Bowtie Bullet Points: Chevy Notes for Le Mans Open Test
Corvette C5-Rs practice for legendary 24-hour race
LE MANS, France – The General Motors Chevrolet Corvette Racing team takes to the track on Sunday morning for two four-hour official practice sessions at the 8.46-mile Sarthe circuit outside of Paris, a precursor to the 72nd annual 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race.
2004 marks the fifth consecutive appearance of the works-backed Corvette C5-R race cars at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Chevrolets have proven worthy Le Mans competitors, with both cars from the two-car team finishing and placing on the podium each year, including two GTS class victories in 2001 and 2002. Corvette has a history of racing at Le Mans which dates back to 1960, when American entrepreneur Briggs Cunningham entered a Corvette and netted an impressive eighth place overall finish. The marque came regularly to Le Mans until 1982 and later returned in the mid-90s when regulations allowed GT cars back into the race. For three decades, Corvette’s famous engine also powered cars from other brands such as Bizzarini, Callaway, Chaparral, Courage, Iso-Rivolta, Lola, Lotus, Marcos and March. 2004 marks Corvette’s 18th appearance at the race. This year’s driver lineup for Le Mans is:
#63 Corvette C5-R: Ron Fellows, Johnny O’Connell, Max Papis
#64 Corvette C5-R: Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta, Jan Magnussen
The six drivers have 29 years of Le Mans race experience between them.
Le Mans spec
The Corvette Racing program has been fully developed for 2004 and the results have been well documented, with a decisive third consecutive GTS class victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring in March, including record-setting qualifying times for both cars. The team further developed the car for the high-speed straights of Le Mans, with new side windows, front fascia fairings and a different rear wing angle. Inside the cars, each driver will benefit from a rear view video monitor, enhancing visibility as prototype cars approach from behind. A new air duct configuration in the rear quarter panels aids cooling to the transaxle.
Winning in a new suit
Making his debut in the Corvette C5-R in grand fashion – by taking the GTS victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring along with 2003 ALMS Champions Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell – Italian Max Papis joined an elite group of only three other factory drivers who have claimed a win in their first race with the Corvette Racing team. Johnny O’Connell managed this feat when he won the 2001 24 Hours of Daytona; Scott Pruett did so in the 2001 24 Hours of Le Mans while Oliver Gavin claimed a victory in the 2002 12 Hours of Sebring.
|Numerical Entry List – Gran Tourisme (GTS) Class|
|60||Pagani Zonda||Force One||Alliot, Hallyday, Kumpen|
|61||Ferrari 575 GTC||Barron Connor||Bosch, Sullivan, Biagi|
|62||Ferrari 575 GTC||Barron Connor||Hezemans, Barde, Deletraz|
|63||Corvette C5-R||Chevrolet||Fellows, O’Connell, Papis|
|64||Corvette C5-R||Chevrolet||Gavin, Beretta, Magnussen|
|65||Ferrari 550 M||Prodrive Racing||Enge, Kox, Menu|
|66||Ferrari 550 M||Prodrive Racing||Rydell, Turner, McCrae|
|69||Ferrari 550 M||Larbre Competition||Bouchut, Goueslard|