Corvette Racing Runner-Up in Mid-Ohio Sports Car Duel
Gavin and Beretta Score Hard-Fought Second in Battle of the Brands
LEXINGTON, Ohio, – Corvette Racing was up to the challenge in the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge, the sixth round of the American Le Mans Series. Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta drove the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R to a runner-up finish in the fiercely contested GT class at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, finishing .582 seconds behind the winning No. 62 Ferrari 430 GT of Jaime Melo and Gianmaria Bruni.
History repeated itself one year after Corvette Racing made its debut in the GT2 class at Mid-Ohio with a runner-up finish. This time, however, it was Gavin and Beretta who put Corvette on the second step of the podium after the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R of Johnny O’Connell and Jan Magnussen retired with overheating problems. The two-hour, 45-minute race featured a battle of the brands as Corvette, Ferrari, BMW, and Porsche raced in tight formation at the head of the GT class.
“I know I’ve been in a real race today, and it’s all due to everybody at Corvette Racing pulling together,” Gavin said. “We’ve a great team around us, and we can really build on this momentum and move forward.”
Beretta started third on the GT grid, holding a determined pair of BMW drivers at bay until the first full-course caution came at 48 minutes into the race.
“The car was good, and I was quite happy about my stint,” Beretta reported. “I was trying to follow the Ferrari and then I realized that I had to conserve my tires, so I just wanted to be quick, to stay on the track, and to let the race go.”
Gavin took over the No. 4 Corvette on a yellow-flag stop, emerging in third again after the pit stop sequence. A brilliant five-car battle for the GT lead then broke out, with Magnussen fourth in the No. 3 Corvette. The running order shifted suddenly when the No. 62 Ferrari lost positions due to a reported fuel pump problem, and the No. 3 Corvette went to the pits for coolant. Gavin moved to second, and then took the lead with an outside pass in the Turn 2 Keyhole. He raced wheel-to-wheel with Bill Auberlin’s BMW through the next three corners. Gavin finally made the pass stick, and quickly opened up a 1.4-second gap.
“Bill is a hard racer, but he gave me room and that was great of him to do that,” Gavin said. “After all that’s happened in the last few races, I think people are getting the message that we can have a little bit of bumping, but nobody can be pushed off the road. You’ve just got to work and work to overtake, and I managed to do that today with everyone except Jaime.”
In a replay of their duel in Le Mans, Gavin and Melo raced nose-to-tail until the second full-course caution at 1:49. Gavin pitted for fuel and four tires, but his rivals opted for only two tires to gain track position. He found himself fifth in the queue, but methodically picked off his opponents, passing the No. 45 Porsche, the No. 90 BMW, and the No. 92 BMW. When the race resumed after the third caution period with 10 minutes remaining, Gavin was on the Ferrari’s back bumper. It was a fight to the finish, but the Corvette came up half a second short at the checkered flag.
“It was fantastic race, but I’m just a little frustrated that we didn’t have quite enough at the end,” Gavin said. “It looked like we were going to be able to get Jaime because he had older right-side tires, but the Ferrari was just a bit quicker than us. That’s what we’ll go back and continue to work on. This is still a great result for the team.”
The overheating problem on the No. 3 Corvette proved to be terminal, and the car was retired after completing 49 laps.
“The car was handling well, but this track has an enormous amount of rubber on the racing line and marbles off the line,” Magnussen said. “I got a lot of pickup on the tires running behind the safety car, and it took some laps to get that off, but then I thought I had the best car out there. But the engine was losing water and it was going under the rear tires, so it was a good call to bring in the car.”
Today’s runner-up finish was Corvette’s best result since a second in the Long Beach round in April.
“Today’s performance was the result of total focus, dedication to a mission, and a commitment of resources to do some additional testing,” said Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. “That always reaps benefits for an experienced team like Corvette Racing. I think it has put to rest any questions about whether this team had lost its resolve or that Corvette was not capable of competing with the best brands in the world. Today is what everyone has waited for – great, great racing.”
Corvette Racing’s next event is the American Le Mans Series powered by eStar at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. The two-hour, 45-minute race will start at 2:05 p.m. CT on Sunday, August 22, and will be televised live on SPEED at 3 p.m. ET. Live radio coverage will be available on American Le Mans Radio, Sirius Channel 127, and XM Channel 242.
Mid-Ohio Sports Challenge GT Results:
1. Melo/Bruni, Ferrari 430 GT, 112
2. Gavin/Beretta, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 112
3. Auberlen/Milner, BMW M3 GT, 112
4. Bergmeister/Long, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 112
5. Sharp/van Overbeek, Ferrari 430 GT, 112
6. Mueller/Hand, BMW M3 GT, 112
7. Pilet/Neiman, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 111
8. Sellers/Henzler, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 110
9. Gentilozzi/Goosens, Jaguar XKRS, 107
10. Fisichella/Vilander, Ferrari 430 GT, 100
11. Brown/Cosmo, Ferrari 430 GT, 96
12. Robertson/Robertson/Murry, Ford GT-R, 96
13. O’Connell/Magnussen, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 49
Release Date: August 7, 2010