Corvette Racing Qualifies Fourth and Fifth for Road America ALMS
Magnussen and Beretta Secure Top-Five Spots in GT2 Qualifying at Fast Road America Circuit
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – On a steamy August afternoon in America’s dairyland, Corvette Racing drivers Jan Magnussen and Olivier Beretta qualified their new-generation Corvette C6.R race cars fourth and fifth respectively in the GT2 category for Sunday’s Time Warner Cable Road Race Showcase at Road America. Magnussen turned his fastest time at 2:07.387 (114.398 mph) on his fourth and final flying lap in the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R. Beretta notched his quickest time at 2:07.619 (114.190 mph) on his third lap around the 4-mile, 14-turn road course in the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R. Magnussen and Beretta were .437 and .669 seconds respectively behind the pole-winning BMW of Joey Hand, who set the Road America GT2 qualifying record at 2:06.950.
Cloud cover moved over the Wisconsin countryside just as the 20-minute qualifying session began, cooling the track to 96 degrees. The Corvettes, which had been sixth and eighth in the final practice session, picked up their pace in qualifying, as did the rest of the 11-car GT2 field. Six manufacturers are represented in the category at Road America.
“It was a tough qualifying session, and we had to dig really, really deep to stay up near the front,” said Magnussen. “The pace picked up immensely from the practice. I was taking big risks with the car, but it’s so cool when it works. Maybe the cloud cover helped with the lap times, but it didn’t really affect my car’s balance.”
“We always want more than P4 in qualifying, but we’re within five tenths of the leader,” said Magnussen. “Both Corvettes are within a couple of tenths, which shows the strength of this team. The BMWs may be strong at the beginning of the race, but I think we can be stronger at the end of the stints with our Michelin tires.”
Beretta, the American Le Mans Series’ most prolific qualifier with 23 career poles, was fifth fastest today.
“I had a free lap without any traffic, but I just didn’t choose the perfect setup when it was time to go,” Beretta said. “We are still on the learning curve in our second race with the new GT2 Corvette. The car is very good, but we still have to learn how to get the best out of it.”
Corvette Racing tested the new GT2 cars at Road America, but today was the first opportunity for a side-by-side comparison with the competition on the high-speed circuit.
“We made some very good progress with the cars in the afternoon practice session and that, combined with the cloud cover, really brought down the lap times,” said Corvette Racing engineering director Doug Louth. “We knew some of the characteristics of the GT2 Corvette C6.R might not be as suited to Road America as they were at Mid Ohio, but we’re confident in the long-run performance of our Michelin tires. The GT2 race should be very exciting with so many cars close in performance.”
Corvette Challenge II
Friday saw the second running of the Corvette Challenge, an all-out, no-holds-barred bicycle race held in conjunction with the Tour de Road America Bike Ride to Fight Cancer. This year’s charity fundraiser saw Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan take on Corvette Racing driver Jan Magnussen and SPEED TV commentator Calvin Fish in a one-lap grudge race. Fans pledged donations to benefit the Lance Armstrong Foundation, the Austin Hatcher Foundation, the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, and the Vince Lombardi Cancer Clinic.
Fehan avenged last year’s loss to marathon runner Oliver Gavin, but this year’s edition was not exactly a straightforward race. Fish veered off course at Turn 5 to visit the Tequila Patron hospitality tent. He then returned on a motorbike and towed Magnussen up the painfully steep hill to the finish line. Fehan would have none of it, and put the Magnussen/Fish duo in the grass while pedaling to victory.
“I finally realized I’m way too old for this competition, so I had to cheat,” Fish revealed. “I thought I would give Mags a hand there at the end, but it wasn’t enough and the Doctor came through.”
Fehan finally experienced the thrill of victory on two wheels. “It once again proves that old age and treachery overcomes youth and exuberance,” he said. “I think that Calvin saw that ‘The Fighting Viking’ was struggling and gave him a tow. I moved over on them a little bit – just to take away their momentum, of course – and then I buried them in the last 300 yards.”
Magnussen was gracious in defeat, noting that it’s never a good idea to beat the boss. “I don’t want to end up looking for a ride,” he confided. “I gave it my best, and luckily Calvin was there to help me up the hill because my legs were about finished. I had no idea how steep the hills are at this track. It’s a lot easier in a Corvette C6.R.”
The Time Warner Cable Road Race Showcase at Road America is scheduled to start at 2:05 p.m. CDT on Sunday, August 16. SPEED will televise the two-hour, 45-minute race live at 3 p.m. EDT.
Time Warner Cable Road Race Showcase GT2 Qualifying:
1. Hand/Auberlen, BMW E92 M3, 2:06.950/114.792
2. Mueller/Milner, BMW E92 M3, 2:07.073/114.681
3. Bergmeister/Long, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 2:07.362/114.420
4. O’Connell/Magnussen, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 2:07.387/114.398
5. Gavin/Beretta, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 2:07.619/114.190
6. Henzler/Miller, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 2:07.740/114.082
7. Melo/Kaffer, Ferrari 430 GT, 2:07.740/114.082
8. Robertson/Robertson/Murry, Ford GT MK 7, 2:08.188/113.683
9. Farnbacher/James, Panoz Esperante GTLM, 2:08.800/113.143
10. Feinberg/Hall, Dodge Viper, 2:08.822/113.124
11. Law/Neiman, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 2:13.501/109.159
Release Date: August 15, 2009