Corvette Racing First and Fourth at Six-Hour Mark in Le Mans
Corvette vs. Aston Martin Battle Lives Up to Advance Billing
LE MANS, France – The contest between Corvette Racing and Aston Martin Racing for GT1 supremacy at the 24 Hours of Le Mans is living up to expectations. After six hours of racing, the leading Corvette C6.R and the two works Aston Martin DBR9s were on the same lap on the 8.48-mile Sarthe circuit. As the cars cycled through their pit stops at the six-hour mark, Jan Magnussen led in the No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R with 91 laps. Max Papis was fourth in the No. 64 Compuware Corvette C6.R, one lap behind his teammate.
The seesaw battle has seen both marques lead the GT1 category in the first quarter of the race. GT1 pole winner Jan Magnussen took the point at the start in the No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R and held the lead through two stints. He handed off to Johnny O’Connell on the second pit stop after completing 25 laps. At 2:11 into the race, the No. 009 Aston Martin passed O’Connell to take P1. O’Connell also ran two stints, and was replaced by Ron Fellows, who ran to 5:17. With 80 laps completed, Magnussen returned to the driver’s seat.
Oliver Gavin started in the No. 64 Compuware Corvette C6.R, completing 24 laps in two stints. Olivier Beretta then drove two stints, and was replaced by Max Papis at 4:09.
Among the visitors to the Corvette Racing garage today was Jan Peter Balkenende, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands.
CORVETTE RACING QUOTES:
Olivier Beretta, No. 64 Corvette C6.R: “The stint was good, the car was good. I just tried to stay with the Aston. It’s too early to say. We are flat out – my last stint was like a qualifying run. I was on old tires with a lot of fuel, and I had to stay with the Aston.”
Ron Fellows, No. 63 Corvette C6.R: “It’s good fun – the car is fast and I turned the fastest lap I’ve ever run here before. The tires might have been just a little too hard. They were great for eight to 10 laps, but when I got into traffic I lost some temperature in the tires and couldn’t get it back. When you lose temperature in the tires, you start to fall off the pace a little.”
Oliver Gavin, No. 64 Corvette C6.R: “It was a tough couple of stints. The circuit became quite slick, and we seemed to be oversteering and loose. We’re fighting hard with the Aston Martins; I think the Aston that passed me was on newer tires and I was double-stinting mine.”
Jan Magnussen, No. 63 Corvette C6.R: “The car is not absolutely fantastic at the moment, so we’re trying to settle in. It’s not too bad, but it’s different from what it was in qualifying. We’ll just massage it at every pit stop and take it from there. Maybe the track conditions have changed more than we thought.”
Johnny O’Connell, No. 63 Corvette C6.R: “It’s clear it’s going to be a mighty long fight. So far we’re doing all right. It’s obvious the competition has improved its performance and their cars are getting better, but then so are ours. During the pit stops we adjusted the roll bars a bit to get rid of the oversteer. We’re not double-stinting our tires anymore, because on Jan’s second stint in the beginning of the race the car got too loose. We’ll see what we do during the night.”
24 Hours of Le Mans GT1 Top Five Standings at 6 Hours:
1. (63) Fellows/O’Connell/Magnussen, Corvette C6.R, 91
2. (009) Brabham/Garcia/Turner, Aston Martin DBR9, 91
3. (007) Frentzen/Wendlinger/Piccini, Aston Martin DBR9, 91
4. (64) Gavin/Beretta/Papis, Corvette C6.R, 90
5. (72) Alphand/Policand/Moreau, Corvette C6.R, 89
Release Date: June 14, 2008