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24 Hours of LeMans

Historic Le Mans Corvette Racers at Laguna Seca

As part of the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Corvette’s debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Chevy rounded up three historic Le Mans racers for a special display at the ALMS race this weekend at Monterey’s Laguna Seca raceway. Here is a short video of the three Corvettes joining up with the #4 C6.R and the one of one 2011 50th Anniversary Le Mans Corvette Z06 for some promotional photos.

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Chevrolet to Salute Corvette Legends of Le Mans at Monterey

This year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans will mark the 50th Anniversary of Corvette’s first participation and class win at the world’s most prestigious sports car race. Chevrolet is celebrating this milestone with a salute to the Corvette legends of Le Mans at the American Le Mans Series race at Monterey this weekend.

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Very First 2011 Corvette Z06 is Tribute to 50th Anniversary of First Le Mans Win

In commemorating the 50th anniversary of Corvette’s first class win at Le Mans, GM built a very special one of one tribute to the 1960 Briggs Cunningham Corvette. VIN #00001 shares the same exterior cues including the twin stipes over the hood, roof and trunk and the #3. A special graphic on the B-pillar features a 50th Anniversary logo and then dates 1960 and 2010.

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GM’s Race To Win Corvette Sweepstakes is Now Live

by Keith Cornett on April 15, 2010

GM's Race To Win Corvette Sweepstakes is Now Live

General Motors will be giving one lucky winner the opportunity to win a new 2011 Corvette Grand Sport and a trip to the 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans. You can register for the sweepstakes by visiting www.RaceToWinCorvette.com. You’ll have to answer three simple questions to fill out the entry form, but trust me – they are easy! The Grand Prize drawing will take place on July 7, 2010. There is also a “Refer-a-Friend” contest in which the winner will receive a PRS SE Model Guitar signed by the Corvette Racing Team. PRS Guitars is a sponsor of Corvette Racing.

Click here to Register


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First Corvette to Win at Le Mans to be Displayed at the C5/C6 Bash

The 1960 Cunningham Corvette was the first Corvette to win at Le Mans. The story of the skillful restoration of this classic Corvette will be told to fans attending the C5/C6 Bash at the National Corvette Museum on May 1. Lance Miller, son of “Corvettes at Carlisle” founder Chip Miller, plans to bring the Corvette to Bowling Green along with one of its drivers, John Fitch.

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Collard Joins Corvette Racing as Endurance Driver in the #4 C6.R

Corvette Racing has announced the signing of Frenchman Emmanuel Collard to its stable of drivers. The veteran GT/Prototype driver will join Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta in the #4 Corvette C6.R ZR1 for the endurance races at Sebring, Le Mans and Petit Le Mans. Collard will be replacing Marcel Fassler who was hired by Audi to co-drive one of its R15 TDIs this year at Le Mans.

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Corvette Racing Receives Invitation to Race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans
Photo Credit: Richard Prince

It’s official. The two factory-sponsored Corvette C6.Rs have received invitations to join the ultra-competitive GT2 class this June for the 78th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The C6.Rs will battle a who’s who of sports car racing teams and manufacturers including Porsche, Ferrari, BMW and Jaguar in the crowded class featuring 17 entries.

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1968 Corvette L88 Scuderia Filipinetti Le Mans Racer

August is a busy month for most of the preeminent automotive auction houses and RM Auctions is no exception. This weekend they host their highly anticipated Sports & Classics of Monterey event in Monterey, California. One of the Corvettes that will be offered for sale is the 1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88 “Scuderia Filipinetti” Le Mans race car which is expected to fetch in the neighborhood of $500,000 – $700,000.

The Corvette L88 Scuderia Filipinetti Le Mans Racer holds a significant place in Corvette’s racing history. With a coil spring front suspension and an L88 engine prepped by Zora Arkus-Duntov and smuggled out the back door to circumvent GM’s ban on racing, the L88 was driven at the 1968 24 Hours of Le Mans by Henri Greder and Umberto Maglioli. The car dominated the Porsches and led the GT class until the 6th hour when a carburetion problem melted a piston.

The Corvette returned to Le Mans in 1969 where it again dominated the competition and led the GT class for 16 hours before it retired due to another mechanical failure. Greder then drove the L88 Corvette that September in the Tour de France, a 5,000 km marathon over nine days including 11 events at 9 different tracks. Despite a constant engine misfire, Greder and co-driver Vigneron captured seven of the eleven events. This account of the race at Clermont is awe-inspiring:

Despite encountering a constant engine misfire which replacing the carburetor, plugs, wires and even the gas tank didn’t cure, Greder and his co-driver Vigneron captured seven of the eleven events (Nürburgring, Rouen, Le Mans, Cap Fréhel, Charade, Albi and le Tourmalet).

At Clermont they finally swapped the distributor for one from a Camaro and the L88’s power returned. Starting the race at Clermont Ferrand (then known as Charade) from the back of the field, Greder (“I was very tired, and so happy to have the power back,” he recalled) passed every car on the straight after the start, went straight across the next two corners, spun and backed into a utility pole. Restarting, again at the back of the field, the rejuvenated Corvette (its driver’s enthusiasm unconstrained by the tachometer, which didn’t work after the distributor swap) charged through the field, catching Gerard Larrousse’s leading Porsche 911R at the start-finish line at the end of the first lap.

“Larrousse said he thought I was out for good and was so startled when he saw me in his mirrors he almost went off,” Greder remembered. But it was too late to catch Larrousse in the overall standings. Greder and the Corvette finished second and won the GT category earning the description “La phénoménale Chevrolet Corvette” in Maurice Louche’s history of the Tour de France Automobile.

The L88 Corvette was then sold to Jean-Claude Aubriet who campaigned it four more times at Le Mans from 1970-73, finishing as high as 18th overall and 2nd in class. The L88 Scuderia Filipinetti Le Mans Racer holds the record at Le Mans for single chassis starts (six).

Today the Corvette has been restored and now sports a 70′s vintage 454 made to look like the classic L88. It retains the coil spring front suspension developed by Zora as well as its M22 “Rock Crusher” close ratio gearbox and J56 heavy duty brakes. Documentation includes copies of the original A.C.O. entry forms from its six appearances at Le Mans.

Check out the new GT2 Corvette C6.R photos and the official press release after the jump.

1968 Corvette L88 Scuderia Filipinetti Le Mans Racer. Photo Credit: Darin Schnabel 1968 Corvette L88 Scuderia Filipinetti Le Mans Racer. Photo Credit: Darin Schnabel 1968 Corvette L88 Scuderia Filipinetti Le Mans Racer. Photo Credit: Darin Schnabel
1968 Corvette L88 Scuderia Filipinetti Le Mans Racer. Photo Credit: Darin Schnabel 1968 Corvette L88 Scuderia Filipinetti Le Mans Racer. Photo Credit: Darin Schnabel 1968 Corvette L88 Scuderia Filipinetti Le Mans Racer. Photo Credit: Darin Schnabel
1968 Corvette L88 Scuderia Filipinetti Le Mans Racer. Photo Credit: Darin Schnabel 1968 Corvette L88 Scuderia Filipinetti Le Mans Racer. Photo Credit: Darin Schnabel 1968 Corvette L88 Scuderia Filipinetti Le Mans Racer. Photo Credit: Darin Schnabel
1968 Corvette L88 Scuderia Filipinetti Le Mans Racer. 1968 Corvette L88 Scuderia Filipinetti Le Mans Racer. 1968 Corvette L88 Scuderia Filipinetti Le Mans Racer.

The full auction catalog description is a must-read for any Corvette racing enthusiast. The 1968 Corvette L88 Coupe will be auctioned on Saturday, August 15, 2009.


Source:
RM Auctions


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Toasting a Decade of Excellence for Corvette Racing

by Keith Cornett on June 17, 2009

Corvette Racing at Le Mans
Photo Credit: Richard Prince

If you are a frequent reader of AutoExtremist.com’s Peter De Lorenzo, you know that he has been a big supporter of GM’s Corvette Racing program because of its return on investment that racing brings via the technology transfer to production Corvettes. De Lorenzo has talked about the two distinct camps within GM corporate Marketing when it comes to Racing and is especially critical of the support the automaker gives to NASCAR year after year.

In his latest “Fumes” column, Peter reviews the awards and accolades that Corvette Racing has generated over the last decade and discusses the future of the program. As usual, this is a must-read for any racing enthusiast.

Read: Toasting a decade of excellence for Corvette Racing

 

Sixth Class Win for Corvette Racing's #63 C6.R
Photo Credit: Richard Prince

Corvette Racing came to La Sarthe with a single-minded goal to win the GT1 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and that’s exactly what they accomplished. Piloting the #63 Velocity Yellow Corvette C6.R across the finish line was Johnny O’Connell, who became the only American to win Le Mans 4 times. The #64 Corvette seized the GT1 lead with 3 hours left to run, but transmission problems knocked the Black Corvette out of the race.

Coming in second was the White #73 Corvette run by Luc Alphands team and in third place was the Jetalliance Racing Aston Martin DBR9, which was way down on the leader board most of the race but refused to quit. Once the #64 Corvette went out of the race, the Aston Martin was assured a podium finish.

Corvette Racing Quotes

Jan Magnussen, No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R:
“Four Le Mans wins feels absolutely great. My role in this one was for only half the race. I really have to thank Johnny and Antonio for working so hard during the last half of the race. Also a special mention to my crew chief Dan Binks. Standing on the victory podium at Le Mans is just amazing, and I hope that we can carry on.”

Johnny O’Connell, No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R:
“Winning at Le Mans is hard because it’s all about pushing as hard as you can while being perfect with your technique and taking care of the car. I think the three of us did that, even when we were wiped out and tired. The guys in the No. 64 Corvette might have had a little more mid-corner grip than us, so we had to push every minute. When you do that, sometimes you make mistakes, but the No. 63 finished the race as pretty as it started it.”

Antonio Garcia, No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R:
“I’ll tell you tomorrow when I wake up what it means to win Le Mans twice. This is my third 24-hour race win a row – I won Le Mans last year and Daytona 24 this year. I cannot ask for anything else. Corvette Racing gave me a car and a crew that worked perfectly, and I really appreciate it. During the night and this morning, I was up to my best. That’s what a proper team needs to be – everyone giving 100 percent.”

Oliver Gavin, No. 64 Compuware Corvette C6.R:
“It didn’t seem to matter what we did today, it was something just ready to trip us up, whether it was punctures or safety cars or this gearbox problem. I think that Olivier, Marcel and myself had driven well throughout the race, and it was going to be extremely close at the finish. It was going to come down two cars racing at the end of the race, which is quite unusual here at Le Mans. I really thought we had a great shot at it today, after we kept clawing back and finally pulled away, but then the final card played by Lady Luck was all bad luck. It’s desperately disappointing.”

Olivier Beretta, No. 64 Compuware Corvette C6.R:
“The car was good, then I had a puncture and my car was starting to be difficult, so they called me in and changed the tire. On the restart, I made the pass on the No. 63 Corvette before the Ford chicane. There was a lot of confusion and I just put the throttle flat on the floor.”

“It seemed like we were racing against the pace car all day. We’d lose two minutes, catch back up, and then lose two minutes again. The team did a very good job, we never gave up, and what happened today is just part of racing. We are professionals and have to accept it – but to be honest, you have to be disappointed when you push hard and don’t win.”

Doug Louth, Corvette Racing Engineering Director:
“It was easy to stay awake this morning because there was a lot happening. It couldn’t have been any closer between the two Corvettes – if they had both run to the finish, it would have come down to the wire. There were a lot of possible scenarios with pit stops and tires. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, but Corvette C6.Rs finished first and second.”

Dan Binks, Crew Chief, Corvette C6.R No. 63:
“Winning Le Mans is so unbelievable that I can’t even talk about it. All of the people here worked their butts off, and we’re just the guys who show up at the track. There are dozens of guys back in the shop working on this stuff.”



Source:
Corvette Racing
Photo Credit: Richard Prince

Related:
2009 Le Mans 24: Live Blogging Corvette Racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans
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