Corvette Racing to Celebrate Milestone 100th Race at Detroit Grand Prix
Ninth Round of American Le Mans Series Will Cap Busy Week for Chevy’s Home Team
DETROIT – Corvette Racing will reach a motorsports milestone during the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix weekend when the green flag signals the start of the Detroit Sports Car Challenge on Saturday, August 30. The ninth round of the 2008 American Le Mans Series will mark Corvette Racing’s 100th event in international road racing.
Chevrolet’s factory team made its competition debut in February 1999 at the Rolex 24 at Daytona endurance race. Since then, Corvette Racing has competed in 99 events run under the auspices of USRRC, Grand Am, American Le Man Series, and Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), organizer of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. America’s premier production sports car team has scored 71 victories and tallied a 71.7 winning percentage. Following the team’s first ALMS victory at Texas Motor Speedway on Sept. 2, 2000, Corvette Racing has captured seven consecutive ALMS GT1 manufacturers and team championships and six straight drivers’ titles.
“Competing in our 100th race will be an amazing achievement, and another first for a factory-backed General Motors program,” said Doug Fehan, Corvette Racing program manager. “Everyone at Corvette Racing is very proud of this accomplishment.”
“Reaching this milestone is a testament to GM management’s commitment to the Corvette as a brand and to the Corvette Racing program,” he continued. “Since the program’s inception, we have learned that the longer this program runs, the greater the benefits derived by the company.”
“We’ve established Corvette as a global icon,” Fehan noted. “We’ve established Corvette as the world’s best sports car – not just America’s best sports car. We’ve demonstrated to GM how lessons learned in racing can be applied to production vehicles, ultimately producing better vehicles for our customers. Corvette is the tip of the technological spear for GM, and everyone who buys a Corvette now knows that it is truly race bred.”
Chevrolet will have a high profile at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. Chevy is the event’s Official Vehicle, and racing champion Emerson Fittipaldi will drive the Corvette pace car for the Detroit Sports Car Challenge. Hundreds of Corvette owners will fill the Corvette Corral during the race weekend, and Chevy will have an extensive display on site.
Corvette Racing driver Johnny O’Connell will throw the ceremonial first pitch at the Detroit Tigers baseball game at Comerica Park on Wednesday night. O’Connell and Jan Magnussen teamed up to win the GT1 trophy in last year’s inaugural ALMS event on Belle Isle. The pair has been on a tear in 2008, scoring seven victories in the first eight rounds of the 11-race series.
“We have many great races on the ALMS calendar, but the Detroit Grand Prix is special,” Magnussen said. “It’s a fantastic race with a very cool atmosphere. Roger Penske and the race organizers do a fantastic job with the facility, and you feel the atmosphere as soon as you cross the bridge to Belle Isle.”
“The circuit is a fun track to drive, but it’s one of those places that doesn’t leave a lot of room for mistakes,” Magnussen cautioned. “It’s a street circuit, which makes it difficult to pass and to be passed by the prototypes, so it’s really important that you have a good understanding with the drivers around you.”
Corvette Racing’s reigning GT1 co-champion Oliver Gavin agreed: “Detroit stacks up very well relative to other street circuits,” said the Briton. “They’ve done a very good job with the track layout. A driver must always bear in mind that it’s a temporary course, and while you might like more grip and fewer bumps, that’s part of the challenge of it. That’s what makes street circuits fun to drive around.”
“Last year there was a fantastic atmosphere and the weather was great,” Gavin recalled. “I think this year’s Detroit Grand Prix should be another jewel in the crown for the ALMS.”
Corvette Racing’s next event is the Detroit Sports Car Challenge presented by Bosch. The two-hour, 45-minute race is scheduled to start at 2:35 p.m. EDT on Saturday, Aug. 30. SPEED will televise the race live starting at 2:30 p.m. EDT.
Release Date: Aug. 26, 2008