6.R Finishes in 2nd Place
Le Mans: #64 Corvette Stalled and Possibly Out
LeMans: Podcasts From Corvette Racing Team Members
Le Mans Starting Grid Set: Corvette’s 3rd and 5th
Best Video Yet: C6.R Corvette Lapping Le Mans
Le Mans Preview: 2007 Corvette Racing Team Photo
Video: Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin Previews Le Mans
Corvette Racing’s Johnny O’Connell Previews LeMans
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