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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
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]