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Racing

Podcast: Team Corvette Ready for LeMans

by Keith Cornett on June 7, 2006

In this latest podcast from GM’s Fastlane Blog, Corvette Racing Program Manager Doug Fehan talks about Corvette Racing’s preparations for the most prestigious racing event in the world, the 24 Hours of LeMans. Doug discusses what Team Corvette needs to do in getting ready for this endurance race that taxes not only the cars, but the drivers and crew as well. Competition in the GT Class will be intense this year with four Aston Martins, a Saleen, Ferrari and a European C5 Corvette team. According to Fehan, the GT class tends to be the focus of most of the fans because that’s where the classic battles take place. Despite the competition, Fehan is optimistic that the Corvette Racing team will extend its record to five 1-2 finishes in the most recent six years at LeMans. Visit the GM Fast Lane Blog or Download the MP3. Photo: Richard Prince
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Jalopnik.com was up at Indianapolis for coverage of the 500 and one of the boys scored a lap around the Brickyard in the Z06 Corvette Pace car with Chevrolet’s pace car guru Gary Mulder. While not quite hitting the track with the gusto one would expect if equipped with the 505 hp Z06, it was still a fun lap around and it’s amazing to see just how big this fabled track is. Click here for Wert and Austin’s official I Am Indy posts.


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Podcast: Corvette Racing Ready for LeMans

by Keith Cornett on May 23, 2006

For the 5th consecutive year at Mid-Ohio, Corvette Racing’s C6.R’s finished 1-2 in the GT1 Class. But for Corvette Racing the bigger news is that both cars finished without a scratch and now, as GM Road Racing Group Manager Steve Wesoloski tells us, the nightmare begins as the team packs up everything they need and heads to France for the 74th running of the 24 Hours of LeMans on June 17. Will Corvette continue its winning ways at LeMans? Listen to Steve talk about Corvette Racing and LeMans in an audio podcast available from GM’s Fast Lane Blog. Steve brings a unique perspective to Corvette Racing as he is also a member of the C6.R Pit Crew. Visit the GM Fast Lane Blog or Download the MP3.
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Corvette Racing Finishes 1-2 at Houston

by Keith Cornett on May 15, 2006

Corvette Racing took first and second place in the GT1 class and were second and third overall in the Lone Star Grand Prix. The #4 Corvette driven by Olivier Beretta and Oliver Gavin finished just ahead of the #3 Corvette piloted by Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell. The win was made even more impressive due to 176 pound weight penalty over the Aston Martin team. Motorsport.com is featuring a review of the race by #4 Corvette Oliver Gavin:

I followed Johnny for 1hour 15 minutes out of my time in the car (98 minutes) and was almost mesmerized sitting behind him. He was driving brilliantly in the No. 3 car, and he didn’t make a mistake, not one inch. It couldn’t have been any closer between us and the Aston Martins.
The next challenge for Corvette Racing will be the American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio May 19-21 in Lexington, Ohio.
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Corvette Racing Headed to the Streets of Houston

by Keith Cornett on May 11, 2006

The inaugural Lone Star Grand Prix will be held Friday night, May 12th and the two Corvette C6.R’s will have their work cut out for them as they battle the ALMS competition. The Lone Star Grand Prix marks the first street race since Miami Beach in 2003. The course is set up on a temporary 1.7 mile track through Houston’s Reliant Park. The C6.R Corvettes will be battling the close quarters and unforgiving concrete barriers that define the Houston Circuit. Another factor that has tilted the playing field in favor of Corvette Racing’s competition is that series officials have granted Aston Martin Racing a 55 pound advantage in addition to the weight concessions announced prior to the start of the season. As a result, the C6.R Corvettes must weigh 176 pounds more than the Aston Martin DBR9s.

“The Corvette C6.R is at a point in its development where we’re very comfortable going to a street race,” said Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. “The challenge we have isn’t with the race track, it’s with the competition. Aston Martin has received additional performance concessions. That’s the challenge. “A weight handicap is magnified on a street circuit,” Fehan explained. “Generally the speeds are slower and the demands on braking and acceleration are greater. In those circumstances, a lighter car has an advantage.”
The Lone Star Grand Prix, the second round of the 10-race 2006 American Le Mans Series, is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. CDT on Friday, May 12. The two-hour, 45-minute race will be televised tape-delayed on Saturday, May 13, at 1 p.m. EDT on CBS Sports. Visit CorvetteRacing.com for more information.
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Indianapolis 500 Z06 Corvette Pace Car Photos

by Keith Cornett on April 4, 2006

The Indianapolis 500 Z06 Pace Car. These images were released recently from GM. Click the image to view larger photo.

 
 
Source: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
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Two racing icons will unite when Lance Armstrong , seven-time Tour de France winner, drives the 2006 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 pace car to lead the field to the start of the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 28, 2006 . For a record 17th time, a Chevy will pace the race, and it’s the eighth time for a Corvette to be leading the pack. Neither Armstrong nor the Corvette is a stranger to elite endurance racing. Armstrong won seven consecutive Tour de France titles, and the Corvette Z06 pace car he’ll be driving is based on the C6.R Corvette racer that has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans four out of the past five years. “We’re proud that this year’s Indianapolis 500 will showcase the new 505-horsepower Corvette Z06 and honored that it will be driven by another racing icon—Lance Armstrong,” said Ed Peper, Chevrolet General Manager. “The 2006 Corvette Z06 is infused with technology from our own endurance racer—the four-time Le Mans winning C6.R Corvette race car—and having it play such a key role at this important event acknowledges the significance the vehicle has played in American culture for more than 50 years.” As the No. 1-ranked cyclist in the world in 1996, Armstrong competed as a member of the U.S. Cycling Team in the Summer Olympic Games. While seemingly at the top of his game, he was literally forced off his bike because of cancer. He formed the Lance Armstrong Foundation within months of his diagnosis to help others with their cancer struggles. Armstrong then staged an incredible comeback, winning his first Tour de France title in 1999. After seven consecutive victories, Armstrong retired following the 2005 race and continues to be a leader and activist on behalf of cancer survivors around the world. The Lance Armstrong Foundation has become among the most influential organizations of its kind and provides practical information and tools people need to battle cancer and live strong through education, advocacy, public health programs and research grants. The 2006 Corvette Z06 that will serve as the Indy 500 pace car is virtually identical to the models available today through local Chevrolet dealerships. Because the production Corvette is so racing-ready with 505 horsepower capable of 198 mph and a 0-60 mph time of 3.7 seconds, sophisticated aerodynamics, a suspension that can handle 1.01 Gs in cornering situations and large 18-inch front and 19-inch rear wheels that are a foot wide in the rear, the only changes made to prepare it for this year’s role were the addition of strobe lights and racing safety gear. With the Indianapolis 500 being such a classic American race during Memorial Day Weekend and with Chevy’s “An American Revolution” campaign, the Corvette Z06 pace car features an Americana red, white and blue theme. It displays an abstract U.S. flag pattern with “Victory Red” and “Cobalt Blue” ribbons flowing across the car on a base of “Arctic White” with white stars flanking each side. The 2006 Indy 500 logo is on each door, and the Chevy red racing Bowtie appears at the top of the hood. The race will be broadcast live on May 28 by ABC Sports and the IMS Radio Network. The green flag drops at 1 p.m. EDT. Tickets are available for the 2006 Indianapolis 500. For information, log on to http://www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com or call the IMS office at 800-822-INDY or 317-492-6700.
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Corvette Racing Glory Ignored By GM

by Keith Cornett on March 31, 2006

AutoExtremist.com’s Peter DeLorenzo rips GM a new one for not doing ANYTHING to reward, promote or even mention the historic win by Corvette Racing’s #4 Corvette in last week’s 12 Hours of Sebring, America’s most prestigious sports car race. Not only was the win historic, but this race was Corvette’s 50th year of racing, another milestone that must have slipped the minds of GM’s spinsters.

Today, thanks to the True Believers who remain actively engaged in the corporation, the Corvette is a glittering example of what GM can do when it unleashes its best and brightest on a machine that embodies everything that a modern, high-performance sports car should be. And when you factor in the active and passive safety features, the real-world fuel efficiency numbers and the unmatched value that become a seamless part of its final equation, there is no question that the Corvette is one of the finest cars in the world – at any price. Which is why it remains a shock to me that GM and Chevrolet marketers have squandered every opportunity presented to them to use the Corvette as a demonstrative showcase vehicle for the company’s capabilities. It’s as if they’re almost ashamed of the car, or maybe it’s just that they can’t bring themselves to admit that they have one of the world’s great cars sitting right under their noses – and they don’t have the faintest of clues as to what to do with it.
I think Peter sums up the answer to his initial question correctly of why GM treats the Corvette brand like the red-headed stepchild. Because at the end of the day, the Corvette “sells itself” and GM is not going to “spend a dime on something that’s a sell-out anyway”… Read the entire rant at AutoExtremist.com
Photo Credit: Richard Prince
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Corvette Racing Wins Sebring 12 Hour Race

by Keith Cornett on March 19, 2006

Corvette Racing celebrated Corvette’s 50th anniversary in international road racing with a victory in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. The No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R driven by Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Jan Magnussen ran like clockwork throughout the 12-hour endurance race, finishing first in the GT1 class and third overall with a one-lap margin of victory over their rivals in the No. 009 Aston Martin DBR9. Ron Fellows, Johnny O’Connell and Max Papis finished fourth in the GT1 division and seventh overall in the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R following a hard-fought battle with the No. 007 Aston Martin in the closing laps. “It was a brilliant victory because this is the 50th year of racing for Corvette, a heritage that began here in Sebring with a win in 1956,” said Gavin, who notched this third Sebring title. “We’re absolutely delighted.” The Sebring victory extended the No. 4 Corvette C6.R’s winning streak in the world’s great endurance races. The Gavin/Beretta/ Magnussen trio won the GT1 class in last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans and Petit Le Mans. GT1 co-champions Gavin and Beretta have now won every race in their last six starts, a streak that began in Portland in July 2005. “Each time I win a race with Corvette Racing, I always think, wow that was a good one!” said Beretta, who set the ALMS record for most career victories with his 25th win. “It looks like every time we go to a race that we need to win, it is another fantastic victory. “The car ran super fast, and we didn’t have any problems at all,” Beretta reported. “We just refueled and put on new tires, and we got the trophy as a team.” The No. 3 Corvette C6.R had to overcome a stop-and-go penalty following the first pit stop and a gearbox problem at the midpoint of the race. Repairs to the gearbox dropped the Fellows/O’Connell/Papis trio to fifth in class, 13 laps behind the leaders. The team battled back as Fellows, O’Connell and Papis all did extended stints behind the wheel. With 15 minutes to go, Papis trailed Tomas Enge in the No. 007 Aston Martin DBR9 by 1.9 seconds in a fight for the final spot on the podium. He cut Enge’s advantage to .24-seconds in the final laps, but could not pull off a pass. “We had an advantage in the middle and end of the stint, thanks to the Michelin tires that were holding up better than the other guys’ tires,” Papis explained. “The Aston Martin definitely had a top speed advantage on the straights. I tried to pressure Enge into making a mistake, but he didn’t make one. It was a fair battle, and they finished ahead of us.” The No. 4 Corvette C6.R took the lead at 1:03 into the race when the No. 3 Corvette was called to the pits for a pit lane speed violation, and never relinquished the lead in the remaining 11 hours. During a safety car period at the 5-hour mark, the Corvette gained a one-lap advantage that sealed the victory. “We said all along that it was going to be a close race between Corvette and Aston Martin, and all of the things that were done to balance the cars were done for the fans,” said Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. “Tonight we put on a hell of a show, and I’m really pleased with the outcome. We had two great teams and great competition. The last 10 laps for third place was some of the most exciting racing we’ve seen in the ALMS.” Corvette chief engineer Tom Wallace agreed: “The last 10 laps with Max and the Aston Martin were just sensational,” he said. “The guys drove their hearts out and this team is unbelievable. The only thing that could have been better would be to get in the car and drive!” Corvette Racing’s next event is the inaugural Lone Star Grand Prix in Houston on Friday night, May 12. The second round of the 10-race ALMS will be televised tape delay on CBS on Saturday, May 13 at 1 p.m. EDT. Source: CorvetteRacing.com
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Corvette Racing Out To Avenge Sebring Loss

by Keith Cornett on March 14, 2006

Even though Corvette has won 20 of the last 21 races, it’s the one that got away last year that has the Corvette Racing team most fired up. Last Year at Sebring, the new Corvette C6.R was running first and second when both cars ran into trouble around the 8 hour mark. Suffice to say, both cars got back in the race, but couldn’t make up the difference which allowed the Aston Martin team to win. And while Corvette has dominated the last few years of ALMS racing, recent rule changes will make it more difficult to recapture the crown. In an effort to make the class more competitive, Corvettes are now 121 pounds heavier than their competition. Adjustments to the engine’s air restrictors have also been made to the C6.R to also help level the playing field. As Corvette Racing’s Program Manager Doug Fehan said about the rule changes:

“We’ve demonstrated, over the last twelve months, our willingness to work with the sanctioning body to help teams that don’t have the technology available to them that we have at Corvette Racing,” Fehan continued, “In the interest of great racing, sometimes adjustments have to be made for those whose car, technology and engineering are not the equal of the Corvette. Providing some rules concessions will help them to be competitive, this will strengthen the ALMS series and, ultimately, add to the enjoyment of the fans.”
Corvette Racing will have its cars piloted by the same trio of drivers last year that finished 1 and 2 in the American LeMans cup. Johnny O’Connell, Ron Fellows and Max Papis are the drivers of the Number 3 Corvette while defending Champions Olivier Beretta, Oliver Gavin and Jan Magnussen are in the Number 4 Corvette. The 12 Hours of Sebring is Saturday, March 18th beginning at 10:30 am.
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