Split Decision for Corvette Racing in ALMS Mid-Ohio Qualifying
Corvette Racing Qualifies Second and Fourth for American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio
LEXINGTON, Ohio – The battle lines have been drawn for Sunday’s American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio, and the combatants in the GT1 class are as evenly matched as possible. Corvette Racing drivers Oliver Gavin and Johnny O’Connell qualified second and fourth respectively, splitting the Aston Martins of Tomas Enge and Pedro Lamy in the first and third spots. Less than three tenths of a second separated the two quickest qualifiers, while the third and fourth cars were split by three thousandths of a second.
“It’s as close as it’s ever been, and it’s great to have real competition in the GT1 class,” said Gavin, who took the second spot on the GT1 grid with a lap of 1:18.880 (103.053 mph) on the recently resurfaced Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R.
“It’s what the fans want, it’s what the series wants, but I’m not sure it’s what we want!” he laughed. “We struggled with understeer in that session, and perhaps I overdrove the car in some of the high-speed corners. Maybe we could have got a couple of tenths out of it.”
“The strength of Corvette Racing is its knowledge, its attention to detail, and its race strategy,” Gavin noted. “So I have every confidence we can bring home a win tomorrow.”
O’Connell completed his second qualifying run of the day on the 2.25-mile road course. This morning he qualified the No. 16 Cadillac CTS-V fifth on the grid for tonight’s SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT race. Shifting gears both mentally and physically, O’Connell qualified the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R fourth for Sunday’s 2-hour, 45-minute American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio.
“We made a change to the car right before qualifying that we hoped would be in the right direction, but we missed a little,” O’Connell commented. “I know what I could have done a little better in qualifying, so I’m going into the race feeling pretty good.”
“It’s going to be a battle, and I think it is totally awesome that the Aston Martins are finally pushing us,” O’Connell continued. “They’ve stepped up their game as we look to Le Mans, the biggest race of the year. Both teams are hitting their stride.”
In accordance with performance adjustments mandated by series officials, the Corvettes must carry 176 pounds more than the Aston Martin DBR9s and use smaller intake air restrictors in order to balance competition in the GT1 division.
“I think the performances have been equalized to the point that they are about where the sanctioning body wants them to be,” said GM Road Racing Group manager Steve Wesoloski. “We know what our Corvettes will do over the long run, and that’s to our advantage. As with any new surface, the track is constantly changing. That’s a challenge, but Corvette Racing steps up to every challenge, and we’ll be ready for the race.”
The American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio, the third round of the 10-race 2006 American Le Mans Series, will start at 12 p.m. EDT on Sunday, May 21. The race will be televised by CBS Sports at 1 p.m.
American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio GT1 Qualifying:
1. Enge/Turner, Aston Martin DBR9, 1:18.857, 103.07 mph
2. Gavin/Beretta, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 1:18.880, 103.04 mph
3. Lamy/Sarrazin, Aston Martin DBR9, 1:19.041, 102.83 mph
4. Fellows/O’Connell, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 1:19.044, 102.83 mph
Release Date: May 20, 2006