Midnight in Le Mans: Corvette Racing Runs 1-2
Corvettes Break Away after Eventful Three Hours
LE MANS, France – Competition in the GT2 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans took an eventful turn in the hours before midnight. After a safety car period had threatened to split the GT2 field, a brilliant battle broke out between Oliver Gavin in the No. 64 Compuware Corvette C6.R and Jaime Melo in the No. 82 Risi Competizione Ferrari 430 GTC. The fight for first was finally resolved when the Ferrari went to the garage with a reported gearbox problem. The No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R then pulled back into contention with a strategic triple stint by Jan Magnussen.
A full-course caution shortly before 9 p.m. separated the GT2 frontrunners behind three safety cars. The No. 64 Corvette was held at the pit lane exit under the new regulations, losing valuable track position. A late pit stop by the class-leading No. 82 Ferrari saw Melo return to the track just ahead of Gavin.
“It was a bit frustrating with the new regulations and three pace cars,” Gavin said. “I really thought that the Risi car, our car, and the No. 63 Corvette would be running around for hours with a third of a lap between us. Then somehow the Ferrari came out of the pits right in front of me and we continued to battle.”
The race was on, with the two cars passing and repassing around the circuit. After trading places in the Mulsanne chicanes, Gavin took the lead coming out of the Arnage corner.
“Jaime was hard but fair,” Gavin said. “He was using a lot of road – maybe a little too much at times, particularly at the Ford and Mulsanne chicanes. I think he dropped a wheel off coming out of Indianapolis and missed a gear, and then missed another gear coming out of Arnage and I got by him. That may be where their gearbox problems started. I was able to get by cleanly and then open a gap.”
The Ferrari subsequently went to its garage for an extended stop. Meanwhile the No. 63 Corvette C6.R pitted for fuel only as Jan Magnussen would drive a triple stint. The time saved by foregoing a change of drivers and tires cut the No. 64 Corvette’s lead to less than a minute.
“The Michelin tires worked really well all the way through the three stints,” Magnussen said. “Traffic was no issue, and we got back some of the time that we lost to the No. 64 Corvette with the safety car. We’ll just have to do this two more times and we’re there!”
Release Date: June 12, 2010