Bowtie Bullet Points: Chevy Notes for Mosport
Fellows and O’Connell hope to four-peat at the Canadian’s home track
BOWMANVILLE, Ontario – The General Motors Chevrolet Corvette Racing team returns to the track this weekend at Mosport International Raceway. The undefeated factory program leads the ALMS manufacturers’ championship and drivers Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell hold the lead in the drivers’ championship.
Fellows Returns Home for Tripleheader
For Corvette driver Ron Fellows, a race at Mosport is a return home. The Canadian motorsport hero considers the high-speed, 2.45-mile circuit to be his unofficial “home track” and has a remarkable win record in front of his hometown fans. He will put his skills to the test this weekend in three separate races, driving in both the ALMS event on Sunday as well as two SPEED World Challenge GT races for the factory Cadillac CTS-V program. In the Corvette C5-R, Fellows and teammate Johnny O’Connell have won the GTS class in the ALMS event at Mosport for three straight years (2001-2002-2003) and this year will be going for a record-tying fourth straight. If they win, they will tie a record that they set earlier this year at Infineon Raceway for the most consecutive wins at a single venue by drivers. O’Connell, who notched an overall win at Mosport in 1999 in a Panoz LMP, could become the first driver to win five times at any ALMS track if he joins Fellows on the top rung of the victory podium at Mosport. Except for the LMP1 overall win in 1999, all of O’Connell’s 20 ALMS wins have been in the GTS class with Corvette Racing.
Mosport Engineering Notes
While the car may look the same to fans, the Corvette C5-R becomes almost an entirely different animal at each race weekend. Different track layouts, elevation changes, surface types and temperatures require a different engineering playbook depending on the circuit. “Mosport is a great race track and is the most downforce-dependent place we go,” said Doug Louth, engineering manager for Corvette Racing. “Because of this, optimizing our aero settings will consume a bigger proportion of our practice time. With a very high average speed and a lot of fast corners, it is also a place that has big penalties for going off the track. Making the car stable and comfortable for the drivers is absolutely critical.” Fans will notice the two factory Chevrolets are running with the same side windows that were developed for Le Mans.
The New “Old” Qualifying Format
This weekend’s will return to the “new” style of qualifying for American Le Mans Series teams. At Sonoma in July, the series introduced a new form of “single-car” qualifying, which will resume this weekend. The format is designed to increase the drama of competition by giving drivers more of an opportunity to post their best lap times on a track clear of traffic. Unlike single-car qualifying formats used in many other forms of racing, the format for the ALMS has multiple cars on the track at the same time, dispatched individually at specific intervals timed to maximize the opportunity for each car to have clear track. The cars line up for qualifying in reverse order of the fastest lap achieved by each car in the practice session immediately prior to qualifying. The fastest cars are therefore placed at the end of the line, building drama during the qualifying session while drivers compete for the overall pole as well as individual class poles. Each car receives a total of four laps on the track during the qualifying session, including an out lap, two flying laps and an in-lap. Oliver Gavin, driver of the #4 Corvette C5-R, holds the qualifying record at Mosport for the GTS class. The Briton set a fast time of 1:14.417 in 2003.
Fellows to Drive Four Different Types of GM-Powered Race Cars
Ron Fellows will pilot four different types of GM-powered racing cars in the month of August. Fellows, recognized as one of North America’s best and diverse road racing drivers, will pilot a Chevrolet Monte Carlo in NASCAR Nextel Cup competition, a works Chevrolet Corvette C5-R in the American Le Mans Series, a Chevrolet Corvette in Trans-Am and a Cadillac CTS-V in the SPEED World Challenge GT Championship. All four types of racing cars are powered by GM’s venerable small-block V-8 engine, yet each car is purpose-built for a unique environment.
“The breadth and diversity of GM’s racing program can be seen in Ron Fellows’ schedule over the next few weeks,” said Doug Duchardt, GM Racing director. “Fellows is one of the finest racing drivers of the modern era yet he has a quality that is increasingly becoming extinct in motorsports today: the ability to compete successfully in a wide variety of equipment, regardless of the environment. He has won races in every level of competition he’s raced, from NASCAR Craftsman Truck and Busch to the 24 Hour of Le Mans, and in many ways his abilities mirror the capabilities and flexibility of GM’s small-block V-8 engine.”
“It’s a good challenge to be able to adapt quickly to different types of race cars and I’m really looking forward to the weeks ahead,” said Fellows. “As a race car driver you never stop learning, and when the opportunity came up to drive these cars I jumped at the chance. All of them are unique, purpose-built racing machines and all of them benefit from the legendary small-block V-8.”
Corvette Drivers Lead Points Race
Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell have a 37-point lead in the ALMS drivers’ championship, with Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta in second with 65 points. Chevrolet is on pace to claim a fourth straight manufacturers’ crown for the GTS class as well, holding a 48-point lead over Saleen.
Corvettes Fastest In Friday Practice
The two factory Corvettes set the fastest times in the GTS class during practice on Friday afternoon.
The Corvette Racing team will qualify on Saturday at 2:45 p.m. Sunday’s television coverage begins at 12:00 p.m. EDT on CBS Sports.
|Friday Practice Results – GTS Class|
|1||#4||Corvette C5-R||Gavin, Beretta||1:14.293|
|2||#3||Corvette C5-R||Fellows, O’Connell||1:15.101|
|3||#63||Saleen S7R||Borcheller, Mowlem||1:15.355|
|4||#71||Dodge Viper GTS-R||Weickardt, Belloc||1:17.473|
|5||#6||Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT||Krohn, Maxwell||1:19.281|
|6||#5||Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT||Brabham, Kox||1:19.936|