We spent a few minutes with Corvette Racing’s Program Manager Doug Fehan last Friday prior to the GT2 qualifying session. Doug talks about the 10-hour/1,000-mile Petit Le Mans, the direct injection controversy and the partnership with Michelin tires.
We’re sitting high and dry in the media center at Road Atlanta as the 12th annual Petit Le Mans gets underway. Follow this post today as we watch Corvette Racing’s GT2 C6.Rs battle in the highly competitive GT2 Class.
The heavy rains that everyone was concerned about came at 4 hours and 50 minutes into the race. The course was red flagged and the cars were ordered per their position. With no let-up, the race was called at 8:44 on the race clock. The #4 Corvette was in 4th place behind the class winning #62 Ferrari while the #3 Corvette finished 7th.
At the start of the race, the #4 Corvette moved up into the second starting position as LG Motorsport’s #28 Corvette was forced to start from the pits. Following the green flag, it took Johnny O’Connell just three laps to leapfrog the top 5 positions to settle into first. Oliver Gavin passed the #40 Ford GT 40 and quickly settled into second place.
The morning prior to the start of the race was very wet with standing water on the track and Georgia’s famous red clay mud just about everywhere you step. Although the rain has abated, a light mist continues to fall.
Corvette Racing: Qualifying at Petit Le Mans
Corvette Racing: Night Practice at Petit Le Mans
Corvette Racing: Ferrari and Porsche Complain to ACO
[VIDEO] Corvette Racing: GT2 Corvette C6.R Scores First Victory at Mosport
Thanks to the folks at Chevy Racing, we had the unique opportunity to take a hot lap around Road Atlanta where Petit Le Mans will run on Saturday. The course is 2.54 miles and features 12 turns. My ride was silver 2010 Corvette Grand Sport Coupe and my driver Jason put the car through its paces. On the monsterous backstretch our speed exceed 130 mph and those big Z06 brakes safely brought us to a near stand still for the bend at Turn 10.
Chevrolet designed the Grand Sport with track events in mind and I can tell you first hand they hit a home run with this car!
The factory Corvettes did fairly well in their qualifying runs this afternoon and placed third and seventh for tomorrow’s starting grid, despite having to remove the direct injection system following complaints from Porsche and Ferrari. However, the day clearly belongs to Lou Gigliotti and his LG Motorsports/Riley GT2 Corvette as they qualified second in class – in front of the two factory Corvette – with a time of 1:20.877.
The return of the #28 GT2 Corvette is significant as Lou’s team had to totally rebuild the race car following the devastating fire at Long Beach earlier this year. It’s no secret about how Lou feels about the factory racing team and after the team’s 2nd place qualifying, Lou was heard to say “We can stretch a nickel into a quarter and we don’t need any bailout money”.
As for the factory Corvette racers, Olivier Beretta and the #4 Corvette earned a third place start on the grid with a time of 1:20.912 and Johnny O’Connell and the #3 Corvette finished in seventh with a time of 1:21.491.
Speaking with Doug Fehan earlier this morning, I can tell you that while Corvette Racing complied with the request to remove the Direct Injection system, it doesn’t mean they were happy doing it. So perhaps revenge is a dish served best cold as Corvette Racing’s third place time was better than Porsche and Ferrari. Fehan said the engine team worked hard to complete the ACO’s request to remove DI and revert to tune port injection and that the didn’t even have time for a dyno test.
The real test will come on Saturday for both the factory Corvettes and LG Motosports. Not only will both teams face the competition on the track, but with an 80% chance of rain in the forecast, the Corvettes may be battling Mother Nature as well.
Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta is scheduled to start at 11:15 a.m. EDT on Saturday. The race will conclude when the overall leader completes 1,000 miles or 10 hours, whichever comes first. SPEED will broadcast live flag-to-flag coverage starting at 11 a.m. EDT.
Corvette Racing faces one of its biggest challenges yet with their new ZR1-based GT2 Corvette C6.Rs at Road Atlanta this weekend. Round 7 of the American Le Mans Series is Petit Le Mans, the 10-hour/1,000 mile race in the rolling hills of Northest Georgia. Reliabilty was one of the hallmarks of the GT1 Corvette C6.Rs and now the GT2 cars will have their chance to prove they can go the distance as well.
One of the unique aspects of Petit Le Mans is that the race will end in the dark. Therefore, drivers took to the track on a muggy Thursday evening to get acclimated to the track at night. Seeing Corvette Racing’s Command Center all lit up was very cool and I can tell you that watching the Corvettes thunder down the backstretch in the dark was an amazing site to see first hand.
We are here at Road Atlanta to witness several firsts for the Corvette Racing team:
- The first endurance race for the GT2 Corvettes
- The first race in the GT2 Corvettes for Marcel Fassler and Antonio Garcia
- The first race for the GT2 Corvettes without Direct Injection
- The first race with Bibendum the Michelin Man riding Shotgun on Corvette’s livery
Tomorrow, we’ll be talking with several members of the Corvette racing tomorrow and we’ll get to experience the 12 turn, 2.54 mile track with a hot lap in a Vitesse Corvette track car.
Follow our Twitter feed for real-time updates and make sure you come back next week as we roll out the videos from our experience here.
As for Corvette Racing, Friday’s qualifying session runs from 2:25-2:50 pm EST and the 10,hour/1,000 mile race gets underway on Saturday at 11:15 am EST.
On Thursday we’ll be heading to Atlanta, Georgia to cover Petit Le Mans, the 10-hour/1,000 mile endurance race held at Road Atlanta. On Friday, we’ll be sitting down with Corvette Racing’s Johnny O’Connell, Oliver Gavin and Doug Fehan for a quick chat and this is where you come in. What would you like to know about life as a Corvette race car driver or head of the program? We’re looking for questions from our readers. If you’ve go a question or comment for the Corvette Racing team, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jan Magnussen recently got a chance to attack the 12.9 mile Nurburgring in a Corvette ZR1. Unfortunately, this was a day that the ‘ring was open to the public and traffic slowed down the 638 hp Corvette several times. Still, this in-car video is a great way to see how a professional race car driver attacks one of the most difficult road courses in the world. Video after the jump!
GM’s former Road Race Group Manager Steve Wesoloski once said if you want to make a Corvette go faster, put Jan Magnussen in the driver’s seat. Let’s hope that one day soon we’ll see Jan behind the wheel of the ZR1 on a GM-sponsored closed-course time attack.
Want to be the envy of every Corvette Racing enthusiast in the world? Now you can by bidding on “Dinner with the Doctor” as offered by Johnny O’Connell’s annual auction at Petit Le Mans to benefit those with Alzheimerâ€™s and a senior citizen day care center. Corvette Racing’s Program Manager Doug Fehan has graciously donated an evening out and will even pick up the tab if you’re lucky enough to be the high bidder.
I could go on and on about how cool this would be to spend an evening with the architect of the Corvette Racing program, but let me turn it over to Johnny O’Connell who sums up this unique auction experience the best:
Well, this isn’t “property” per se, but it is one hell of an opportunity to become the envy of every Corvette Racing enthusiast in the world. As the headline item of my auction, all of you will get the chance to bid on this heretofore NEVER offered item. What is that item? We are calling it, “Dinner with the Doctor”. That’s right, Doug Fehan has generously donated his time, (and is paying the dinner bill out of his own pocket), to spend an evening of fine dining with the lucky and generous winning bidder. This item is open to everyone. The only stipulations are as follows: 1. The dinner will take place on a mutually agreed upon evening during race week at any of the ALMS race venues through the remainder of this season or any of the venues next season, just not the night prior to the actual race. 2. The Rx will pick the restaurant…..don’t worry, he is plenty fussy and only eats at great places with a good wine list, although, he will be totally open to your suggestions, too. 3. The dinner has to conclude by 3 a.m. of the following morning.
So, let’s see just how much this little item brings in. It is for a really GREAT cause and may never be offered again. I am certain of one thing, “Dining with the Doctor” will be an evening you will never forget…..this guy is fun, interesting, has a million great race stories, has been everywhere and knows everyone. Hell, I may bid on this myself!!!
I will begin taking bids on my website or Face Book right now…then keep you updated at the end of each day with the high bids amount, and we will complete the bidding during the actual auction. Yes, you can call in during that time to up your bid if you can’t be at the race…I will have the phone number on my site the day before the auction. So, open your wallets and let’s raise some serious money!!!
The auction will be help at Petiti Le Mans on Friday, September 25th at 6:15 PM EST at the Winners Circle. Also, if you are ordering tickets to Petit Le Mans, mention that would like your tickets to go to the Johnny Oâ€™Connell charity auction.
Photo Credit: AmericanLeMans.com
Three races. That’s how long it took for Porsche and Ferrari, the two manufactures who have dominated the GT2 class in recent years, to find something on the Corvette C6.Rs to complain about.
Ferrari and Porsche are crying to the ACO sanctioning body about the Corvette C6.Rs Direct Injection package on the 6L V8 power plants. AutoExtremist.com says that the ACO has requested that the DI system be removed from the Corvettes for the season’s remaining two races at Petit Le Mans and Laguna Seca.
The Direct Injection system will be legal in 2010 as part of the new specifications that will cover the global GT class. To meet those specs, Corvette Racing plans to run with the system on a detuned LS3-based 5.5L V8.
That this comes from Porsche is surprising as they’ve had their own issues with ACO rules this year, namely using steel to reinforce their production-based aluminum engine blocks. The ACO makes Porsche carry a few extra pounds for the infraction. Is Doug Fehan crying about that? No.
So pull the Direct Injection system and let’s go racing. It’s not like it made the Corvettes the fastest team in GT2 anyway. Far from it based on the qualifying times in these first three races.
As for Porsche and Ferrari, I not sure they realize it yet, but that’s a mighty large bulls eye they just painted on each of their cars and Jake never forgets…
[VIDEO] Corvette Racing: GT2 Corvette C6.R Scores First Victory at Mosport
[VIDEO] Johnny O’Connell Talks about the GT2 Corvettes and Mosport
Corvette Racing: GT2 Corvettes Qualify 4th and 5th at Mosport
Corvette Racing Takes Third in GT2 at Road America
[VIDEO] Corvette Racing’s C6.R GT2 Debut at Mid-Ohio 2009