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24 Hours of LeMans

Corvette Racing’s group of drivers for the 24 Hours of Le Mans has a record any team in the paddock would envy. The six pilots have combined for 144 class wins in the American Le Mans Series and 17 at Le Mans with Corvette Racing winning five times since 2001. Despite all the success, the memories, history and significance of Le Mans still resonate throughout the team.

Olivier Beretta
Olivier Beretta
“My first experience at the track in 1995 was wonderful, but the race was not. Le Mans is such a famous event, but I had only watched it on television and had no idea what it was really about. I was happy to be here, but the race did not go well for us. Our Courage did not pass the technical inspection and was not allowed to start the race because it was too light, so it was a big disappointment. But after that, every year at Le Mans has been a wonderful experience.”


Ron Fellows
Ron Fellows
“I first went to Le Mans in 1999 with Herb Fishel (GM Racing director), Joe Negri (GM Racing Road Racing Group manager) and John Rice (engine development manager). After our first Daytona-Sebring experience with the Corvette, we planned on racing in Le Mans in 2000, so Herb and Joe asked me to go to Le Mans to get a feel for what it was like.

“On the morning of the race, the race director gave me a ride around the circuit in a Corvette. It was very cool to have some level of understanding when I came back the following year to race. Le Mans is very different – the way the paddock works, the scrutineering process; it’s all quite different than what we have in North America.

“I remember my first four laps in 2000 – it was like, ‘Wow, here we are!’ The run from Mulsanne down to Indianapolis was amazing. To do it in a street car is one thing, but when you’re going 190 mph it’s like driving in a tunnel.”


Johnny O'Connell
Johnny O’Connell
“My first Le Mans was in 1994 with the Nissan team, when we won the GT1 class. The most impressive thing was driving down Mulsanne before the race in a rental car. Just seeing the length of it, seeing how similar everything was to the movie Le Mans. When you go to Le Mans for the first time and see the Dunlop Bridge and all of the historic landmarks, it drives home the significance of this race. It felt even more special to me than going to Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“Le Mans is a magical place, and every year here you learn something. Your first laps here are special, and you never forget them. Winning in my first year at Le Mans was a great experience, and to have won it a couple of more times since then is really good.”


Jan Magnussen
Jan Magnussen
“My first Le Mans was in 1999 when I shared a Panoz with Johnny O’Connell and Max Angelelli. Just driving at a track that has so much history was a great experience. It was my first endurance race, so I had no idea how long 24 hours really was. Halfway into the race we were about 40 laps down after several long pit stops with big problems. By six o’clock in the morning I was so tired – I hadn’t slept at all because it was all new and I wanted to experience it all. That’s when I realized there was still 10 hours to go!

“When I went home, I told everyone that was the last time I’d ever do Le Mans. But things change, and now Le Mans is my absolute favorite race of the year. Le Mans is the greatest race, but it helps when you’re with one of the best teams.”
 

Corvette Racing returns to the track on Wednesday for 2 days of qualifying and practice sessions. The 24 Hours of LeMans gets underway at 3pm local time on Saturday, June 14th. SPEED TV will be carrying much of the race live.


Source
Motorsport.com

Related:
LeMans 2008: Corvettes Take To The Track For Test Day
LeMans 2007: #63 Corvette C6.R Finishes in 2nd Place

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LeMans: Corvettes Take To The Track For Test Day

by Keith Cornett on June 2, 2008

Corvette Racing's C6.Rs Return to France

The Corvette Racing team has been deployed to France for the 24 Hours of LeMans and Sunday’s Test Day was their first and only day for testing on the LeMans course prior to the start of official practice and qualifying sessions beginning June 11th. During the day-long session which featured occasional downpours, showers and red-flags, the team had the opportunity to test a range of Michelin tires as well as evaluating chassis and gearbox setups.

“Mad” Max Papis recorded the fastest time for the Corvette Racing team with a lap around the 8.481-mile circuit in the #64 C6.R at 3:55.520. Johnny O’Connell was right behind him in the #63 Corvette at 3:55.877. Those times were the third and fourth fastest in the LeMans GT1 class following the #009 Aston Martin DBR9 (3:53.531) and the #50 Saleen S7R (3:55.383).

“I think we maximized the opportunities that we had today,” said Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. “It certainly wasn’t the test plan we had laid out, but the conditions were the same for everybody. When it’s all said and done, it may actually be to our advantage when a day like this happens because we’re well prepared when we arrive, and more practice time tends to narrow the gap. “The drivers are very satisfied with the development work we’ve done,” Fehan continued. “When we briefly had a dry track this morning, the cars were very stable. I think this is probably the best start we’ve had at Le Mans from the standpoint of having cars that are really good out of the box, and everyone is very encouraged by that.”
The Corvette Racing team will be facing stiff competition at this year’s 24 Hours of LeMans. Here are the 10 entries for the LMGT1 Class:

007  LM GT1  Aston Martin Racing  GB  Aston Martin DBR9 
009  LM GT1  Aston Martin Racing  GB  Aston Martin DBR9 
50  LM GT1  Larbre Competition  Saleen S7R 
53  LM GT1  Vitaphone Racing Team  Aston Martin DBR9 
55  LM GT1  Interprogressbank Spartak  RUS  Lamborghini Murcielago 
59  LM GT1  Team Modena  GB  Aston Martin DBR9 
63  LM GT1  Corvette Racing  USA  Corvette C6.R 
64  LM GT1  Corvette Racing  USA  Corvette C6.R 
72  LM GT1  Luc Alphand Aventures  Corvette C6.R 
73  LM GT1  Luc Alphand Aventures  Corvette C6.R 
         

The track opens again on Wednesday, June 11th for 2 days of qualifying and practice sessions. The 24 Hours of LeMans gets underway at 3pm local time on Saturday, June 14th. SPEED TV will be carrying much of the race live.


Source
Le Mans 2007: #63 Corvette C6.R Finishes in 2nd Place
Photo Credit: LeMans.org Arnaud Cornilleau – ACO/Nikon

Related:
Le Mans 2007: #63 Corvette C6.R Finishes in 2nd Place

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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:

CorvetteRacing.com
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. PaddockTalk.com
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.
Related:
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
Corvette Racing Team Pranks Aston Martin’s Crew Chief Technorati Tags:
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Le Mans: #63 Corvette C6.R Finishes in 2nd Place

by Keith Cornett on June 17, 2007

C6.R Corvette at Le MansWith an hour left in the Race, Ron Fellows was hunting down the class leading #009 Aston Martin. The #63 C6.R was turning lap times 20-30 seconds faster than their British rivals and had closed the gap to a lap when the safety cars were deployed, effective ending the team’s chances at winning the class. Adding insult to injury, the Green Flags waved one last time with 11 minutes left to race but the damage was already done. The #63 Corvette finished the 24 Hours of Le Mans completing 342 laps and coming in just 6:08.031 behind the #009 Aston Martin. The Corvette finished 6th overall as well. While the 2nd place win is welcomed by the team, we are left to wonder what the outcome could have been if only the Safety Cars would not have deployed. We are left to wonder what the outcome could have been had the #64 C6.R Corvette would not have been forced to retire after suffering driveshaft failure just 1:45 into the race. And finally, what role did the weather actually play in holding back the lone C6.R from going all out? Questions aside, our boys did a fantastic job at Le Mans and should be proud of their accomplishment. Competition breeds success and while this year it went to the Prodrive Aston Martin team, rest assured that Corvettes will be back next year, better equipped and motivated to take on the Aston Martins once again.
Source:
LeMans.org
Related:
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
Corvette Racing Team Pranks Aston Martin’s Crew Chief Technorati Tags:
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Le Mans: #64 Corvette Stalled and Possibly Out

by Keith Cornett on June 16, 2007

C6.R Corvette at Le MansWith just under 2 hours into the 24 Hours of Le Mans, bad luck hits the Corvette Racing team. According to Program Racing manager Doug Fehan, the #64 Corvette may have broken a driveshaft and is currently sitting on the side of the track. It is highly unlikely it will be able to return to the race. The #63 Corvette driven by Jan Magnussen is currently second in GT1. The #009 Aston Martin is first in class.
Source:
LeMans.org Related:
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
Corvette Racing Team Pranks Aston Martin’s Crew Chief Technorati Tags:
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Le Mans Starting Grid Set: Corvette’s 3rd and 5th

by Keith Cornett on June 15, 2007

C6.R Corvette at Le MansLooks like the weather is going to play a major role in this weekend’s running of the 24 hours of Le Mans. Rain and the accidents that accompanied it shortened the first day’s qualifying (Q1) and washed out day number two (Q2), thereby all but guaranteeing that the starting grid for GT1 will be based on Wednesday’s Q1 runs:

Driver Team Car Time
Bouchut AMR Larbre Comp #008 Aston Martin DBR9 3:50.761
Ayari Team Oreca #55 Saleen S7R 3:51.240
Gavin Corvette Racing #64 C6.R 3:52.130
Brabham Aston Martin Racing #009 Aston Martin DBR9 3:52.471
Magnussen Corvette Racing #63 C6.R 3:52.657
The fastest time recorded today in GT1 was 4:27.761 seconds by Team Oreca in the Saleen S7R, way off the pace of Wednesday’s #008 Aston Martin which leads GT1 at 3:50.761. The #64 Corvette C6.R ran a fastest lap at 4:35.281 while the #63 Corvette C6.R came in at 4:36.285.
Jan Magnussen, driving #63 Corvette C6.R said, “we are checking the car with all three drivers, making sure that it’s OK to run in the wet, and that there is no water getting in. We won’t do much more. It’s too easy to lose the car in these conditions. The visibility is hard when you are running with other people. It’s good that I was here in 2001 when it was very wet. If it’s wet like this for the race, the results will depend more on who avoids mistakes and less on the racing.”
Teams will now have to adjust and adapt as conditions on the ground change. Corvette Racing has the capabilities to overcome all obstacles, and that can-do spirit goes along way in a 24 hour race. As the Saleens and Astons have proven to be faster, Corvettes win endurance races because of smart driving and the overall reliability of the Corvette C6.R, and that has proven to be the great equalizer at Le Mans.
Source:
LeMans.org Related:
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
Corvette Racing Team Pranks Aston Martin’s Crew Chief Technorati Tags:
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LeMans: Podcasts From Corvette Racing Team Members

by Keith Cornett on June 15, 2007

Members of the Corvette Racing team checked in from France with the GM FYI Blog yesterday to give their take on the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Interviews include Corvette Racing’s Program Manager Doug Fehan and drivers Johnny O’Connell, Max Papis and Oliver Gavin. Visit the GM FYI Blog to listen.
Source:
GM FYI Blog Related:
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
Corvette Racing Team Pranks Aston Martin’s Crew Chief Technorati Tags:
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Best Video Yet: C6.R Corvette Lapping Le Mans

by Keith Cornett on June 14, 2007

OnBoard Camera Captures C6.R Vette at Le MansBadBoyVettes.com is in France for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and sacrificed a Canon PowerShot camera to get this awesome video of the #63 Corvette C6.R driven by Ron Fellows on a reconnaissance lap of the track. The site has photos of Program Manager Doug Fehan and a crew member taping the camera to the outside of the vehicle. By mounting the camera outside you really get the full effect of the sound coming from the Corvette as well as the ability to really see how fast these cars can go.

BBV also acknowledges that “the video download crashed the team’s computers between sessions, so we are busy mending fences with the Corvette Crew so as not to be extradited back to the US before the race.” Let’s hope they do!
Source:
BadBoyVettes.com Related:
Video: 1 Lap Around LeMans in a C5-R Corvette Race Car Technorati Tags:
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Le Mans Preview: 2007 Corvette Racing Team Photo

by Keith Cornett on June 13, 2007

Corvette Racing had their annual team photograph session on Monday. You can view more photos by wading through the official Le Mans photo gallery at www.lemans.org

2007 Le Mans Corvette Racing Team Photo
Qualifying starts today and concludes on Thursday. The start of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is 9am EST and SPEEDtv will be providing 17 ½ hours beginning at 8:30 EST Saturday, June 16th.
Source:
LeMans.org Related:
Video: Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin Previews Le Mans
Corvette Racing’s Johnny O’Connell Previews LeMans
Corvette Racing Team Pranks Aston Martin’s Crew Chief Technorati Tags:
|

As reported by (cough, cough) WindingRoad.com, the Corvette Racing team wasn’t satisfied in taking the top spot in last week’s LeMans testing session, with Jan Magnussen driving the #63 Corvette C6.R around the course in 3:49:207, shaving 1.641 seconds from the #007 Aston Martin piloted by Enge/Herbert/Kox. They needed something else to let everyone know they owned Aston Martin. According to the story, Aston Martin’s Crew Chief George Howard-Chappell hurt his back earlier in the week and left his car at the track overnight. Seems the boys from Corvette Racing found out about that and slightly modified his ride. Corvette Racing’s manager, Doug Fehan said “It didn’t take the boys long to make sure Ol’ George had all his bases covered for the race!”

Corvette Racing Pranks Aston Martin's Crew Chief
Stay with us this week as we cover the 24 Hours of LeMans.
Source:
WindingRoad.com Related
LeMans Preview: Corvette Racing Fastest In GT1 Pre-Qualifying Technorati Tags:
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