Corvette Racing Qualifies One-Two in GT2 at 24 Hours of Le Mans
Gavin and Magnussen Improve Times in Second Night of Qualifying
LE MANS, France – Corvette Racing took the top two spots on the qualifying list in its debut in the GT2 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Oliver Gavin improved his time in the Thursday night session to 3:59.435 in the No. 64 Compuware Corvette C6.R. The Risi Competizione Ferrari, which had been on the provisional GT2 pole, was subsequently disqualified for a technical infraction, promoting Gavin to the No. 1 spot in GT2. Jan Magnussen also posted a quicker lap at 3:59.793 to put the No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R second in the GT2 category. The two Corvettes and the No. 95 AF Corse Ferrari were the only GT2 cars to qualify under four minutes on the 8.47-mile circuit.
“As always here in qualifying, it was a bit of a banzai run,” said Gavin. “The guys sent me out with great tires and good position on the track. I felt that if only we could get a clean lap and I could get it all together, the time would be there.”
“I made a small mistake coming out of Dunlop chicane – I got on the Astroturf and it spun the rear tires up. I was concentrating on the chicanes and I got through those cleanly, and then I stumbled upon a GT1 car in the second chicane. I pushed like crazy for the rest of the lap, and in the Porsche Curves I was really holding on. The Ford chicane was still a little damp, so I had to hold my breath and wing it. I’m very pleased with my lap.”
“It looks like Le Mans is going to be a fantastic race between us and Ferrari and Porsche,” said the Briton. “This event has really been our focus, and the Corvette has come on strong.”
Magnussen’s bid for the GT2 pole was stymied by traffic. “The car was really good but the traffic was horrendous,” he said. “It seems that when it gets dark, some people forget where the track goes. I’m encouraged by how well the car handled and everything worked. I would have liked to have a shot at the pole, which I really believe the car was capable of. It’s a really good starting point.”
The second night of qualifying for this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans began and ended under threatening skies, but only occasional sprinkles arrived at the circuit. The first two-hour session began on a damp track, and yielded several changes in the qualifying order in the final minutes. The No. 95 Ferrari ran the second quickest time at 3:59.837 to move the No. 63 and No. 64 Compuware Corvettes to third and fourth respectively in the GT2 rankings.
The Corvette drivers waited patiently in their pit stalls for 40 minutes before venturing onto the track, which was still damp following afternoon rains. When they began to run in earnest after nearly an hour had elapsed, Gavin and Magnussen turned laps within a few seconds off their qualifying pace on Wednesday as a dry line developed. The time was well spent, however, as the Corvette Racing crew evaluated tires and suspension settings under changing conditions. Both cars ran the full two-hour second session with all six drivers turning laps in preparation for the world’s most celebrated sports car race.
Corvette Racing Quotes:
Jan Magnussen, No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R: “The track was actually quite dry and we were able to get some competitive times at the end. It’s tricky, though, because if you get a little off the line into the damp stuff, even though there is run-off area, it’s not big enough at the speeds we’re going. I think the car worked well. We tested a tire combination we hadn’t tried before – it was good for several laps, and then I think the track conditions changed. That’s all valuable information.”
Oliver Gavin, No. 64 Compuware Corvette C6.R: “Any time you can spend on the track at Le Mans is fantastic because it’s such a unique place. The conditions were tricky and the track was evolving. We tried a Michelin tire that we hadn’t run on before, and we got some valuable data on that. The difficulty was that you could get going pretty well on the first two-thirds of the lap, and then when you arrived at the Porsche Curves, the track was still somewhat damp. You had to be very careful through those spots. Overall I felt very comfortable with the car.”
The 24 Hours of Le Mans will start at 3:00 p.m. CET (9:00 a.m. ET) on Saturday, June 12. SPEED will televise the start of the race live from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ET on June 12, and continue coverage from 6:00 p.m. to the race finish at 9:30 a.m. ET on June 13. Streaming video can be viewed on www.speed.com from 12:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET on June 12, and flag-to-flag audio coverage will be available on www.radiolemans.com.
24 Hours of Le Mans LM GT2 Top 10 Qualifying Times:
1. (64) Gavin/Beretta/Collard, Corvette C6.R, 3:59.435
2. (63) O’Connell/Magnussen/Garcia, Corvette C6.R, 3:59.793
3. (95) Alesi/Fisichella/Vilander, Ferrari 430 GTC, 3:59.837
4. (77) Lieb/Lietz/Henzler, Porsche 997 GT3 RSR, 4:01.640
5. (76) Pilet/Narac/Long, Porsche 997 GT3 RSR, 4:01.755
6. (78) Muller/Farfus/Alzen, BMW M3 E-92, 4:01.893
7. (97) Westbrook/Scheider/Holzer, Porsche 997 GT3 RSR, 4:01.014
8. (89) Farnbacher/Simonsen/Keen, Ferrari 430 GTC,4:02.427
9. (80) Neiman/Law/Bergmeister, Porsche 997 GT3 RSR, 4:02.685
10. (79) Priaulx/Muller/Werner, BMW M3 E-92, 4:03.215
Release Date: June 11, 2010