Thanks to shakedown067 for contributing to this gallery.
Bondurant School of High Performance Driving
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
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.
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!
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:
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.
In addition to yesterday’s news about the C7 Corvette’s design going retro with the inclusion of a split rear window, we also learned that GM won’t abandon its traditional V8 power plant unless necessary. But that doesnâ€™t mean a hybrid Corvette is off the table. Tom Stephens, GM’s Vice Chairman of Global Product Development says “We will only do a hybrid if that is what is required to maintain the vehicle.”
As new CAFE standards require a company’s fleet to average 35.5 mpg by the 2016 model year, engineers already have some ideas on how to boost Corvette’s fuel efficiency, which is currently listed as 26 mpg highway for the 430 hp 2010 Corvette coupe. On the table is weight reduction, direct injection, variable valve timing and cylinder deactivation. Electric power steering alone could add about 0.5 mpg.
The much discussed and maligned idea of powering a Corvette with a six-cylinder appears to be moot at the moment. Stephens says “I don’t believe that we need to do a six-cylinder engine in a Corvette at this time.”
Despite an apparent gap of nearly 10 mpg between today’s Corvette and the 2016 mileage standards, talk to most Corvette owners and they will tell you that they routinely see average 28-31 miles on the highway. Several tests of the Corvette’s fuel efficiency have been conducted that have confirmed such claims.
As for the Corvette going hybrid, Stephens says “I think we have a pretty good plan right now that probably will not require a hybrid in the near term.”
Automotive News (subscription)
GM: Next-Generation Corvette C7 Expected in 2012 as 2013 Model
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Popular Mechanics Tests Corvette’s Fuel Efficiency”>Popular Mechanics Tests Corvette’s Fuel Efficiency
GM’s VP of Global Design Ed Welburn told Inside Line that the design of the new C7 Corvette will go retro much like the new Camaro and a prominent design feature will be the return of the split rear window. The next generation Corvette is expected to be launched in 2012 as a 2013 model.
The original split window appeared on the 1963 Corvette Coupe, but Chief Engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov hated the feature due to its limited visibility and in 1964 it was removed. Welburn addresses the visibility issue by saying “With the back-up cameras and blind-spot detection systems that we have these days, the visibility issue is much less of a problem.”
The Corvette Stingray Concept that appeared in the latest Transformers movie also has a split rear window. “That car is not the next Corvette.” says Welburn, “But the split-window is something that I expect for the next Corvette.”
Welburn was the driving force behind the new reborn Camaro and is a big fan of the Corvette Stingray concept design as evidenced in this previously released Stingray Concept Introduction video.
As stated earlier, Inside Line says the C7 Corvette will have the traditional front-engine, rear drive layout.
We’d love to see the C7 go a bit retro as long as its performance capabilities remain high. May we suggest to Welburn that they take a look at the C3R Retro Stingray
I got these pictures in today from Bjarne Pedersen, system admin for the Danish website CorvetteWorld.dk. I’m hoping to receive additional info about the cause of the fire, but in the meantime, check out these photos. The Red 68/69 Corvette is totally engulfed in flames! Judging from the photos, the C3 Corvette was a complete loss. Our heart goes out to the owner.
Thanks for the photos, Bjarne!