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Racing

Vette Magazine: A Conversation with Reeves Callaway

by Keith Cornett on January 29, 2007

Reeves Callaway and the 2007 Callaway C16Back in the 80′s, Callaway Cars became the first GM Authorized tuner of new Corvettes offered through Chevrolet dealerships. Callaway’s twin-turbo B2K program (the RPO code for the Callaway option) became the genesis for a company that would go on to produce the 254 MPH Corvette Sledgehammer, the 450 HP SuperNaturals and the radically modified C12. Basking in the glow of his latest project, the Callaway C16, Reeves Callaway takes some time to talk with Vette Magazine about why one of the most recognized brands in the Corvette tuner industry has gotten back into the game. In addition to the C16 program, Callaway offers a variety of performance options for the C6 Corvette, most notably the Callaway Superchargers. And talk about turnkey! A customer can order a new Corvette, have it shipped to a Callaway facility where it is modified and tested, and then shipped to the dealer for delivery. The modified Corvettes carry a 5-Year, 100K Mile warranty to boot! But perhaps some the biggest news out of the interview is Callaway’s intention to return to LeMans with 2 Callaway cars competing in the GT2 class. Reeves claims there are a lot of hurdles to cross before the final commitment is made, most notably development and sponsorship issues. Click here to read the entire interview at Vette Magazine.
Source:
Vette Magazine Related:
Production Callaway C16 Debuts at Montreal
LA Auto Show: The Callaway C16 Technorati Tags:
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Corvette to Pace 2007 Daytona 500

by Keith Cornett on January 29, 2007

2007 Daytona 500 Corvette Pace CarWith little fanfare (and no press anywhere), a specially-outfitted Corvette was unveiled as the 2007 Daytona 500 Pace Car. The Corvette features the Daytona 500 logo on the side and is highlighted by red, white and blue side accents. A red Chevrolet bowtie is presented on the hood. The unveiling was earlier this month as part of NASCAR’s Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder Fan Fest. Standing with Corvette in this photo are NEXTEL Cup drivers Tony Raines and Jeff Green and Daytona Speedway President Robin Braig. 2007 marks the fourth straight year that a Corvette has paced the Daytona 500, as well as the 35th straight year that a GM model has paced the field.
Source:
Daytona International Speedway via CorvetteConti.com Related
2006 Daytona 500 Z06 Corvette Pace Car Photos Technorati Tags:
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Corvette Racing to Defend ALMS Crown

by Keith Cornett on January 17, 2007

The No. 4 Corvette at the 2006 12 Hours of SebringCorvette Racing announced today that they will indeed be back for the 2007 season of the American Le Mans Series. The team will be defending their GT1 Manufacturers, Team and Drivers championships. Officials also announced that Corvette Racing will be heading to France in June to race for its sixth GT1 win in 7 years at the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans. The 12-race series opens March 17th at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Corvette Racing will have the cars in Sebring Florida for testing sometime in February. Corvette has won America’s greatest sports car race in four of the last five seasons. So now the only question is who will Corvette be racing against in the GT1 class. Aston Martin, facing money problems and driver defections, hasn’t yet announced their intentions to return to the series. It’s quite possible the only racing we’ll see in the GT1 class will be between Corvette Racing’s #3 and #4 Corvettes. While that would be somewhat disappointing, the real winner is still the Corvette Owner as stated by GM Racing Director Mark Kent:

“The Corvette C6.R race program continues Chevrolet’s tradition of racing production-based vehicles to improve the breed. The continuous exchange of information and the constant transfer of technology between the racing and production programs ensure that lessons learned on the track benefit every Corvette on the highway.”

Source:
WhoWon.com
AmericanLeMans.com
Image Credit: Richard Prince Related:
Corvette Racing Waits for Aston Martin Decision
Oliver Gavin Reflects on the 2006 ALMS Season Technorati Tags:
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Corvette Racing Waits for Aston Martin Decision

by Keith Cornett on January 11, 2007

Corvette Racing at Laguna SecaAs we have recently reported, Corvette Racing may be leaving the American LeMans Series (ALMS). We learned today of another factor that may cause the GTI Championship team to leave the American racing circuit in favor of a European series. Corvette Driver Oliver Gavin said that Aston Martin may be leaving the ALMS, and the loss of their British rivals may ultimately be the deciding factor for Corvette to leave the series as well. Should Aston Martin leave the ALMS, Corvette would be left without any series competition. Aston Martin and Corvette racing have battled in recent years and this last year the British team really gave Corvette Racing a run for the GT1 Championship. The championship came down to the last race of the season at Laguna Seca. Aston Martin won the race but the second place finish by the two “Ollies” gave Corvette racing enough points for the GT1 Championship. Other factors that were leaning on Corvette Racing leaving the ALMS was last year’s performance-balancing sanctions that made the race for the Championship must closer than it should have been. Lastly, fielding the legendary racing team in the European circuit could ultimately introduce the Corvette to new buyers. Here are some of Oliver Gavin’s quotes from the Autosport show:

“I’m not entirely sure where we are going to be racing,” Gavin said on the central stage at the Autosport show. “With the Corvettes, they’re still deciding on whether it should be in Europe or in the ALMS again. “We’re waiting to see what Aston Martin are doing in terms of their program – we’re hoping they’re going to come back and race us in the ALMS.” “I had a very interesting season last year – frustrating at times, but ultimately it was successful for us, winning the championship and also beating them (Aston Martin) at Le Mans, which was a fantastic achievement for everybody involved in Corvette Racing.” “I think there’s certainly a marketing benefit of just turning up and running the car,” Gavin explained. “But we do need competition, we do want to race against someone, and it was great last year, having the competition from Aston Martin, so we’re just hoping they’ll find the money to come back.”
I would hate to see Corvette Racing leave the ALMS, but what is the worst of the two scenarios? Winning without competition or losing because of performance sanctions? Winning is always fun, but without a serious competitor, the races would be boring. Losing in the ALMS because of performance sanctions would hurt the image of Corvette Racing evan more. Most casual fans would only know that Corvette lost, not that they had been penalized with sanctions that didn’t allow them to win. Should Corvette Racing make the jump to a European series, we could still count on seeing them here in the states for Sebring and perhaps Le Petit LeMans at Road Atlanta, but that would be it. I think we may be seeing the end of the GT1 class in the ALMS as we know it.
Source:
Autosport.com Via An American Classic
Image Credit: Richard Prince Related:
Oliver Gavin Reflects on the 2006 ALMS Season Technorati Tags:
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Oliver Gavin Reflects on the 2006 ALMS Season

by Keith Cornett on January 5, 2007

Oliver Gavin - Corvette RacingCorvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin reflects on the up and down 2006 ALMS season in his end of the year race-by-race summary. Co-driving the number 4 Corvette with Olivier Beretta, the duo successfully defended their American Le Mans Series GT1 Championship despite the politics and performance balancing that appeared heavy-handed at times. And not only did the two “Ollies” have to fend off the challenges from their Aston Martin Racing competitors, but also their team mates Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell of the #3 Corvette. Oliver confirms the Corvette Racing team is scheduled to run at Sebring in March. After that the schedule is up in the air as to whether the team will attempt to defend their ALMS Championship again, or head for other venues, casting off their ALMS performance-balancing sanctions to show the world just how good the C6.R Corvettes can be. Click here to read Oliver Gavin’s 2006 Season Wrap-up.
Source:
Motorsport.com
Image Credit: Rick Doyle – OliverGavin.com Related:
Corvette Racing Leaving The ALMS? Technorati Tags:
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Corvette Racing Leaving The ALMS?

by Keith Cornett on December 18, 2006

Corvette Racing at Leguna Seca“Challenging” is the word Doug Fehan, Corvette Racing’s Program Manager, uses to describe the 2006 racing season. Not only did Corvette compete with Aston Martin and other challengers in the GT1 class, they also had to compete against a sanctioning body that at times last year appeared to have it in for Corvette Racing. Balance of Performance adjustments were continually assessed against Corvette Racing throughout the 2006 campaign. Starting with 122 lbs at the beginning of the season at Sebring, the sanctioning body of the ALMS ramped up those adjustments to 199 lbs, plus smaller air restrictors and fuel tanks following Corvette’s 24 Hours of Le Mans win. With one race remaining and the outcome of the season on the line, the sanctions body handed down their seventh adjustment of the season: Both Corvette and Aston Martin would race a 2,535 pounds total, but Corvette would have a smaller engine restrictor. Aston Martin’s 009 won the GT1 Class and Corvette Racing’s No. 4 and No. 3 cars came in 2nd and 3rd at Laguna Seca. Corvette Racing, having amassed enough points earlier in the season, was able to win their 6th GT1 Manufacturer’s Cup. But despite the win, the battle with the ALMS Sanctioning Body may have taken its toll. When asked about next year, Doug Fehan replied “Right now, no decision has been made.” Fehan also would not rule out a jump to a European or Asian series. “We look for formats that allow us to demonstrate Corvette’s durability, reliability and performance… Corvette is a global brand… Expanding markets in China and Asia make it attractive to run a race in Beijing or Shanghai, for example.” Europe’s Le Mans or FIA series are also being considered. “Le Mans remains the cornerstone of what we do.” said Fehan. Fehan expects a decision to be made sometime around the first of the year. It’s our hope that Corvette Racing can stay in the ALMS, however, they must be allowed to compete without performance adjustments. Raising the bar breeds better racing teams. Lowering the bar signals defeat. Let’s hope the ALMS recognizes their errors. Otherwise, they risk losing a major manufacturer to a competing series. Source:
NCM’s America’s Sports Car Magazine
Pratt & Miller (image)
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Racing Fans – Buy Your Own Corvette C6.R Racecar

by Keith Cornett on November 10, 2006

Corvette C6.R - Number 001 GM’s first ever C6 Corvette race car, the Corvette C6.R (chassis number C6.R-001) is up for grabs if you got the cash. The Racing version of the Corvette is being sold by current owner Mike Hezemans of GLPK Carsport – a European Race Team. This Corvette was raced under the GM Corvette racing banner in 2005 winning the ALMS Championship (actually we don’t know if this is the #3 or #4 Corvette) and at the end of the racing season was sold to GLPK Carport where Hezemans raced the car for the 2006 season in Belgium’s BelCar Championship. So how much to own a piece of Corvette racing history? Roughly $760,000 USD. The car will be delivered in ready to race condition. For details, get a translator and visit Hezemans.nl Source: Winding Road
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Corvette Racing Sweeps ALMS Championships

by Keith Cornett on October 22, 2006

Corvette Racing capped Corvette’s 50th anniversary in international road racing by sweeping the American Le Mans Series manufacturers, drivers and team championships in tonight’s season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. A runner-up finish by Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta in the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R at the Monterey Sports Car Championships wrapped up Chevrolet’s sixth consecutive manufacturers’ title and gave the pair their second straight drivers championship. The four-hour race was hard fought from the green flag as all four GT1 contenders finished within one lap of each other. The Aston Martin DBR9 of Stephane Sarrazin and Pedro Lamy won by 4.945 seconds over Gavin and Beretta, while the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R of Johnny O’Connell and Ron Fellows took third place by .474 seconds over the Aston Martin of Tomas Enge and Darren Turner. “It’s fantastic that we’ve won the championships again,” said Gavin. “This season has had some ups and downs, some great racing and some frustrating racing, and in the end we’ve come through.” “It was really close at the finish and we didn’t know whether Olivier was going to be able to catch Stephane,” Gavin continued. “He got close but then hit traffic, and then we just ran out of time.” Beretta had the best seat in the house after passing his teammate O’Connell for second in the Corkscrew with 13 minutes to go. “The final stint was amazing,” said Beretta. “We had two options today – Olly and I knew we just had to finish the race to win the drivers championship, and on the other hand we really wanted to push hard and win the manufacturers championship for Chevrolet. So I tried to forget about the drivers championship and push hard to show that Corvette was still No. 1 even with all of the handicaps we have been given this year. Corvette Racing is a great team and they gave me a great car. This is my fourth ALMS championship, but this one is the sweetest.” The race almost went awry for the No. 4 Corvette at the start when Beretta was hit from behind by a Ferrari, damaging the left-rear fender. Two laps later, a fortuitous caution period allowed the pit crew to reattach the fender without losing contact with the leaders. Then shortly after the first hour, Beretta passed Lamy for the GT1 lead. For the next 20 minutes, the GT1 contenders ran nose-to-tail in a four-car freight train. “That was a tough race against a tough competitor,” said team manager Gary Pratt. “When the No. 4 car was hit and then the caution came out I said to myself, ‘This is going to be our lucky day.’ We got it fixed and went right back out there and raced them again.” The race become a strategic chess match when the two Corvettes made their fifth and final pit stops under caution at the 2-hour, 48-minute mark, ensuring that both cars could run to the finish without another stop. When the class-leading No. 007 Aston Martin pitted with a flat tire at 3:16, the championships were virtually clinched as the Corvettes were running comfortably in second and third. O’Connell relentlessly cut the No. 009 Aston Martin’s advantage by a second a lap, passing for the lead in Turn 11 with 27 minutes remaining – but the Aston countered and regained the lead going into Turn 2. “It was a great battle,” O’Connell declared. “We got by them, he got back by me, and then I got punted by one of the prototypes. I thought we might have hurt the car, but we never gave up, and that’s the mantra of Corvette Racing.” “We’ve got a whole winter to train and I’m looking forward to next year,” O’Connell continued. “With all of the challenges that were presented to Corvette Racing this year, for Chevrolet to win the manufacturers championship and for the No. 4 car to get the drivers championship says a lot about the depth of this team.” Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan agreed: “As I said before it started, it was going to come down to who made the fewest mistakes and who had the best strategy. We planned our pit strategy to set up for a long final run. It worked to our benefit, and securing second and third was what we needed to clinch the manufacturers championship.” “Winning this championship for the sixth straight year sends a tremendous message about the durability, reliability and performance of Corvette, Chevrolet and all General Motors products,” said Fehan. “It’s a testament to how hard this race team works.” Corvette’s first class victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1956 was the first step onto the world stage that established Chevy’s sports car as a contender in top-level competition. “Winning the American Le Mans Series championship puts an exclamation point on Corvette’s 50th anniversary in international road racing,” said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. “We began the year with a victory in Sebring, the site of Corvette’s first major win in 1956. In June we celebrated Corvette’s fifth win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world’s greatest sports car race. Now with this championship performance today at Laguna Seca, we’ve again shown why racing is such an important part of Corvette’s heritage. On behalf of the entire Chevrolet organization, I congratulate the drivers, mechanics, engineers, support personnel and team managers of Corvette Racing. They’re the best in the business, and they proved it again today.” The 2007 American Le Mans Series will begin with the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in Sebring, Fla., on Saturday, March 17, 2007. The 12-hour endurance race will be televised live on SPEED. Source: CorvetteRacing.com
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Corvette Racing Third and Fourth at Petit LeMans

by Keith Cornett on October 2, 2006

Corvette Racing was no match for this week’s Competition Adjustments which handed a 1-2 victory to the Aston Martins at Saturday’s Petit LeMans at Road Atlanta. The ALMS Sanctions Body penalized Corvette Racing’s #3 and #4 Corvettes 110 pounds and smaller engine restrictors. Armed with this week’s competition adjustments, Aston Martin was able to deny Corvette Racing the third win in the ALMS Triple Crown as well as move to second place and 7 points behind Corvette in the overall standings for the Manufacturers Cup. During the race, the #3 Corvette was hit twice. The first occurred when an LMP1 Prototype forced it off the road during a high speed pass, forcing the Corvette into the pits and losing a lap while clearing the grille. The second hit occurred when contact between the #3 Corvette and #007 Aston Martin resulted in spinning out the Corvette.

“It’s disappointing,” said O’Connell. “I had a really good car but then I got turned backwards by Turner and lost a lot of time that would have been better spent trying to catch the 009 car. After I was forced off the track in the Esses, we were really lucky not to have to buy a new Corvette. It was a big slide.” “Considering I was run into twice today, it’s amazing that we were still in the race,” O’Connell continued. “Corvette Racing builds about the strongest race car out there.” “It’s almost impossible to compete because the competition adjustments have gone too far, especially on a track like this,” Max Papis commented. “Corvette Racing never gives up, but at the end of the day the competition adjustments were a little too much.”
While Corvette Racing lost the battle at Road Atlanta, the season-long war will be decided in the series’ season finale in Monterey, Calif., on Oct. 21. Chevrolet and Corvette Racing have a seven-point lead in the manufacturer and team championships; Beretta and Gavin lead the drivers’ standings by 11 points. With 23 points on the line at Laguna Seca Raceway, the championships hang in the balance. Again, we make our call to the ALMS to Free the Corvette C6.R
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Corvette Racing Running for the ALMS Triple Crown

by Keith Cornett on September 26, 2006

The #3 Corvette C6.ROn Saturday, September 30th, Corvette Racing with be attempting road racing’s version of the Triple Crown. The first two jewels of the crown was the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Next is the Petit Le Mans, a 10 hour/1,000 mile road race at Road Atlanta. Corvette Racing has only pulled this off twice before despite their dominance in the GT1 Class, in 2002 and 2004. But with the two Ollies – Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta along with Jan Magnussen have a streak of 4 endurances races since their win at the 2005 Le Mans. Gavin and his teammates have learned the discipline of endurance racing. “Once the race starts, you have to drive hard but be aware it is a long race and a lot can happen,” he noted. “It’s not going to be won in the first stint; it usually comes down to the last two or three hours. That’s when things happen – cars break, it’s difficult to see, mistakes are made. The track often gets slippery as the race goes on, and you’ve got to be on your game when it gets dark.” It’s going to be busy in the cockpit because of the short length of the race track,” explained Johnny O’Connell, a resident of nearby Flowery Branch, Ga. “Because the lap times are so much quicker than at Sebring and Le Mans, the odds of getting caught out by a pace car and going down a lap are much greater. Every driver is aware of the risks of falling behind your rivals at Road Atlanta because of that pace car situation.” Petit Le Mans, the ninth round of the American Le Mans Series, is scheduled to start at 11:45 a.m. EDT on Saturday, Sept. 30. The race will be broadcast live on SPEED Channel from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. EDT and 3 to 10 p.m. EDT. American Le Mans Radio will have live coverage at americanlemans.com, which also will feature IMSA live timing and scoring. Photo: Richard Prince
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