High-Speed Road America Track Is Next Test for Corvette Racing
Successful Debut of GT2 Corvette C6.Rs Buoys Team’s Confidence for Upcoming Race
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Fresh from a successful launch of the next-generation Corvette C6.R in the GT2 category last weekend in Ohio, Corvette Racing is ready to take the next step in the development cycle of its new production-based race cars. The seventh round of the American Le Mans Series on Sunday, August 16, will see the GT2 Corvette C6.Rs in action on the daunting 4.048-mile, 14-turn Road America circuit carved into the rolling hills of Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine forest.
With its high-speed corners and immense straights, Road America is a favorite of both fans and drivers. During the initial testing of the GT2-specification Corvettes, the Corvette Racing crew ventured to the historic circuit to evaluate the Corvette ZR1-based aerodynamic package. While Sunday’s two-hour, 45-minute race will be another test for the new hardware, it also promises to be another wheel-to-wheel duel among the manufacturers competing in the GT2 category. Corvette Racing entries finished second (Johnny O’Connell and Jan Magnussen) and fourth (Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta) at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after a hard-fought battle with Porsche, Ferrari, and BMW.
“Road America is a much different circuit than Mid-Ohio,” said Gavin, driver of the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R. “It’s a high-speed course, while Mid-Ohio is more of a medium-speed track. It’s still early days for Corvette Racing in GT2, and we’ll continue to learn where we stand in relation to the competition. It’s going to be tight and it’s going to be tough.”
“Based on our experience at Mid-Ohio, the team will continue to make refinements,” Gavin said. “We’re still learning how to manage the tires and keep the car good to drive over a full stint. Based on our first run last weekend, I think everyone at Corvette Racing has done a brilliant job. Bring on Road America!”
Gavin’s teammate Olivier Beretta, a five-time ALMS champion, likens his new race car to a new computer. “You open it up and switch it on, but you still must learn how to operate it,” Beretta said. “The keys might be in a slightly different place, or the programs a little different than you are accustomed to. It takes some time to become familiar with the new baby – and when you are finally comfortable, it’s easy.”
Jan Magnussen and his teammate Johnny O’Connell won the GT1 trophy last year at Road America, but the Danish ace has realistic expectations for the team’s first foray to the track in the GT2 category.
“It’s completely different from Mid-Ohio in terms of where you need to be fast,” Magnussen explained. “If you don’t have the top speed, the long straights at Road America will be difficult. We’ll see if we have an issue there – I certainly don’t think we will. Our test at Road America went very well, and the car handled beautifully in the high-speed sections.”
Team manager Gary Pratt has shepherded the next-generation Corvette race cars from concept to completion. Like a new father, he is justifiably proud of his carbon fiber creations.
“Both cars ran without any issues at Mid-Ohio, and that’s a good, good start for a brand-new car,” Pratt said. “We still have a little way to go to catch the competition, and we’ll keep working at it.”
Corvette Racing’s next event is the Time Warner Cable Road Race Showcase at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., on August 14-16. The two-hour, 45-minute race is scheduled to start at 2:05 p.m. CDT on Sunday, August 16. SPEED will televise the race live at 3 p.m. EDT.
Release Date: August 12, 2009