Corvette Racing 1-2 in GT1 at Midpoint of 24 Hours of Le Mans
Corvette C6.Rs Two Minutes Apart after 12 Hours
LE MANS, France – After 12 hours of racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Corvette Racing’s Corvette C6.Rs were running like clockwork, separated by 1 minute and 59 seconds. At 3 a.m., the No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R of Jan Magnussen, Johnny O’Connell and Antonio Garcia maintained its lead in the GT1 class over the No. 64 Compuware Corvette C6.R driven by Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Marcel Fassler. The class-leading Corvette had completed 177 laps at the halfway point of the race.
As darkness fell on the Circuit de La Sarthe, the rhythm of the race settled into a quiet routine for Corvette Racing, punctuated by 14 pit stops by each of the cars. At the 8:19 mark, the No. 64 Corvette had a tire puncture. Beretta nursed the car to the pits safely, and went on to complete three stints. As a result of Beretta’s triple, the two Corvettes are now out of sequence on driver changes.
“Unfortunately I had a puncture and had to really slow down because I didn’t want the tire to fail,” Beretta said. “I took care of the car, and said to myself, ‘Okay, that’s the third and last time we’ve had bad luck in this race.’ I didn’t give up, and kept pushing. I didn’t want to give the car to my teammate with old tires, so I decided to run one more stint. Maybe that will pay off at the end because we will have one less driver change.”
Nightfall brought cool temperatures to Le Mans. “We’ve been working through the transition from 110-degree to 65-degree track temperatures over the last few hours, with pressure adjustments for each new tire set and a tire compound change,” said Corvette Racing engineering director Doug Louth. “The car engineers have been spot-on so far keeping up with the track and conditions. The double-stint performance is the best we’ve ever had, and we are exploiting the tire development done by Michelin over the last few years.”
Corvettes are running 1-2-3 in the GT1 class, with the No. 73 Corvette C6.R of Luc Alphand Aventures trailing the leading Corvette by four laps. Luc Alphand’s No. 72 Corvette retired in the eighth hour after a shunt in Tertre Rouge, having completed 99 laps.
24 Hours of Le Mans GT1 Standings at 12 Hours:
1. (63) O’Connell/Magnussen/Garcia, Corvette C6.R, 177
2. (64) Gavin/Beretta/Fassler, Corvette C6.R, 176
3. (73) Jousse/Maassen/Clairay, Corvette C6.R, 173
4. (66) Lichtner-Hoyer/Gruber/Muller, Aston Martin DBR9, 138
5. (72) Alphand/Goueslard/Gregoire, Corvette C6.R, 99 (retired)
6. (68) Apicella/Yogo/Yamagishi, Lamborghini Murcielago, 1 (retired)
CORVETTE RACING QUOTES:
Jan Magnussen, No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R: “The traffic at night is worse than in previous years. The car is good, but on the medium compound tires it moves around quite a bit. Other than that, no problems to report.”
Johnny O’Connell, No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R: “This double stint was a bit better. The car’s certainly nicer to drive. I was on hard tires, but we should go for mediums for my 3:30 a.m. stint.”
Antonio Garcia, No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R: “The second stint was much better. The tires were far better and the car was much nicer to drive. The traffic was still difficult at times, but overall it was a much nicer stint, even if it was after midnight.”
Oliver Gavin, No. 64 Compuware Corvette C6.R: “It’s frustrating, it seems we’ve got a car now that has a lot of understeer. You can do one good stint on the tires, but having to do two stints, we’re compromised in the second stint. Something seems to be vibrating in the front of the car, perhaps the floor under the engine, so the guys are looking at what the next step might be to repair that or adjust around it. It’s frustrating that we lost more than two minutes again with a safety car period not going our way. But this race is all about jumping over hurdles and going on to the next thing.”
Marcel Fassler, No. 64 Compuware Corvette C6.R: “The night stint was a little more difficult than I expected. Normally I do quite well in the night, but with all of the P1 and P2 cars I had a lot of traffic and was out of my rhythm a little bit. The car is running very well, and my lap times were always below our minutes, so everything is okay.”
Release Date: June 13, 2009