Corvette Racing Third in GT1 at 12-Hour Mark in Le Mans
No. 63 Corvette Shrugs Off Close Call with Prototype
LE MANS, France – At the halfway point of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R driven by Ron Fellows, Johnny O’Connell and Jan Magnussen was holding position, running third in the GT1 class. The Corvette was on the lead lap, 3:46 behind the class-leading No. 007 Aston Martin.
The storm cells that swirled through Le Mans dissipated, leaving a crystal clear night for racing. At 6:57 into the race, Magnussen had a close encounter of the Audi kind when the LMP1 went inside the Corvette in the Dunlop chicane. Contact between the cars sent the Danish driver through the gravel, inflicting minor body damage on the Corvette.
“As for the Audi incident, that first corner is very difficult for us in a GT1 car; it’s almost flat,” Magnussen explained. “Halfway through the corner he decides to pass me on the inside and we hit. Fortunately I managed to get through the gravel trap all right, coming out on the other side in fifth gear, with no other problem than some gravel on the tires. On the same lap, the safety car came out, so I didn’t lose any time changing tires. The Audi apparently had more damage so if he had waited like he should have it would have been better for us.”
“The tires were okay throughout the double stint, a bit worn but otherwise fine,” he continued. “I did my fastest race lap with 25 laps on them, which shows the consistency of the Michelin rubber.”
O’Connell then replaced Magnussen and did a double stint, followed by Fellows who returned to the cockpit at 10:43 into the race.
“I was disappointed on my first stint because visibility through windshield was poor and I would have liked to have been able to push harder,” O’Connell reported. “They pulled a tear-off from the windshield for the second stint, and we double-stinted the tires. There are many hours left, and anything can happen. There’s a little bit of high-speed vibration after Jan’s incident with the Audi, but the handling’s fine. No dramas here.”
The 24 Hours of Le Mans will finish at 3 p.m. (9 a.m. EDT) on Sunday, June 17. SPEED is televising 17.5 hours of coverage in North America from 8:30 – 11 a.m., 5:30 – 7 p.m., and 8 p.m. to midnight EDT on Saturday, June 16, and from 6 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. EDT on Sunday, June 17.
24 Hours of Le Mans GT1 Top Five Standings at 12 Hours:
1. (009) Brabham/Rydell/Turner, Aston Martin DBR9, 170
2. (007) Enge/Herbert/Kox, Aston Martin DBR9, 170
3. (63) Fellows/O’Connell/Magnussen, Corvette C6.R, 170
4. (008) Bouchut/Gollin/Elgaard, Aston Martin DBR9, 169
5. (100) Babini/Davies/Malucelli, Aston Martin DBR9, 168
Release Date: June 16, 2007