Corvette Continues to Pace GTS Class After Eight Hours at Le Mans

Jun 13 2004 admin News Comments Off on Corvette Continues to Pace GTS Class After Eight Hours at Le Mans

As one Corvette leads, the other licks its wounds

LE MANS, France – The General Motors Chevrolet Corvette Racing team continues to lead the GTS class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, running fifth overall as darkness settles at Le Sarthe. Drivers Gavin, Beretta and Magnussen hold on to the lead, roughly two minutes ahead of the next competitor.

The performance of the #64 Corvette speaks for itself,” said Doug Fehan, program manager for Corvette Racing. “As I have always said, winning this race will require 25% great team, 25% great car and 50% luck. Right now on the #63 team we only have 50%, with luck escaping us.”

The crew on the #63 Corvette has once again put on a display of world class teamwork, repairing the badly damaged race car after a blown tire sent the car off the track before the Indianapolis corner on lap 93, damaging the front and rear. The car was further damaged when a prototype spun and hit the car again as it sat in the gravel. Driver Ron Fellows showed his resolve by coaxing the wounded Corvette back to the pits, where the crew changed the entire front and rear fascias, fixed rear suspension parts and added gearbox oil in just under 30 minutes. Fellows was well on his way to the front of the pack before the accident, climbing into third place in class and setting the car’s fastest laps of the race.

“I was two-thirds of the way down the straight headed towards Indianapolis, traveling at about 170 mph and high in sixth gear when I felt a vibration,” said Fellows, two-time GTS winner at Le Mans. “I got off the throttle and when I did that, I heard a ‘poof’ and the car spun backwards and hit the guard rail.”

Luck seemed to escape the #63 Corvette again on lap 97, when Johnny O’Connell was hit by a prototype on the Mulsanne straight and spun. He rejoined the circuit with light body damage to the rear of his car.

As ingenuity and teamwork prevailed in the #63 garage, the #64 crew members remained busy keeping Gavin, Beretta and Magnussen in front of the Ferraris. At the eight hour mark, Olivier Beretta had put more than two minutes behind him, reporting no problems with the car.

Positions at 8 Hours – Gran Tourisme (GTS) Class
Pos. No. Car Fastest Lap Laps Completed
1 64 Corvette C5-R 3:53.598 118
2 66 Ferrari 550 M 3:53.327 117
3 61 Ferrari 575 GTC 4:00.910 110
4 65 Ferrari 550 M 3:52.223 109
5 69 Ferrari 550 M 3:54.793 108
6 63 Corvette C5-R 3:54.162 105
7 62 Ferrari 575 GTC 4:01.390 101