Rough Road Ahead for Corvette Racing in Houston Street Race
Survival Is the Name of the Game in Grand Prix of Houston
HOUSTON – The second annual Grand Prix of Houston, to be contested on Saturday night, April 21, on the 1.7-mile JAGFlo Speedway at Reliant Park temporary street circuit, is the third in a series of three street races on the American Le Mans Series calendar. After winning the GT1 class in last year’s inaugural event in Houston, Corvette Racing is well prepared for the bumpy roads that surround the Astrodome.
“Houston will be the bumpiest track that we race on this season,” said Oliver Gavin, driver of the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R. “Last year Corvette Racing did everything right in Houston. The computer simulation work the engineers did before the race and the adjustments the crew made in the setup at the track produced a fantastic win on a circuit we had never seen before. We were carrying a 176-pound handicap, and it was hard, hard pushing all the time. Johnny O’Connell was driving brilliantly in the No. 3 Corvette C6.R, and he didn’t make a mistake, not one inch. The finish couldn’t have been any closer.”
Gavin’s teammate, Olivier Beretta, agreed: “Houston is quite bumpy, but every track has its own character,” he said. “The first time I raced there, I loved the place. The race organizers did a very good job.”
Gavin and Beretta are riding the wave of a three-race winning streak after victories in Sebring, St. Petersburg and Long Beach with their Corvette C6.R. With their victory last weekend in Long Beach, Calif., Beretta extended his record for most ALMS victories with his 31st career win. While he hopes to add to that tally in Texas, his eyes are firmly fixed on the big prize – the upcoming 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“Street races are always challenging because you don’t want to crash the car with Le Mans just a few weeks away,” he explained. “You need to push but also to make sure you don’t make a mistake. But it’s not easy because with four different classes on the track, you often have to go off the racing line to pass. Then you get pickup on the tires and it is difficult to come back. Fortunately we have made it through street races in St. Petersburg and Long Beach with no major problems, so we are ready for Houston.”
The Grand Prix of Houston will be contested on Saturday, April 21. The 2-hour, 45-minute race on the 1.7-mile JAGFlo Speedway at Reliant Park temporary street circuit will begin at 5:30 p.m. local time (6:30 p.m. EDT). The race will be televised tape-delayed by CBS Sports on Sunday, April 29, from 1-3 p.m. EDT.
Release Date: April 17, 2007