Corvette Takes Decisive 1-2 GTS Victory at Petit Le Mans
Gavin, Beretta and Magnussen Win Race; Fellows and O’Connell Win Title
ATLANTA– The 2004 ALMS GTS Championship-winning Corvette Racing team continued their winning ways with a commanding 1-2 GTS finish at the 1,000-mile Petit Le Mans endurance event at Road Atlanta on Saturday. Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Jan Magnussen won the race of production classes in the #4 Compuware Corvette C5-R, edging Corvette stablemates Ron Fellows, Johnny O’Connell and Max Papis by just seconds. With their second place finish, Fellows and O’Connell claimed their second straight shared GTS Drivers’ Championship; Fellows has now won three straight ALMS GTS championships.
“With all the great victories this team has achieved, today very well may be our most commanding victory,” said Doug Fehan, program manager for Corvette Racing. “Our two cars ran as hard as they could with only seconds between them for close to 10 hours, with zero problems and flawless pits stops. It can’t get much better than this.”
The Corvettes continue a season that has been nothing short of magnificent, taking victories at all three major international endurance events and every single ALMS race in between. The undefeated Chevrolet team started Saturday’s race from the pole position but lost position to the #63 Saleen at the start; it took only until the second lap for Corvette to take the lead back, where it remained for the afternoon. Both cars ran trouble free for the entirety of the event and, while some passing did occur on the track, many will agree that the Corvette winner was chosen in pit lane.
“It all came down to pit stops today,” said Gavin. “We’re only allowed to pass on the track when we are absolutely certain that it will be clean and without contact. The best way to do that is in the pits and Olivier and Jan and I owe this victory to our crew. They did a fantastic job and that’s why we won.”
Gavin’s teammate Olivier Beretta said that today’s victory reminded him of their recent long-distance win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“Everything today was perfect—like Le Mans,” said Beretta. “To drive with Oliver and Jan is a great honor and we seem to work very well together. This has been a great season with GM Racing and I can’t wait to go to Laguna Seca to try to take the first ever win for Corvette at that track.”
While Ron Fellows, Johnny O’Connell and Max Papis settled for second position, it was a trophy-raising occasion as Fellows and O’Connell closed their second shared GTS Drivers’ Championship.
“I’m happy for all of the guys on our team because we’ve been racing our teammates in a very tough battle this year,” said Fellows. “For us to have won the championship is a testament to the kind of work the team has put in this year. It’s great to win a drivers’ title but in reality it is a reflection on everyone in your organization. I’m happy I could share this with Johnny again.”
The Corvette C5-R will run its final race at Laguna Seca on October 16, for Round 9 of the American Le Mans Series.
|ProvisionalResults (GTS Class)|
|1||#4 Corvette C5-R||Gavin, Beretta, Magnussen||376|
|2||#3 Corvette C5-R||Fellows, O’Connell, Papis||375|
|3||#71 Dodge Viper||Weickardt, Babini, Belloc||339|
|4||#63 Saleen S7R||Borcheller, Mowlem, Barbosa||337|
|5||#6 Lamborghini Murcielago||Krohn, Maxwell, Fox||313|
|6||#5 Lamborghini Murcielago||Kox, Brabham, Jonsson||184|