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The bright yellow Corvette Racing C6.Rs may have raced to victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but the team’s efforts at home have been met with less spectacular results. To be fair, Corvette Racing cars have landed a spot on the podium twice this season, but the team has also suffered some major setbacks in other races. As perhaps a sign that Corvette Racing may reclaim some of its former glory the No. 4 car of Oliver Gavin and Jan Magnussen finally clinched the top spot on the podium at the Grand Prix of Mosport over the weekend.
A combination of hard driving, excellent pit stops and a bit of luck put the Corvette in first. Starting in just sixth position in the GT class the No. 4 Vette emerged from the pits in 3rd place after the first round of stops. With Oliver Gavin piloting the car for the first half of the race, Jan Magnussen took over, passing one of the Risi Competizione Ferrari 458 Italias near the end of the race. Then, with just laps to go, Dirk Werner, driving the No. 55 BMW was forced to pit for a stop-and-go penalty after making contact with one of the slower GTC cars, allowing Magnussen to move into first.
He held on to take the checkered flag and subsequently end BMW’s dominance in the series. “We got our first win on the board and we’ve broken BMW’s stranglehold on ALMS victories this year. I’m absolutely delighted!” said Oliver Gavin.
The No. 3 Corvette driven by Tommy Milner and Olivier Beretta managed a sixth place finish, starting 8th on the grid and eventually climbing to 4th until contact with the very gold No. 11 Porsche GTC car resulted in a spin.
The next race on the ALMS calendar is at Mid Ohio in two weeks time.
GALLERY: Corvette Racing at Grand Prix of Mosport
GALLERY: Corvette Corral
Danish racing driver Jan Magnussen, best known for his work as a factory driver for Corvette Racing in the ALMS and 24 Hours of Le Mans, is scheduled to join fellow Scandinavian Mattias Ekstrom at the upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Infineon Raceway. We’re not sure what’s behind the Viking invasion of NASCAR these days, but we suspect it may have something to do with Hagar The Horrible.
According to Magnussen, “It feels great. I have always wanted to try NASCAR and I am very grateful to Phoenix Racing for giving me the chance.” The Dane will be driving the No. 9 car for Phoenix Racing.
“We are thrilled to have a driver of his caliber to drive for us at Sonoma. Jan has tested NASCAR Sprint Cup cars before and his CV speaks for itself. He is going to give us a chance not only to quality good, but to be in the top fight,” said Phoenix Racing team boss James Finch.
The NASCAR race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California takes place this weekend (June 19/20).
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Corvette Racing has just released the first part of a 12 part series, chronicling the team’s build up and follow-through for the 2010 American Le Mans Series. The first video in the series doesn’t waste any time dealing with Corvette Racing’s crushing finale at Laguna Seca, where contact by one of the Flying Lizard Porsches sent driver Jan Magnussen into the wall, just seconds from the finish line. (see below).
Crew Chief Dan Binks expresses his anger, but says that the best way to avoid that situation in the future is to build a car that’s so far out front, this problem won’t occur. Corvette thinks they’ve got such a car, but this year the competition is even tougher, with the GT1 and GT2 classes amalgamated into a single GT class. Plus, for 2010 (like in 2009) the new C6.R is much more closely based on the street car and new for 2010 is a smaller 5.5-liter V8 engine.
We’ll be sure to keep an eye on how the new car stacks up, with the 2010 ALMS Season beginning with the 12 Hours of Sebring, March 17-20.
See after the jump for a video of last year’s season ending crash.
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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.
Corvette Racing today unveiled its new GT2-spec C6.R racer and invited folks to listen in on a conference call with those responsible for running the team as well as one of the drivers of the No. 3 car, Johnny O’Connell.
For years Corvette Racing has ran a team of cars in the top-level GT1 category in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but decided to move to the lower GT1 class for several reasons, namely the competition and the marketing potential. For starters, the GT2-spec C6.R is closely based on the new ZR1, whereas the old GT1 cars had little in common with their road-going counterparts. Being so closely related to a street car is ideal for marketing.
“With the international regulations converging around a single GT class, Corvette Racing will continue its motorsports heritage by racing against manufacturers and marques that Corvette competes with in the marketplace, while also increasing the production content of the C6.R race car and the relevance of racing to our customers,” said Mark Kent, GM Racing manager. “This is truly a step that positions Corvette Racing for the future of production-based sports car racing worldwide, and a move that is perfectly aligned with GM’s marketing and business objectives in racing.”
As for the competition, the GT1 class has heated up over the past few years. Traditionally dominated by Porsche, Ferrari is now a major contender. Additional players include BMW, Aston Martin and Panoz. Competition on GT1 is almost non-existent now as Corvette Racing has developed into such a dominating sport over the years (beating Ferrari, Aston Martin, Saleen and Dodge).
“There was literally very little competition on a global basis to race in the existing GT1 category,” said Doug Fehan, Corvette Racing program manager.
Under the hood, Corvette Racing has modified the 7.0-liter GT1 powerplant, adding a new crankshaft to decrease the displacement to 6.o-liters (as the rules demand). A new engine is also in development for 2010 when the rules change to limit the maximum displacement to 5.5-liters. According to Fehan this new engine will be based on a production 5.5-liter V8 that is planned for future GM products. The Corvette Racing GT2-spec C6.R will make its racing debut at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 6-8. Familiar faces Johnny O’Connell and Jan Magnussen will share the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R, and Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta will drive the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6. R.
GALLERY: GT2 Corvette C6.R
Read a transcript of the full teleconference after the jump: Continue Reading…
Last year Chevrolet announced that it would retire its GT1 Corvette Racing team after dominating the class for close to a decade. In its place Chevy would run a lower-level GT2 team in a class that has become increasingly competitive.
This year the GT1s still ran in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) during the season opener at Sebring and then at Long Beach before heading off to France to compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. There the team did Corvette Racing justice, taking the top spot on the podium in the last race the GT1 C6Rs would ever see. It also marked an astounding six class wins at Le Mans for Corvette Racing.
Now Corvette Racing has announced plans to return to the series on August 6th at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Two cars will take to the field to battle it out with Ferraris, Porsches and Vipers. Both cars will be piloted by familiar drivers, with Johnny O’Connell and Jan Magnussen forming one team and Olivier Beretta and Oliver Gavin forming the other.
“For several years now, the competition in GT2 has been the closest and most competitive among all our classes,” said ALMS CEO Scott Atherton. “With the news of Corvette Racing’s official entry into the category at Mid-Ohio, the class quite possibly becomes the most diverse and competitive ever. It also serves as another example of the continued growth and success of the American Le Mans Series. Corvette never truly left, but it’s safe to say that they were missed by the countless participants at our Corvette Corrals and fans worldwide. We would like to be the first to officially say, ‘Welcome back!’”
The two car Corvette Racing GT2 team will race for the first time at Mid-Ohio from August 6-8th.
[Source: American Le Mans Series]