Corvette Racing Qualifies Third and Sixth in GT2 Debut
Magnussen Qualifies Next-Generation Corvette C6.R in Top Three in First GT2 Session
LEXINGTON, Ohio, – Corvette Racing drivers Jan Magnussen and Oliver Gavin qualified their next-generation Compuware Corvette C6.Rs third and sixth respectively in the team’s first appearance in the GT2 category of the American Le Mans Series. The new GT2 Corvettes, which are based on the production Corvette ZR1 supercar, were in the midst of a tight field of GT2 qualifiers for Saturday’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Less than sixth tenths of a second separated the seven fastest qualifiers, a group that included two Porsches, a Ferrari, two BMWs, and the two new Corvette C6.R race cars.
The twin Corvette C6.Rs waited patiently in their pit boxes for the first five minutes of the 20-minute qualifying session. When they finally ventured onto the track, both drivers recorded their quickest times on their fourth flying laps around the 2.25-mile, 13-turn circuit – Magnussen at 1:21.454 (99.796 mph) in the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R and Gavin at 1:21.571 (99.653 mph) in the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R. Joerg Bergmeister claimed the GT2 pole with a lap at 1:21.022 in a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, and Jaime Melo was second in a Ferrari 430 GT at 1:21.287.
“We’re third, and ordinarily we wouldn’t be very happy with that, but I’m quite pleased,” said Magnussen. “The cars worked well and the team has built a fantastic car with real potential. Of course we would have liked the pole, but one will come eventually, I’m sure.”
“We worked qualifying well by waiting a little while to let some of the other guys finish off their runs so there was less traffic when I was out there,” he explained. “My quickest lap was completely clear. My second fastest lap was close in time, but I lost a little time passing a car at the end of the straight. We’re four tenths away from the pole – it’s a good chunk of time, but I’m confident we can find it.”
Gavin was also enthusiastic after his first qualifying run in the GT2 Corvette C6.R.
“It was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed it,” Gavin said. “We’re just trying to bed ourselves in. It’s a new class, we’re racing different cars, and I’m finding that where we were accustomed to just blowing by the GT2 cars, now we’ve got to really think about how we’re going to get around them.”
“The qualifying session went pretty well for me,” he reported. “I had some slow traffic on my quickest lap and passed a couple of slower ALMS Challenge cars at Turn 8, which sucks up a little time. The balance of my car was very good and I felt comfortable. Being half a second off the pole on our first time out is a really good showing for everybody here at Corvette Racing. Bring on the race, I’m really looking forward to it!”
The sixth round of the ALMS will be Corvette Racing’s first event in the GT2 category after a decade in the GTS/GT1 classes and eight consecutive ALMS championships.
“I don’t have any firm expectations for the race – let’s just see what happens,” Gavin said. “At the moment it’s a huge learning experience for us. Corvette Racing has always been smart in the past with strategy and pit stops, and if we get a good result from being smart in the race, that will be fantastic. It’s going to be tough, because the Porsches and Ferraris are quick, as we knew they would be. It looks like the BMWs have stepped up their game, so it looks to be a four-way fight between the four manufacturers. It’s going to be cracking!”
Magnussen was straightforward in his prediction for the race: “I think we’ll be swapping more paint than usual,” the Dane deadpanned.
The Acura Sports Car Challenge at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. EDT on Saturday, August 8. NBC Sports will televise the race tape-delayed at 2:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, August 9.
Acura Sports Car Challenge GT2 Qualifying:
1. Bergmeister/Long, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 1:21.022/100.328 mph
2. Melo/Kaffer, Ferrari 430 GT, 1:21.287/100.001
3. O’Connell/Magnussen, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 1:21.454/99.796
4. Mueller/Milner, BMW E92 M3, 1:21.516/99.720
5. Henzler/Ragginger, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 1:21.557/99.670
6. Gavin/Beretta, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 1:21.571/99.653
7. Hand/Auberlen, BMW E92 M3, 1:21.607/99.609
8. Robertson/Robertson/Murry, Ford GT MK 7, 1:22.092/99.021
9. Farnbacher/James, Panoz Esperante GTLM, 1:22.259/98.820
10. Law/Neiman, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 1:26.003/94.518
Release Date: August 7, 2009