Corvette Racing Ready to Rebound in Streets of Long Beach
Compressed Schedule and Tight Quarters Emphasize Engineering and Precision on Bayside Circuit
LONG BEACH, Calif. – After beginning the 2010 American Le Mans Series with the longest event on the schedule, Corvette Racing will take on the shortest event on the ALMS calendar this weekend in the series’ second round on the streets of Long Beach. After an uncharacteristic pit lane miscue and a series of mechanical glitches in the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Corvette Racing is determined to rebound in the 100-minute sprint race on Saturday, April 17.
Track time will be at a premium on the 1.986-mile, 11-turn temporary circuit. Friday begins with two hours of practice on a green track and ends with a short 30-minute practice session and qualifying. The ALMS drivers won’t see the circuit again until they begin their reconnaissance laps before the 4:40 p.m. race start on Saturday.
“I believe the compressed schedule actually gives Corvette Racing an advantage over many other teams,” said Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. “The combination of the team’s simulation technology and years of experience racing in various series at Long Beach will offset the limited track time. We’re confident that when the Corvette C6.Rs roll out of the transporters, we could race with that setup.”
There will be only one scheduled pit stop for a mandatory driver change in the 100-minute race. Corvette Racing has taken steps to prevent a repeat of the Sebring misstep.
“We have dissected and analyzed the entire pit stop process, and where there were shortcomings we’ve addressed them,” Fehan said. “The team has put in place procedures that should prevent that from ever happening again.”
Driver Johnny O’Connell, teamed with Jan Magnussen in the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R, is a veteran on the Long Beach street circuit. He first raced there in 1986 as an up-and-coming driver in the open-wheel ranks. He also spent time behind the wheel of a Trans-Am car on the temporary course before ALMS came to Long Beach in 2007.
“I think everybody on the team is going to be very motivated after what turned out to be a very disappointing Sebring race for us,” O’Connell said. “The limited track time means that every aspect of preparation has to be done quickly and professionally. With Corvette Racing’s engineering capabilities, I’m confident we can get our car in its operating window quickly.
“On a street course like Long Beach, a driver has to be smart but also a little aggressive to get a good result,” O’Connell continued. “The short stints are going to put the emphasis on sharp pit stop strategy and quick driver changes. You can’t afford to lose time behind a slower car, but you also have to remember that any mistake on a street circuit is usually highly detrimental to success.”
Thunder on Pine
Corvette Racing will stage a pit stop demonstration in the Thunder on Pine Avenue pre-race event in downtown Long Beach on Thursday evening, April 15. The crew of the No.4 Compuware Corvette C6.R driven by Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta will take on Alex Job Racing for bragging rights in pit stop prowess. Demonstrations are scheduled at 6:45 and 7:45 p.m.
Corvette Racing driver Oliver Gavin is among the 14 members of the British Racing Drivers Club who will run in the London Marathon on April 25. Gavin has two goals: to complete the 26-mile, 385-yard run with a new personal best time under three hours, and to raise 50,000 UK pounds ($77,000) for CLIC Sargent, a charity that supports children who have cancer and their families. Fans can pledge donations at http://www.justgiving.com/BRDC-marathon-legends.
Ron Fellows Professional Driving Course
Corvette Racing ambassador Ron Fellows will award a three-day course in the Ron Fellows Performance Driving School at Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch to a lucky Corvette enthusiast in Long Beach. Fellows will draw the winning name in a raffle at the Corvette Corral at 2 p.m. on April 17.
“The idea is to provide something special for the loyal Corvette owners who come to the Corvette Corrals at ALMS events,” said Fellows, a three-time ALMS champion. “We offer a variety of Performance Driving School programs from beginner to advanced, and we use Corvettes equipped with Michelin tires exclusively in our courses. The curriculum is designed to develop the skills to drive a high-performance vehicle with footwork, mental training, skidpad exercises, and lapping the 10-turn, 2.2-mile Spring Mountain course. It’s great fun!”
The first drawing was held at Sebring. Ron Fellows Professional Driving Courses also will be awarded at Corvette Corrals held in conjunction with ALMS races in Long Beach, Laguna Seca, Lime Rock, Road America, and Road Atlanta.
Corvette Racing’s next event is the American Le Mans Series at Long Beach on Saturday, April 17. The one-hour, 40-minute race is schedule to start at 4:40 p.m. PT and same-day coverage will be televised on SPEED at 8 – 10 p.m. ET.
Release date: April 13, 2010