Photo Credit: Oliver Gavin / Instagram
Competitors in the Tudor United Sportscar Championship, such as Corvette Racing, put in long, hard hours at the racetrack and traveling around the country from spring until fall. Crews and drivers must endure hot weather, rainy weather, days away from their families, and unbelievable stress trying to make a sometimes cantankerous racecar do what they want it to do. Then, on top of all that, the sanctioning body can suddenly change the balance of performance parameters on your car to make everything that much more difficult.
Do you ever wonder what these dedicated competitors do in the off season? Do they pack up the cars, shut the tool boxes, lock the garage and head for some warm, sunny beach to sip on piña coladas during the winter months?
No, not if you’re Corvette Racing. In the weeks since the end of the 2014 season, Corvette Racing has been busily working on the C7.Rs to find more speed to recapture the GTLM Driver’s and Manufacturer’s Championships that eluded them last year.
According to Doug Fehan, Corvette Racing Program manager, they’ve taken a two-pronged approach for success in 2015. “We’ve been working on two different fronts,” he said. “One is obviously vehicle development. The rules are frozen, for the most part, so we’re looking at a bunch of small things—aero enhancements, fuel economy improvements, and all the little areas we’re allowed to modify.” They have analyzed an entire year of data to identify areas that can be improved. The rules are tightly controlled, which, as Doug says, “Makes us work that much harder on finding the small things that add up to a bigger overall improvement.”
Last season, IMSA’s in-season changes in the balance of performance parameters for the Corvette C7.R was a source of consternation among Corvette Racing fans, many of whom feel the restrictions prevented the C7.Rs from being competitive in the latter half of the racing calendar.
Doug is being pro-active on a second front by working with IMSA to avoid a similar situation in the upcoming season. “They’ve been very open and forthright in their understanding and desire to improve themselves,” he noted. “So we’re looking for some form of improvement in the rules and their implementation. Thus far, I’m impressed with their efforts, and they are willing to listen to our input.”
One thing that won’t change in 2015 is the full-time driver lineup of Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia in the number 3 car, and Tommy Milner and Ollie Gavin in number 4. The full roster of drivers for the endurance events is still in flux and no announcements have yet been made.
Tommy Milner – Corvette Racing – Driver’s POV – NOLA Motorsports Park
The Dodge Vipers have picked up their marbles and gone away, but the usual contingent of BMWs, Porsches, and a Ferrari or two will be waiting for any opportunity to give Corvette Racing some grief in 2015. Everyone who wears the yellow and black shirts knows this and they are not standing around all winter waiting for next year—they know that the only way to stay at the sharp end of the field is to keep their noses to the grindstone by working hard during the so-called “off” season.
There’s an old racing adage that says, “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” Corvette Racing knows this and intends to be very “lucky” next year.