In just their second race in GT2 this year, the Corvette Racing team shows their C6.Rs are for real in GT2. With just two minutes remaining in the race at Road America, Johnny O’Connell in the #3 car passes Patrick Long in the #45 Flying Lizard Porsche 911 to finish in third position. Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta had their mirror clipped in traffic and the extended pit stop for the replacement put the #4 Corvette two laps down to finish in 6th place.
The race was pretty much over within 20 minutes of the start as the class leading BMWs effectively picked up a lap during a caution period. At that point, it was pretty much a race for third between Corvette, Porsche, Ferrari, Panoz, Ford and Viper.
With 20 minutes remaining, O’Connell was running in fifth when he passed Pierre Kaffer’s Ferrari 430 GT to move to fourth position. Then with two minutes remaining the Porsche got a little wobbly in turn 5 and O’Connell was able to squeeze by him with minimal contact.
“It’s fun to have Corvettes racing again!” O’Connell exclaimed. “Kaffer was doing a great job, but I could see that he was struggling on used tires. He had a wiggle exiting Turn 1 and that allowed me to get by him. Then I had to chase down Patrick in the Porsche. There were a couple areas where we were faster, so I was thinking about setting him up there. Then going into Turn 5, he carried a little too much speed and missed the apex, so I had to throw it in there. There was some contact, but it only happened because he opened the door. We had a great race.”
Oliver Gavin was behind the wheel of the #4 Corvette C6.R when at around 1:26 into the race he had his right side mirror clipped by the #16 Dyson Lola prototype. The contact was enough to allow O’Connell to get by Gavin for fourth position. The #4 car was required to pit and received a new mirror with a door change, losing a lap in the process.
“On the second restart there were some slower cars at the front of the pack and we all bunched up behind them,” Gavin said. “I managed to work my way through and into fourth place behind the Ferrari. Then coming down through Canada Corner, a prototype clipped the mirror off my right door. At that point Johnny got by me and I was told I had to pit because the rules require a right-side mirror. That kind of ruined our race. We were going to be able to run all the way to the finish, but then there were two more full-course cautions and we were a sitting duck. It really just wasn’t our day.”
Corvette Racing Program Manager Doug Fehan was pleased with the results and the new car’s progress.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been this excited about racing for third,” said Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. “We look at this as a victory for Corvette Racing. The unfortunate part is that we were beaten by three cars â€“ two BMWs and the pace car. Nonetheless it was a great show, a tremendous duel to the finish, and a fantastic effort by the Corvette Racing team to bring both cars home.”
The GT2 Corvettes will next see action at the Mobil 1 Grand Prix of Mosport in Bowmanville, Ontario on August 28-30th. The two-hour, 45-minute race is scheduled to start at 3:05 p.m. EDT on Sunday, August 30. SPEED will televise the race live at 3 p.m. EDT.
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