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Corvette Racing

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
2009 Le Mans 24: Corvette Racing Qualifies One-Two in GT1 Class
Chevrolet’s Ed Peper: Corvette Racing Program to Continue Under GM Bankruptcy

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Live Blogging Corvette Racing GT1 Campaign
Photo Credit: Pierre BARRAU – ACO/Nikon

As Corvette Racing makes its run for a 6th victory in the GT1 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, we’ll be here bringing you the latest news and updates from the variety of Le Mans coverage we’re following.

Le Mans 24 coverage is sponsored by

Bondurant School of High Performance Driving
 

Hour 24

  • #63 Corvette brings home 6th GT1 Class win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans
  • O’Connell becomes 1st American driver with 4 Le Mans wins
  • Win brings tears of joy to Crew Chief Dan Binks.
  • Luc Alphand’s #73 Corvette finishes 2nd, #66 Aston Martin finishes 3rd.
  • Unofficial Results: #63, #73, #66, #64 (out), #72 (out), #68 (out)

Hour 23

  • Final Hour!
  • #63 Corvette currently being driven by Antonio Garcia.
  • #73 Corvette in number 2 position, seven laps off GT1 leader.
  • #64 Corvette listed in 3rd place, 25 laps up on #66 Aston Martin DBR9.
  • Current Running Order: #63, #73, #64, #66, #72 (out), #68 (out)

Hour 22

  • Bad news for #64 Corvette. After taking the lead in hour 18, they break a driveshaft.
  • Reports say a huge spike in transmission temperature and then it failed.
  • #64 Corvette was pushed onto pit lane but it looks like this is the end.
  • #63 Corvette will retake the lead followed by French #73 Corvette C6.R
  • Current Running Order: #63, #73, #64, #66, #72 (out), #68 (out)

Hour 15

  • The sun rises over La Sarthe!
  • Garcia in for O’Connell and Beretta replaces Gavin.
  • Beretta very fast with back to back laps of 3:54s.
  • 1:29.080 separates #63 from #64. #73 C6r 4 laps down.
  • Current Running Order: #63, #64, #73, #66, #72 (out), #68 (out)

Hour 14

  • O’Connell and Gavin continue stints.
  • Safety car is out putting #64 one lap behind.
  • #63 Corvette lead is 2:30 over #64.
  • 184 laps run by GT1 leader
  • Current Running Order: #63, #64, #73, #66, #72 (out), #68 (out)

Hour 13

  • O’Connell in for Magnussen, Gavin remains in #64
  • #63 Corvette (Magnussen) gets sideswiped by LMP1 car, is okay.
  • 3rd in class is #73 Corvette C6.R driven by Julien Jousse
  • Current Running Order: #63, #64, #73, #66, #72 (out), #68 (out)

Hour 12 – Halfway

  • Magnussen in for Garcia. Gavin in for Fassler
  • GT1 leader #63 Corvette over #64 by 1:31.368
  • 175 laps traveled at halfway point
  • 3rd in class is #73 Corvette C6.R driven by Yan Clairay
  • #66 Aston Martin DBR9 still running but 55 laps down.
  • Current Running Order: #63, #64, #73, #66, #72, #68

Hour 11

  • #63 Corvette maintaining 1 lap lead over #64.
  • Fassler replaces Beretta in #64, Garcia remains in #63
  • Both Corvettes in Top 20. #63 is 18th, #64 is 20th.
  • Luc Alphand’s #73 Corvette C6.R 3 laps down in 3rd place.
  • #66 Aston Martin DBR9 still running but 55 laps down.
  • Current Running Order: #63, #64, #73, #66, #72, #68

Hour 10

  • Garcia now behind the wheel of the #63 Corvette C6.R
  • #64 Corvette C6.R gaining on #63. Now down just 1:14
  • Luc Alphand’s #73 Corvette C6.R 3 laps down in 3rd place.
  • #66 Aston Martin DBR9 still running but 55 laps down.
  • Current Running Order: #63, #64, #73, #66, #72, #68

Hour 9

  • O’Connell and Beretta continue stints.
  • #63 Corvette leading GT1 by 1:50
  • Luc Alphand’s #73 Corvette C6.R 3 laps down in 3rd place.
  • Current Running Order: #63, #64, #73, #72, #66, #68

Hour 8

  • O’Connell replaces Magnussen and Beretta replaces Gavin.
  • #63 Corvette continues GT1 lead with 2:20 lead over #64.
  • #73 Corvette C6.R Now Solidly in third place.
  • Current Running Order: #63, #64, #73, #72, #66, #68

Hour 7

  • Magnussen and Gavin continue stints.
  • #63 Corvette has GT1 lead, #64 Corvette 2:15 behind.
  • Magnusses sets fastest GT1 lap at 3:54.076
  • #63 Corvette C6.R up over #64 by 2:12, running 21st overall.
  • #72 Corvette C6.R goes into a wall. Waiting for details on condition.
  • Current Running Order: #63, #64, #72, #73, #66, #68

Hour 6

  • Gavin replaces Fassler and Magnussen is in for Garcia.
  • #63 Corvette C6.R up over #64 by 2:12, running 21st overall.
  • #73 Corvette C6.R is two laps off GT1 lead for 3rd in class.
  • Current Running Order: #63, #64, #73, #72, #66, #68

Hour 5

  • Garcia and Fassler continue stints.
  • Safety car comes out right in front of #64.
  • #63 Corvette C6.R gets splash of fuel during caution.
  • #63 Corvette up 2 minutes over #64
  • GT1 class essentially split into 2 groups: #63/#64 and #73/#72
  • Current Running Order: #63, #64, #73, #72, #66, #68

Hour 4

  • #63 leading GT1. #64 just 27 seconds behind
  • Garcia replaces O’Connell in #63 Corvette C6.R
  • Fassler replaces Beretta in #64 Corvette C6.R
  • #66 Aston Martin goes into garage for a few minutes
  • Current Running Order: #63, #64, #73, #72, #66, #68

Hour 3

  • #63 alone on GT1 lead lap. Running 22nd overall.
  • Beretta still on 1st stint in #64
  • #66 Aston Martin back in but 28 laps off GT1 leader
  • Current Running Order: #63, #64, #73, #72, #66, #68

Hour 2

  • Driver Change – O’Connell replaces Magnussen in #63
  • #63 and #64 on lead GT1 lap, #72 and #73 1 lap down.
  • Lamborghini Out? Been in Pits for a while – 28 laps down
  • Current Running Order: #63, #64, #72, #73, #66, #68

Hour 1

  • It’s all about the Corvettes in GT1.
  • The Aston Martin DBR9 is 6 laps down and the Japanese Lamborghini is 11 laps down.
  • #64 C6.R ended up behind 2nd safety car after pit stop opening gap to #63 C6.R
  • Current Running Order: #63, #64, #72, #73, #66, #68



Source:
Corvette Motorsport
Photo Credit: Pierre BARRAU – ACO/Nikon

Related:
2009 Le Mans 24: Corvette Racing Qualifies One-Two in GT1 Class
Chevrolet’s Ed Peper: Corvette Racing Program to Continue Under GM Bankruptcy
Corvette Racing: The 24 Hours of Le Mans Entry List

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Corvette Racing Qualifies One-Two in GT1 Class
Photo Credit: Arnaud CORNILLEAU – ACO / Nikon

With a dry track and near perfect conditions, Jan Magnussen and the #63 Corvette C6.R won the pole in the GT1 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the second straight year with a time of 3:54.230. Olivier Beretta was right on his tail and qualified the Black #64 Corvette C6.R with a time of 3:54.702 in what will be Corvette Racing’s final GT1 race.

Although the first session ran smoothly for both Corvettes, things did get a little dicey in the second session. Beretta spun the #64 C6.R in the second chicane on the Mulsanne Straight while Antonio Garcia dealt with a punctured tire on his Velocity Yellow #63 Corvette.

“So far so good!” said Magnussen. “The Corvette C6.R goes really well and responds well to changes. I set my qualifying time on soft tires with a couple of laps on them already, which shows how good the car is. In the second part of the qualifying session Antonio (Garcia) did a long run to see how the tires would behave over a distance. With the new rules on tire changes, we’ll have to double-stint them to avoid losing too much time in the pits. Tonight we learned how hard we can push them.”

“Winning the GT1 pole at Le Mans is fitting after 10 years of intense competition and a great way to begin the ending of Corvette’s reign in the GT1 category at Le Mans,” said Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. “Tonight’s performance certainly reflects the advances in technology that General Motors has developed through the Corvette Racing program.”

24 Hours of Le Mans LM GT1 Qualifying Times:

Pos./Car No./Drivers/Car/Time
1. (63) O’Connell/Magnussen/Garcia, Corvette C6.R, 3:54.230
2. (64) Gavin/Beretta/Fassler, Corvette C6.R, 3:54.702
3. (66) Lichtner-Hoyer/Gruber/Muller, Aston Martin DBR9, 3:56.126
4. (72) Alphand/Goueslard/Gregoire, Corvette C6.R, 3:57.170
5. (73) Jousse/Maassen/Clairay, Corvette C6.R, 3:57.564 6. (68) Apicella/Yogo/Yamagishi, Lamborghini Murcielago, 4:21.812

The 77th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. CET (9 a.m. EDT) on Saturday, June 13 and finish at 3 p.m. CET (9 a.m. EDT) on Sunday, June 14. SPEED will provide live television coverage in the U.S. from 8:30 a.m. to noon ET and 4:30 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, and midnight to 10 a.m. ET Sunday. Flag-to-flag coverage of the race can be heard on SIRIUS channel 126, XM channel 243, and radiolemans.com.



Source:
Corvette Racing
Photo Credit: Arnaud CORNILLEAU – ACO / Nikon

Related:
Chevrolet’s Ed Peper: Corvette Racing Program to Continue Under GM Bankruptcy
Corvette Racing: The 24 Hours of Le Mans Entry List

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Corvette Racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans
Photo Credit: Fr̩d̩ric GAUDIN РACO/Nikon

If you’re planning to follow flag to flag coverage of the Corvette Racing’s final GT1 assault on the 24 Hours of Le Mans, here is the essential media guide for the best content online and on TV. Thanks goes out to CorvetteMotorsport.com for putting this list together.

24 Hours Le Mans Media Schedule:

Radio Le Mans, Live timings, Corvette Chat, on-board camera, video AND news can ALL be accessed at Corvettemotorsport.com

Live pit notes:

Radio:

Bad Boy Vettes

Online Forums:

SPEED TV Live Streaming 24 hours Saturday/Sunday (starts 11:00 am CST)

SPEED will provide live television coverage in the U.S. from 8:30 a.m. to noon ET and 4:30 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, and midnight to 10 a.m. ET Sunday.



Source:
Corvette Motorsport
Photo Credit: Fr̩d̩ric GAUDIN РACO/Nikon

Related:
2009 Le Mans 24: Corvette Racing Qualifies One-Two in GT1 Class
Chevrolet’s Ed Peper: Corvette Racing Program to Continue Under GM Bankruptcy
Corvette Racing: The 24 Hours of Le Mans Entry List

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Corvette Racing and the 24 Hours of Le Mans

by Keith Cornett on June 8, 2009

Corvette Racing and the 24 Hours of Le Mans


Source:
Endurance-Info.com

 

Chevrolet's Ed Peper and the C6.R Corvette

One of our biggest fears in a GM Bankruptcy was that the automaker would be forced to cancel the company’s racing programs including Corvette Racing’s final assault on the GT1 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans as it focuses on reorganization. But recent comments by GM Vice President of Chevrolet Ed Peper appears to put those fears to rest.

“Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday” is still very much a part of the company’s DNA, Peper told the Detroit’s Free Press. Auto racing will remain “a stout marketing and advertising tool in its reorganization”.

That’s good news as the Corvette Racing team and enthusiasts converge on France next week for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Corvette Racing will run its pair of Compuware-sponsored Chevy Corvette C6.Rs in the GT1 class and hopes are high that this final GT1 race for the team will end with a 1-2 podium finish.

“The 24 Hours of Le Mans is one of the key marketing activities of the brand,” Peper said. “Corvette is the marquee brand for the company, but we’ve got to get maximum return for minimum spending.”

“We have a great presence in motorsports, but we need the returns to be even better,” Peper said. “I love racing, but the most appealing part of it to me is delivering on sales.”

Peper says the government’s auto task force has not gotten involved in GM’s racing programs during the company’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. “They concentrated on the core business — they didn’t get into marketing and advertising,” Peper said. “They just wanted us to use good judgment with our promotions.”

Peper says “we race to win, and we get a great return on it.” But, he added, all GM’s racing programs, including NASCAR, will be under pressure to deliver greater efficiencies and return on investment despite tough times.

“We have a great presence in motorsports, but we need the returns to be even better,” Peper said. “I love racing, but the most appealing part of it to me is delivering on sales.”

Practice for Le Mans will take place on June 10th and qualifying will be held on June 11th. The 77th running of the worlds most prestigious sports car race will start on Saturday, June 13th at 3 pm local time (10 am EST) and the checkered flag will drop 24 hours later on Sunday, June 14th. Much of race will be carried by SPEED.



Source:
Detroit Free Press

Related:
Take No Prisoners: The Story of Corvette Racing’s Mascot
[VIDEO] Corvette Racing’s Doug Fehan Talks about Le Mans, Green Challenge and Jake
[VIDEO] Corvette Racing: Gavin and Beretta Win Final ALMS GT1 Race at Long Beach

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LG Motorsports GT2 Corvette

Lou Gigliotti made a valiant run in the American Le Mans Series over the last year and half, but the cost of running in the series as well as several other factors have led to the decision to put up for sale the #28 Riley GT2 Corvette. Recently repaired from the fire at Long Beach, the GT2 Corvette and a tractor-trailer full of parts is being offered for $425,000.

Despite listing the Corvette for sale, Lou still plans to return to the track in the Black and Flames #28 Corvette for a run at the 10 hour/1,000 mile Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta although we may even see him even sooner at Mosport.

According to Lou, the cost of running in the series makes it extremely difficult to be competitive. Lou also cites interference from GM Racing in both their Le Mans application and their inability to get secure Michelin as a tire supplier as a contributing factor as well:

“The fact that we could never get Michelin tires is a factor and the interference of GM Racing in the effort to get Michelins is the final straw that is chasing us out. GM was also instrumental in making sure that our Le Mans entry was denied because of the Riley lawsuit.” Gigliotti adds “I don’t want to whine but it is clear that GM never wanted us to be competitive in GT2 once they made the decision to enter the class. So keeping Michelin tires out of reach made it easy for them.”

Lou has proven he can run as fast as the Porches and Ferraris in GT2 and says the car has been totally rebuilt following Long Beach and is better than it was when originally built by Riley. This is good news if you want to own the very first ALMS GT2 Corvette. Interested parties should call Lou at 972-429-1963. Think about this, you could be driving this Corvette at Road Atlanta in the Petit Le Mans. Live the dream! Although the LG Motorsports team has made changes to the Corvette over the last two seasons to shed pounds and make the car competitive, you can still get details of the GT2 Corvette platform from Riley Technologies



Source:
Racecars360.com

Related:
[VIDEO] LG Motorsports GT2 Corvette Catches Fire at Long Beach
[VIDEO] #28 LG Motorsports GT2 Corvette Qualifying in St. Pete

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The Corvette C7R LMP1 Race Car That Never Was

by Keith Cornett on May 26, 2009

The Corvette C7R LMP1 Race Car That Never Was

A Le Mans EVO prototype model was spotted by a Ten-Tenths.com forum member while taking a tour of the Pratt & Miller facility in New Hudson, Michigan. If you remember, in 2007 the ACO (the organization that governs Le Mans) was looking to combine the GT1 and LMP1 classes into the single “Evo” class. However, some LMP1 teams balked at the idea and so the EVO rules were eventually shelved. However, during the time the EVO was being considered, Pratt & Miller developed a model for the proposed Evo class.

Corvette LMP1 Race Car Model Corvette LMP1 Race Car Model Corvette LMP1 Race Car Model
Corvette LMP1 Race Car Model Corvette LMP1 Race Car Model Corvette LMP1 Race Car Model
Corvette LMP1 Race Car Model Corvette LMP1 Race Car Model Corvette LMP1 Race Car Model

The last photo shows an ACO-provided mockup of an EVO LMP1 in Corvette Racing Livery. While similar in design, if you look closely you will see that its different than the wind tunnel model on display at Pratt & Miller.

Following the ACO’s decision to leave the LMP1 rules in place, GM suspended development of the Evo program last year and has since made the decision to move to GT2. And while we would much rather see the Corvette battling Porsche, Ferrari, BMW and Aston Martin in a class that more closely resembles production cars, we are left to wonder how a mid-engined LMP1 Corvette would have competed against the likes of Audi and Peugeot for the overall win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.


Source:
Ten-Tenths.com

Related:
GM Red Flags Corvette’s Le Mans Evo C7R Racer
[VIDEO] Corvette Racing’s Doug Fehan Talks about the ZR1-Based GT2 Corvette C6.R

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Corvette Racing's Doug Fehan Talks about the ZR1-Based GT2 Corvette C6.R

During his presentation at the National Corvette Museum’s C5/C6 Bash last month, Corvette Racing’s Program Manager Doug Fehan spoke about the move to the GT2 class and answered questions about the new Corvette ZR1-based GT2 C6.R. Doug is joined on stage with retired VLE and Corvette Chief Engineer Tom Wallace.

The most interesting news to come from the GT2 Q&A is that the new engine will come direct from GM’s Performance Build Center in Wixom, MI – the same facility that builds the engines for the Z06 and the ZR1 Corvette. Previously, the engines were supplied by Katech. The move to supply engines in-house means that there will be a greater opportunity for technology transfer from the racing program to the production Corvette.



Related:
[VIDEO] Corvette Racing’s Doug Fehan Talks about Le Mans, Green Challenge and Jake
[VIDEO] Corvette Racing: Gavin and Beretta Win Final ALMS GT1 Race at Long Beach
Corvette Racing: Pratt & Miller GT2 Corvette Spied at Road Atlanta
Corvette Racing: GT2 Corvette C6.R to Wear ZR1 Bodyy

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