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Corvette Racing driver Jan Magnussen almost saw the top of the podium during the American Le Mans Series finale at Laguna Seca, but instead he saw the track-side hospital. Magnussen, driving the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R spent the last several laps of the race battling alonside Jörg Bergmeister in the Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, before crashing into the wall just feet from the finish line, allowing the Porsche to finish first just 1.037 seconds ahead. (Skip ahead to the 1:52 mark for the best action).
Magnussen even took the lead several in the second last lap, but had to give the position back as it was determined (quite obviously) that he had passed over the pit-exit line to do so.
“I’m definitely sorry Jan went into the wall,” Bergmeister said. “I didn’t want that to happen. But it was a banging game. I’m glad he’s OK. It was tough racing. The Corvette passed me the first time at the hairpin but he went in way too deep and I was able to get back around him. He was a little quicker I have to say. I wasn’t trying to figure out where he was gaining time on me. I was trying to stay on track and in front.”
Magnussen recalls the incident slightly differently. “I didn’t think I even had a chance after I had to give the position back,” he said. “Going into the last corner I was too far away to make a proper attack, but Joerg parked the car. I didn’t see that, so I slid up and hit him a little – he went sideways and I managed to get on the inside. It was a drag race up the hill, and I managed to get ahead of him. Then he turned me into the wall, and he kept turning in. Then I spun around the nose of his car.”
Corvette Racing is looking into the incident but it’s hard to point fingers as there was a lot of bumping going on in the final laps of the race. “It’s unfortunate it ended the way it did. I think we’re going to review the videotapes and see what we can do to ascertain what went wrong there,” said Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. “I’m sure we’ll be working with the sanctioning body to address it and put into place safeguards to make sure incidents like this won’t happen again.”
Still, Fehan had to admit that, “Those last six laps were as exciting as I’ve seen in motor racing in a long time – two great teams, two great cars, two great drivers.”
The podium spot is the fifth consecutive podium for Corvette Racing in as many races, since the team joined the GT2 class.
Ever wonder what it’s like to drive the world famous Laguna Seca race track? Apparently the folks at Google were curious and so they sent out one of the Google street view cars onto the track.
For some reason the Google street view doesn’t include a whole lap of the track, just from around turn five to turn 10. That portion does include the famous Corkscrew but the Google street view car doesn’t seem to capture it, which does make sense to anyone who’s taken the corkscrew before. One of the things that makes the Corkscrew so challenging is the fact that it’s so steep you don’t even know where the road is until you’re going down it (or, if you’re unlucky, driving down the dirt). Likely the Google street view camera was filming the sky at that point.
The filming appears to have been done during a practice session at last year’s ALMS race, as you can see the black and yellow GT1 Corvette and one of the Flying Lizzard Motorsports Porsches. Make sure to look behind you though…. yup, that’s a LMP2 Acura and the Audi R10 TDI.
Ride along with the Google street view car at Laguna Seca here:
Looking to continue its dominance in international motorsports, Porsche has released a new version of its GT3 RSR race car for the 2009 season.
Last year RSR’s took the top podium spot for their classes in both the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race. The cars are also a staple of the GT2 class in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS).
The biggest change for 2009 is the introduce of an even larger displacement boxer engine, with an increase from 3.8-liters to 4.0-liters. Due to a reduction in the size of the air intake (the two restrictor pipes measuring just 29.5mm each), horsepower is actually down 15 pones to 450hp at 7800 rpm. Torque stays constant, however, at 317 ft-lbs at 7250 rpm. Porsche does claim that this new engine delivers a better torque curve with more power available at lower rpm – as one would expect with a larger displacement engine.
The aerodynamics of the RSR have received several tweaks for ’09 including large air outlets on the hood that allow air brought in through the front bumper to flow over the car, providing not only increased downforce but also increased airflow to the new radiator setup. The radiator design was changed for ’09 as Porsche made the decision to offer the RSR with an optional air conditioning system.
The rear of the car also features revised aerodynamics and the rear wing now features more adjustability.
Weight has been kept to a minimum thanks to a lighter brake setup and lighter wiring harness, although weight has increased slightly to 2,745 lbs.
Porsche has already built 20 2009 GT3 RSRs, which are currently being delivered to teams (like Farnbacher-Loles and Flying Lizard Motorsports) around the world.
Official release and more photos after the jump: