Beretta Captures Final ALMS GT1 Pole in Long Beach
American Le Mans Series Salutes Corvette Racing's Decade of Dominance in GT1
LONG BEACH, Calif. - Corvette Racing driver Olivier Beretta affirmed his standing as the most
prolific pole winner in American Le Mans Series history by taking the final GT1 pole. Beretta extended his ALMS
record with his 23rd career pole in qualifying for Saturday's 100-minute Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series
at Long Beach.
Beretta was the quickest qualifier with the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R, turning a lap in 1:17.952 (90.887
mph) on the 1.966-mile temporary circuit through the streets of Long Beach. He edged Johnny O'Connell in the
No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R by .192 seconds after O'Connell had set the pace in the first two timed laps. The
two Corvette drivers recorded their fastest times before qualifying was briefly interrupted by a red flag. Both
subsequently completed two additional laps when qualifying resumed, but did not improve their times.
"I ran my best time and thought that my next lap would be even better, and then we had the red
flag," Beretta said. "After I restarted, the times were not so quick because the tires had cooled
down and on a street course you have to regain the momentum.
"Now the most important thing is to bring the two cars home safely in the race, and that is our first
priority," Beretta continued. "We need to win the race, that is the second goal. It will be the last
ALMS race in GT1, and I hope we win.
"I'm happy for the crew and everyone at Corvette Racing," he said. "They have worked hard for
10 years to bring us to where we are today. Our mechanics, engineers, and drivers are a very strong
O'Connell's best lap was timed at 1:18.144 (90.663 mph). "We changed our setup pretty drastically from
this morning so I wasn't really certain what we'd get in qualifying," O'Connell explained. "We
improved in some areas but not as much as we needed. I'm not disappointed - Olivier has proven himself to be
one of the best qualifiers in sports car racing. You're never happy when you don't get the pole, but qualifying
has never been my forte. We've improved our car and that's the most important thing."
"This is a very significant event for us," he said, "saying goodbye to these cars and letting
the fans in California see them race for the last time in the States."
At the conclusion of qualifying, American Le Mans Series officials paid tribute to Corvette Racing's
accomplishments in the GT1 division.
"This is a celebration of a decade of dominance," said ALMS President/CEO Scott Atherton.
"This is literally the end of an era as Corvette Racing, one of the true pillars of the American Le Mans
Series, is about to close a chapter of their racing history. The best news is that this simply opens the next
chapter with much more history still to be written."
"There are a lot of people who recognize what Corvette Racing has accomplished," Atherton said.
"The last couple of years have been difficult for all of us without the level of competition this program
has known in the past - but no one has forgotten the Viper era, the Aston Martin era, Ferrari era, and the
Saleen era. I've been in many meetings with executives of car companies as I tried to attract GT1 competition
into the series, and I wish I had a dollar for every time it was explained to me that there is such a dominant
organization in GT1 that it's just not feasible to compete. While it was hard to take at the time, it's an
incredible compliment that never gets written about in the papers or comes across on TV, but I can tell you
that it's absolute fact."
"To everyone at Corvette Racing, a heartfelt thanks for a decade of involvement," Atherton
concluded. "I can't tell you how much we're looking forward to the debut of the Corvette in GT2 at
Mid-Ohio in a very competitive environment."
The Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series at Long Beach is scheduled to start at 4:15 p.m. PT on Saturday,
April 18. The one-hour, 40-minute race will be televised by ABC on April 19 at 12:30 p.m. ET.
Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series at Long Beach GT1 Qualifying:
1. Gavin/Beretta, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 1:17.952/90.887 mph
2. O'Connell/Magnussen, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 1:18.144/90.663 mph
Release Date: April 17, 2009