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Corvette racing @ Le Mans 24 hr.

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Oct 16, 2008
Corvette Racing Aims for Sixth Le Mans Title in Final GT1 Race

24 Hours of Le Mans to Mark the End of GT1 Era for Corvette Racing

LE MANS, France, June 5, 2009 – Corvette Racing has unfinished business at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The most successful team in American Le Mans Series history has won its class five times in the classic 24-hour French endurance race (2001-02, 2004-06), establishing Corvette as a global performance icon. Now after runner-up finishes in Le Mans in 2007 and 2008, Corvette Racing is focused on winning its sixth Le Mans title at the immense Circuit des 24 Heures on June 13-14.

This year's edition of the world's most prestigious sports car race has special significance for Corvette Racing. The team's Corvette C6.Rs will make their final run in the GT1 category before Corvette Racing begins its transition to a global GT class in 2010 that is chiefly based on current GT2 regulations.

"From Corvette Racing's inception, the 24 Hours of Le Mans has always been our objective," said program manager Doug Fehan. "GM leadership shared that vision, and Le Mans became the cornerstone of our program for two important reasons.

"First, Corvette is the tip of GM's technological spear, so racing production-based Corvettes was the most expedient way to accelerate the transfer of technology from racing to production," Fehan said. "Second, we knew that Corvette was going to become a global brand. If Corvette was going to compete successfully in the marketplace with Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin, and other prestigious marques, then we had to transform the image of Corvette in the eyes of the world. Corvette's performance credentials were already well established in North America, but we had to nurture a new respect for Corvette in the rest of the world. Le Mans provided the arena to accomplish that, and the results have far exceeded our expectations."

Le Mans: The Driver's View
The magic of Le Mans still enthralls even veteran drivers like Corvette Racing's Olivier Beretta, a five-time winner at the Circuit de La Sarthe. "Le Mans is a very special event, and everyone who has been there can understand what I mean," said the Monegasque driver. "It's difficult to put into words, the feeling that you have when you go to Le Mans – the track, the atmosphere, the history, the race itself.

"Driving in the last race of the GT1 Corvette is something very special," Beretta said. "Why? Because these cars have raced since 1999, and they have been very successful. I have been part of the Corvette Racing team since 2004, and had the opportunity to win Le Mans three times with Ollie (Gavin) and Jan (Magnussen), so I really hope to win the last race."

Oliver Gavin, who will be teamed with Beretta and Marcel Fassler in the No. 64 Compuware Corvette C6.R, agreed: "Do we have unfinished business at Le Mans? I definitely think so," said the Briton. "Le Mans had been very kind to me from 2004 to 2006 with three consecutive class victories, but you need to have luck to win there. In the last two years, we've been extremely competitive, driven smartly and had great races, but it seemed the luck just wasn't with us.

"Not only are you battling against the other cars in your class and against all of the other cars in the race, but you are battling against the track itself, the weather conditions, and the clock," Gavin explained. "It's a huge, huge event, and something you can never underestimate. Going back for the last time in GT1, we are very focused on getting that final victory and putting Corvette Racing in the history books as the last GT1 winner of this era."

Corvette Racing's Danish ace Jan Magnussen is also hoping to return to the top step of the podium at Le Mans. "It would be fantastic to finish this program with a win at Le Mans," said Magnussen, who is teamed with Johnny O'Connell and Antonio Garcia in the No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R. "I've been on the podium the last five years – three times as a winner, but the last two in second place. We've had excellent races, haven't made any mistakes, but somebody else was just a little bit faster. I believe this year we will have a really good shot at it."

Driver Roster
Corvette Racing's driver lineup for Le Mans adds Antonio Garcia as the third driver in the No. 63 Corvette C6.R alongside O'Connell and Magnussen. The 29-year-old Spaniard is the hottest driver in international endurance racing, with three major victories in the last year. Garcia was part of the Le Mans-winning GT1 team in 2008, and he shared the overall win in the 2009 Rolex 24 at Daytona. In March, he won the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in his debut with Corvette Racing.

"Antonio is awesome," O'Connell declared. "A third driver must be able to take whatever car he's given and drive it fast, and Antonio showed at Sebring that he can do that. Positive energy, or mojo, or whatever you want to call it, is important in racing. Antonio was in the winning car last year at Le Mans, and he won Daytona and Sebring this year. When a driver is winning, it's really easy to keep winning. I think Antonio is an excellent addition to Corvette Racing."

Marcel Fassler will drive the No. 64 Compuware Corvette C6.R alongside Gavin and Beretta. The Swiss racer won the 24-hour Spa race in 2007, and has honed his racing skills in the European Le Mans Series and FIA GT competition.

"Both of the new Corvette Racing drivers, Marcel and Antonio, are very quick," Beretta said. "Marcel is a great asset; he is fast, successful, very easy to get along with, and he wants exactly the same setup as Ollie and I do. He knows the Corvette C6.R very well, and he raced with us at Sebring. I hope that the three of us will have a good race at Le Mans."

O'Connell's Quest
Johnny O'Connell can make history at Le Mans by becoming the only American to score four wins in the famed race. He notched his first GT win in his Le Mans debut in 1994, and repeated with back-to-back wins in 2001-02 with Corvette Racing. The list of three-time American winners at Le Mans includes Phil Hill, Hurley Haywood, Al Holbert, Luigi Chinetti, and Dick Barbour.

"No American has stood on the top step of the podium four times at Le Mans," said O'Connell, a resident of Flowery Branch, Ga., "Every driver wants to accomplish certain things in his career, and it would be tremendous to get my fourth Le Mans win this year. Corvette Racing has all the tools to do it, and we have a great opportunity."

O'Connell recognizes the difficulty he faces. "Le Mans is truly an intense battle," he said. "Twice we finished second there on the same lap as the winner. You replay the race in your mind a thousand times, asking yourself what could we have done differently, what could we have done better? I definitely think we've learned from those experiences. At the end of the GT1 era, we want Corvette to be in the record book with the last big win at Le Mans."

Rule Revisions
Changes in the Le Mans regulations will have an impact on Corvette Racing's pit strategy and tire management. The new rules allow only two mechanics and one air gun to be used for tire changes; previously four mechanics using two air guns were allowed to change tires simultaneously. No other work may be done during tire changes, and the equipment and used tires must be behind the line at the front of the garage before the car leaves its pits.

"The new rules mean that a four-tire change will take 25 to 30 seconds per stop, versus about 10 seconds last year," said Corvette Racing team manager Gary Pratt. "The new rules essentially dictate that you double-stint the tires, and you'd really like to do triple stints if the conditions allow. Making the wrong tire choice brings a harsh penalty – not only does the car lose time on the track, but then you face another 30-second pit stop to change them. Rain could further complicate tire selection and pit strategy.

"The pit spaces at Le Mans are small, so if there is a safety car period and everyone comes in for tires, getting in and out of the pits could be difficult," Pratt explained. "Even during routine stops, managing when the cars come in is important. For a two-car team like Corvette Racing, ideally the pit stops should be staggered so the cars come in one at a time."

Another significant rule change is the requirement to qualify and race using the same engine. Previously teams were allowed to install fresh powerplants after qualifying.

"There are six hours of practice on Wednesday night followed by four hours of qualifying on Thursday night," Pratt noted. "We'll install our race engines on Thursday, and consequently we plan to run a limited number of laps during qualifying – a few laps for shakedown and to let the drivers get acclimated, followed by qualifying runs. Fortunately Corvette Racing has years of experience at Le Mans and volumes of data, so we should be able to cope with the shortened schedule this year."

Le Mans Timetable
Practice for the world's most prestigious sports car race will take place from 6 p.m. to midnight on June 10 and qualifying from 7 p.m. to midnight on June 11. The 77th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. CET (10 a.m. EDT) on Saturday, June 13 and finish at 3 p.m. CET (10 a.m. EDT) on Sunday, June 14. SPEED will provide live television coverage in the U.S. from 8:30 a.m. to noon ET Saturday and 11 p.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. ET Sunday. Flag-to-flag coverage of the race, qualifying and practice will be available at radiolemans.com.

# # #
Corvette Racing Sets the GT1 Pace in Practice for 24 Hours of Le Mans

Magnussen Runs Fast Time in Wet and Dry Six-Hour Session

LE MANS, France, June 10, 2009 – After months of planning, weeks of preparation, and long hours of anticipation, tonight's six-hour free practice session signaled the start of the buildup to the 77th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. With weather conditions changing frequently throughout the session, Corvette Racing driver Jan Magnussen recorded the quickest time in the GT1 category with a 3:57.876 lap around the 8.47-mile circuit in the No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R. Oliver Gavin notched the second quickest time in the GT1 category at 3:59.586 in the No. 64 Compuware Corvette C6.R.

Despite the adverse conditions, all six Corvette Racing drivers completed their three mandatory laps in darkness after 10 p.m. The No. 63 Corvette C6.R ran a total of 43 laps and the No. 64 Corvette C6.R completed 40 laps. The Corvette Racing crew parked the cars in their garages shortly after 11 p.m., electing not to run the final hour of practice.

“Since it was raining for most of the session, we worked on a wet-weather setup and tire choices, going through our possibilities of intermediates and full wets," Magnussen said. "Though the weather forecast looks good for the rest of the week, there is still a chance of some rain on Sunday, so what we’ve learned today will come in handy then. Other than that it was business as usual, going through the motions of that typical first day at Le Mans. The car handles beautifully and responds well to the changes we made, and we got the understeer dialed out by the end of the session. Of course the times can still be improved in tomorrow’s qualifying session, which is expected to be dry and sunny.”

With the cancellation of the traditional test day two weeks before the 24-hour race, the Corvette Racing team used today's marathon practice session to work through a schedule of bedding brakes and evaluating tires. The session began at 6 p.m. in bright sunlight but with a damp track. Both Magnussen and Gavin made exploratory laps, then waited half an hour for the racing line to dry before going out on slicks. The rain began in earnest at 7:52, and both cars retired briefly to the pit lane before venturing out again on grooved tires. Lap times climbed 20 to 30 seconds as the track surface became saturated.

"A wet track is really not what you want when you come to Le Mans with very little time to get the car tuned in," said Gavin. "We had a small issue with a wheel speed sensor that took some time to fix so we were in the garage when the track conditions were perhaps at their best. Then the weather got worse and worse, and we went through the whole range of tires, from slicks to intermediates to full wets. Even in the rain, the car seems to be very comfortable.

"It's always good to experience as many different conditions as possible, but it certainly would have been better if we could have run through our planned program in the dry to get Marcel (Fassler) the maximum amount of time in the car and focus on our race setup," said the Briton. "But there's no way to control the weather in Le Mans!"

Fassler completed his first laps in the No. 64 Corvette C6.R since his debut with Corvette Racing at the Sebring 12-hour race in March.

"The conditions were difficult, and I've never driven a GT1 car at Le Mans on wet tires, so it was a new experience for me," Fassler said. "I knew from last year that the Corvette was a very good car under wet conditions, so I was quite comfortable.

"I completed my three required laps in darkness, so I am qualified now!" the Swiss driver continued. "For a long time, you ask yourself how it will be at Le Mans, and now after this long wait and doing some laps, I am ready to race."

Johnny O'Connell is competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the 15th time. The driver of the No. 63 Corvette C6.R can become the first American driver to score four wins in the classic endurance contest.

“It was a good day today, even with the ever-changing conditions," O'Connell said. "We had some understeer in certain corners, but apart from that there were no dramas. Just another day at the office, everybody getting to grips with the track and getting their mandatory nighttime laps in. We stopped an hour before the end of the session, because we had done everything we had set out to do.”

Antonio Garcia turned his first laps in the No. 63 Corvette C6.R since he won the Sebring 12-hour race in his Corvette Racing debut with teammates Magnussen and O'Connell.

“Today I discovered the Corvette in the rain on this track, learning its limits," Garcia said. "In the Dunlop chicane I briefly locked up under braking and spun, but rather than try something desperate to catch it, I decided to let the car slide across the gravel trap. There was no harm done and after a quick cleanup I could continue my mandatory nighttime laps. I probably braked a little too late or a bit too hard, which is what you naturally do on this part of the track, where the gravel traps and run-offs are much wider than on the public road section.”

Qualifying for the world's most prestigious sports car race will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. to midnight on Thursday, June 11. The 77th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. CET (9 a.m. EDT) on Saturday, June 13 and finish at 3 p.m. CET (9 a.m. EDT) on Sunday, June 14. SPEED will provide live television coverage in the U.S. from 8:30 a.m. to noon ET and 4:30 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, and midnight to 10 a.m. ET Sunday. Flag-to-flag coverage of the race will be available at radiolemans.com.

24 Hours of Le Mans LM GT1 Practice Times:
Pos./Car No./Drivers/Car/Time
1. (63) O'Connell/Magnussen/Garcia, Corvette C6.R, 3:57.876
2. (64) Gavin/Beretta/Fassler, Corvette C6.R, 3:59.586
3. (66) Lichtner-Hoyer/Gruber/Muller, Aston Martin DBR9, 4:06.606
4. (72) Alphand/Goueslard/Gregoire, Corvette C6.R, 4:38.342
5. (73) Jousse/Maassen/Clairay, Corvette C6.R, 4:42.802
6. (68) Apicella/Yogo/Yamagishi, Lamborghini Murcielago, no time

I bet you wish you could have made it to a Le Mans for the GT1. That would have been the ultimate. Good luck to Corvette moving up to the GT2!!
Yes, we would love to be there to watch the last Corvette GT1 race. Kathy already has her firesuit so she could have hung out in the pits with the crew.

The first GT2 race will be @ Mid-Ohio in August,it should be a great race.

Bruce :)
A few pictures from Le Mans practice day #1


Update from Johnny O'Connell #63 C6R

Le Mans 2009
Added 06/11/09
Talk about lousy weather. There was a total of 6 hours of track time last night, and only for about the first 35 minutes was the track actually dry. It would’ve been nice to say that we learned a lot, but honestly other than trying out some different rain tires, not a whole lot was accomplished.
Le Mans is an odd place in that you do a whole bunch of waiting around. Kind of like Indy in that respect. Tonight is important, and we’re really going to have to attack every second we are running. Not only getting the car tuned , but also getting all of us drivers in the zone. Having a speedy car is important, and I know like always the Corvette Racing guys will give us one.
In other Le Mans news, it does look like the battle between Audi and Peugeot is going to be awesome. They are each time they are out taking big chances, and I’m sure those of you that watch the race on TV will be seeing a lot of that race. Hopefully our Corvettes will get decent coverage as well… but I think the TV is done my the French… so expect to see a lot on the French teams and French drivers.
I’ll put more up tomorrow and let you know how tonight goes. This being the last time Corvette Racing is here with the GT 1 car means we have work to do…. There’s only one appropriate way to finish the story….. And we all know that that is….

Corvette Racing Qualifies One-Two in GT1 for 24 Hours of Le Mans

Magnussen Wins Second Straight GT1 Pole for Classic 24-Hour Race

LE MANS, France, June 11, 2009 – With days of persistent rain only a memory, qualifying for the 24 Hours of Le Mans was completed tonight in near-perfect conditions. With a dry track and cool evening air, Jan Magnussen won the pole in the GT1 category for the second straight year with a time of 3:54.230 in the No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R. Olivier Beretta was a heartbeat behind at 3:54.702 in the No. 64 Compuware Corvette C6.R to give the Corvette Racing team a one-two qualifying sweep in the final race for the factory GT1 Corvettes.

“So far so good!" said Magnussen. "The Corvette C6.R goes really well and responds well to changes. I set my qualifying time on soft tires with a couple of laps on them already, which shows how good the car is. In the second part of the qualifying session Antonio (Garcia) did a long run to see how the tires would behave over a distance. With the new rules on tire changes, we'll have to double-stint them to avoid losing too much time in the pits. Tonight we learned how hard we can push them."

The Corvette Racing team devoted the majority of the first two-hour session to tuning the chassis/aero package and evaluating the Michelin tires under race conditions. Then in the closing minutes of the session, Beretta and Magnussen traded fast times. The Dane finally claimed his second Le Mans GT1 pole with two minutes to go.

"Winning the GT1 pole at Le Mans is fitting after 10 years of intense competition and a great way to begin the ending of Corvette's reign in the GT1 category at Le Mans," said Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. "Tonight's performance certainly reflects the advances in technology that General Motors has developed through the Corvette Racing program."

Following a 35-minute break, the second two-hour qualifying session ran from 10 p.m. to midnight. While the first session had been routine, the second proved eventful. Olivier Beretta had a quick spin in the No. 64 Corvette C6.R in the second chicane on the Mulsanne Straight, while Antonio Garcia had to contend with a punctured tire in the No. 63 Corvette C6.R.

"The car was very good, faster than on my best lap, and I just lost it in the second chicane," Beretta reported. "It had nothing to do with the car, just the driver! The engineers worked very well, and gave us a very good car. I'm happy with how the test went tonight because we didn't have a lot of time. We used the hours we had very effectively, and I'm feeling confident for the race."

“I did a long run in the second half of the qualifying session to see how the tires would behave," Garcia said. "Unfortunately I had a slow puncture on the fifth or sixth lap, but the team spotted it on the telemetry and talked me through it, so I got to the pits without blowing the tire. In the first half of the stint it was difficult to brake into the corners, but after that the tires got better and the car was easier to drive, even when low on fuel. The traffic is very difficult though – a lot of prototypes are quite slow and the drivers are not very consistent in their driving.”

Johnny O'Connell, who will share the No. 63 with Magnussen and Garcia, was upbeat after the session. “I’m surprised how well everything is going, considering we managed very little in terms of dry-weather setup yesterday," the Georgian said. "All of us are rather optimistic for the race and the main issue will be how the LMP race cars will race you, how impatient they will be to get by you.”

Four-time Le Mans winner Oliver Gavin agreed: "It's been a very good day, and I think we made some significant progress at the end of the session," said the Briton. "It was good that Marcel (Fassler) got some extended time in the car. I drove the No. 64 Corvette at the end, and I was very happy with it. Olivier did an excellent job with the tire evaluation and the car setup – it was really his day today. We just missed out on the fastest GT1 qualifying time, but congratulations to Jan for that. Now we're focused on our job on Saturday and Sunday, and that's getting another Le Mans victory for Corvette Racing. This is one of the best race cars I've ever had here, so I'm very content."

After limited time in yesterday's rain-plagued practice session, Swiss driver Marcel Fassler was able to do an extended stint in the No. 64 Corvette C6.R.

"I was looking for my braking points and learning how to handle the traffic," Fassler said. "By the end of the stint I was feeling quite comfortable. My goal for the race is to be consistently fast, and to make no mistakes."

The 77th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. CET (9 a.m. EDT) on Saturday, June 13 and finish at 3 p.m. CET (9 a.m. EDT) on Sunday, June 14. SPEED will provide live television coverage in the U.S. from 8:30 a.m. to noon ET and 4:30 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, and midnight to 10 a.m. ET Sunday. Flag-to-flag coverage of the race can be heard on SIRIUS channel 126, XM channel 243, and radiolemans.com.

24 Hours of Le Mans LM GT1 Qualifying Times:
Pos./Car No./Drivers/Car/Time
1. (63) O'Connell/Magnussen/Garcia, Corvette C6.R, 3:54.230
2. (64) Gavin/Beretta/Fassler, Corvette C6.R, 3:54.702
3. (66) Lichtner-Hoyer/Gruber/Muller, Aston Martin DBR9, 3:56.126
4. (72) Alphand/Goueslard/Gregoire, Corvette C6.R, 3:57.170
5. (73) Jousse/Maassen/Clairay, Corvette C6.R, 3:57.564
6. (68) Apicella/Yogo/Yamagishi, Lamborghini Murcielago, 4:21.812


Looks like Corvettes will be well represented--four of the top five spots. Hope the weather holds for their final GT1 race and Corvette finishes 1-2-3-4!!!!!
Great to see those results!!

We all wish them well!!!

Hmmm, no Fords, hmmmmm. . .:lol::lol:

Floyd (BB)
Polar opposite futures for Corvette squads
Date 2009-06-12 (Le Mans, France)[FONT=verdana,arial]By Tony DiZinno - Motorsport.com</I>
[FONT=verdana,arial,helvetica]There are only six cars entered in what could be the swansong for the GT1 class at the Le Mans 24 Hours this year. Four of them are Chevy Corvette C6.Rs; this year there will be no factory competition from the Prodrive Aston Martin DBR9s but instead one privateer Aston from Austria and a Japanese Lamborghini Murcielago. [/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]#63 Corvette Racing Corvette C6.R: Johnny O'Connell, Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia, #64 Corvette Racing Corvette C6.R: Olivier Beretta, Oliver Gavin, Marcel Fässler. Photo by Eric Gilbert.[/FONT]


Corvette Racing looks to return to the top step of the podium after the Prodrive Astons have won here the last two years.
The two teams fielding the C6.Rs could not be headed in more separate directions. Corvette Racing, run and prepared by Pratt & Miller in the USA, is signing off its GT1 program after an incredibly successful ten-year run, both in the American Le Mans Series and at the 24H.
In contrast, Luc Alphand Adventures, the customer team that runs older C6.Rs, is unsure of its future in the sport without the factory Corvettes in the same category from the rest of 2009 forward.
Corvette Racing has won five times at Le Mans and searches for its sixth GT1 title in its final run of the rumbling, seven liter small-block V8.
"It is one of the soundtracks of Le Mans, this rumbling V8 around Le Mans," Oliver "Olly" Gavin recalled with emphasis. "Although the new GT2 is similar, it's sad that this distinct sound is going away."
Gavin was part of the winning team for the #64 Corvette's last class triumph in 2006, driving with Olivier Beretta and Jan Magnussen. Magnussen has split to the team's lead car, the #63, the last few seasons, driving this weekend with Johnny O'Connell and Antonio Garcia.
Details were vague on the future of the GT2 program, Corvette looking to keep the cards close to the vest when it comes to their future plans. But that's not to say the drivers weren't sounding bullish.
"Us going to GT2 is like Arnold Schwarzenegger and all the other body builders getting off steroids and going natural," O'Connell quipped. "We're still looking pretty buff, but coming clean. I'd just say to be worried if you're in a Porsche or a Ferrari."
Rick Voegelin of Chevrolet Racing Communications said the team is right on course to debut two GT2s at Mid-Ohio in ALMS later this year. He explained what might happen to the C6.Rs, and whether they might be retired overall as a result of the new ACO (AutomobileClubde l'Ouest) regulations.
"The GT1 C6.Rs belong to GM, and eventually will be sold to the highest bidders," Voegelin said. "In the past, many of the team's C5-Rs and C6.Rs have been purchased by European race teams, like Luc Alphand, SRT, Phoenix Carsport, DKR, etc."
"However, with the GT rule changes that will take effect in 2010, there won't be a place to race the current cars in FIA GT and other series with similar rules, so it's likely they will be purchased by collectors," he added.
With Aston out of the way, one might expect the road to victory to be easier for the Pratt & Miller Corvettes in this case. Not so, O'Connell warned.
[FONT=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]Johnny O'Connell and Oliver Gavin. Photo by Tony DiZinno.[/FONT]

"It's funny because when you become a dynasty, like say the New York Yankees or the Green Bay Packers, when you don't win, the letdown is great," O'Connell said. "Every single obstacle remains for us. There are still some strong teams with strong lineups here we have to beat."
Gavin, who drives this weekend with Beretta and Marcel Fassler, described the disappointment of not having the battle with the factory DBR9s as in years past.
"We are going to miss Prodrive Aston Martin this year," Gavin said. "The feeling was mutual. It is amazing, each time to be no more than a lap back, ever, after 24 hours of racing. We still have got to be there at the end of 24 hours. You have to race the race, and get through to the finish."
The Alphand squad hopes to do likewise and has a very good shot at a podium finish, if not an overall class triumph.
Luc Alphand, the charismatic leader of one of France's most popular racing squads and Le Mans Series regulars, said although discussions are occurring between the team and GM regarding the future of the C6.R program, nothing substantive has been decided.
"We just don't know what will happen," Alphand said. "We had a good meeting with Pratt & Miller, about the new GT2, or perhaps the old GT1. Maybe the FIA or people like that will make a suggestion, but it is hard for everyone to buy new cars."
Alphand is lead driver of the #72 C6.R, a part-time rally driver (he has raced in the Dakar Rally) and a former World Cup French alpine skier. He suggested the ACO come up with a set of rules to allow for teams that don't have the necessary budget for development on the car to allow for an equivalency formula for the C6.Rs to run in a single GT class from 2010 forward.
"Maybe it is possible to use the old GT1s with an adaption to GT2, but we don't know what happens yet in the future," Alphand said. "Even GM and Pratt & Miller, nobody knows what will be the future."
[FONT=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]Xavier Maassen and Yann Clairay. Photo by Tony DiZinno.[/FONT]


Dutch driver Xavier Maassen, of no relation to Porsche factory driver Sascha Maassen, noted that a potential new GT1 world championship out of the FIA GT ranks could be a place for Alphand to run the C6.Rs if in fact the team acquires the Corvette Racing fleet of cars.
Xavier Maassen is paired with fellow Le Mans rookies Julien Jousse and Yann Clairay in Alphand's second car, #73. Alphand will drive with Patrice Goueslard and Stephan Gregoire in the lead #72.
"It's going to be interesting what happens over the winter, because GT2 will be in LMS, ALMS, and the new category," Maassen said. "There is a prospect of an interesting new GT1 world championship, in four or five continents. It's quite promising and they might even use the old GT1 'Vettes for that, but still too early to see."
"The team is obviously looking at what to do next; with these cars, it is more or less finished for the moment," he added. "You have to wonder what Pratt & Miller want to do with these cars at the moment."
It is one of the distinctive parts of Le Mans, O'Connell summed up, as fans from all across the world flock to La Sarthe to witness and listen to the Corvettes.
"Internationally, our representation leaves a very good taste in everyone's mouth," O'Connell said. "There are so many unbelievable European Corvette fans, whether its thousands from Britain for Olly or psychotic people from Denmark for Jan. This truly shows the racing spirit of Corvette."
The factory Corvettes roll off first and second in class for tomorrow's 24 Hours of Le Mans, commencing at 3:00 p.m. local time.


Corvette Racing 1-2 in GT1 at Midpoint of 24 Hours of Le Mans

Corvette C6.Rs Two Minutes Apart after 12 Hours

LE MANS, France, June 14, 2009 – After 12 hours of racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Corvette Racing's Corvette C6.Rs were running like clockwork, separated by 1 minute and 59 seconds. At 3 a.m., the No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R of Jan Magnussen, Johnny O'Connell and Antonio Garcia maintained its lead in the GT1 class over the No. 64 Compuware Corvette C6.R driven by Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Marcel Fassler. The class-leading Corvette had completed 177 laps at the halfway point of the race.

As darkness fell on the Circuit de La Sarthe, the rhythm of the race settled into a quiet routine for Corvette Racing, punctuated by 14 pit stops by each of the cars. At the 8:19 mark, the No. 64 Corvette had a tire puncture. Beretta nursed the car to the pits safely, and went on to complete three stints. As a result of Beretta's triple, the two Corvettes are now out of sequence on driver changes.

"Unfortunately I had a puncture and had to really slow down because I didn't want the tire to fail," Beretta said. "I took care of the car, and said to myself, 'Okay, that's the third and last time we've had bad luck in this race.' I didn’t give up, and kept pushing. I didn't want to give the car to my teammate with old tires, so I decided to run one more stint. Maybe that will pay off at the end because we will have one less driver change."

Nightfall brought cool temperatures to Le Mans. "We’ve been working through the transition from 110-degree to 65-degree track temperatures over the last few hours, with pressure adjustments for each new tire set and a tire compound change," said Corvette Racing engineering director Doug Louth. "The car engineers have been spot-on so far keeping up with the track and conditions. The double-stint performance is the best we’ve ever had, and we are exploiting the tire development done by Michelin over the last few years."

Corvettes are running 1-2-3 in the GT1 class, with the No. 73 Corvette C6.R of Luc Alphand Aventures trailing the leading Corvette by four laps. Luc Alphand's No. 72 Corvette retired in the eighth hour after a shunt in Tertre Rouge, having completed 99 laps.

24 Hours of Le Mans GT1 Standings at 12 Hours:
Pos./Car No./Drivers/Car/Laps
1. (63) O'Connell/Magnussen/Garcia, Corvette C6.R, 177
2. (64) Gavin/Beretta/Fassler, Corvette C6.R, 176
3. (73) Jousse/Maassen/Clairay, Corvette C6.R, 173
4. (66) Lichtner-Hoyer/Gruber/Muller, Aston Martin DBR9, 138
5. (72) Alphand/Goueslard/Gregoire, Corvette C6.R, 99 (retired)
6. (68) Apicella/Yogo/Yamagishi, Lamborghini Murcielago, 1 (retired)


Jan Magnussen, No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R: "The traffic at night is worse than in previous years. The car is good, but on the medium compound tires it moves around quite a bit. Other than that, no problems to report."

Johnny O’Connell, No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R: "This double stint was a bit better. The car’s certainly nicer to drive. I was on hard tires, but we should go for mediums for my 3:30 a.m. stint."

Antonio Garcia, No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R: “The second stint was much better. The tires were far better and the car was much nicer to drive. The traffic was still difficult at times, but overall it was a much nicer stint, even if it was after midnight."

Oliver Gavin, No. 64 Compuware Corvette C6.R: "It's frustrating, it seems we've got a car now that has a lot of understeer. You can do one good stint on the tires, but having to do two stints, we're compromised in the second stint. Something seems to be vibrating in the front of the car, perhaps the floor under the engine, so the guys are looking at what the next step might be to repair that or adjust around it. It's frustrating that we lost more than two minutes again with a safety car period not going our way. But this race is all about jumping over hurdles and going on to the next thing."

Marcel Fassler, No. 64 Compuware Corvette C6.R: "The night stint was a little more difficult than I expected. Normally I do quite well in the night, but with all of the P1 and P2 cars I had a lot of traffic and was out of my rhythm a little bit. The car is running very well, and my lap times were always below four minutes, so everything is okay."

Note: High-resolution images can be downloaded from the 2009 Corvette Racing folder on the GM Racing media website:
A password is not required to download GM Racing images for editorial use.
All Chevy Racing press releases and transcripts are available online at:
(note: a little after 3:00 am the #63 had a problem with the fuel rig and lost time in the pits. The #64 was able to catch up and then pass the #63. Jan Magnussen has become sick and there is word that he will not be able to drive anymore)


Corvette Racing Continues GT1 Battle in Le Mans

Flawless Runs Keep Corvettes Close at 18-Hour Mark

LE MANS, France, June 14, 2009 – The battle in GT1 between Corvette Racing's two Corvette C6.Rs has been waged for 18 straight hours in Le Mans. With less than six hours of racing remaining, the margin between the Corvettes closed to 4.87 seconds after both cars had completed their pit stops around the 18-hour mark. Since sunrise, the gap between the leading No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R of Magnussen, O'Connell, and Garcia and the pursuing No. 64 Compuware Corvette C6.R of Gavin, Beretta and Fassler scarcely exceeded two minutes except during pit stop exchanges. The Corvettes were 14th and 15th overall respectively in the 55-car field.

Both Corvettes came through the long hours of darkness without incident. Pit stops for fuel, tire, and driver changes were routine; drivers and tires both ran double stints. Although rain was predicted, the sky above the Circuit des 24 Heures had only a light overcast at dawn. In the cool morning air, Oliver Gavin ran the quickest lap of the race in GT1 with a 3:53.416 time in the No. 64 Corvette C6.R after 17 hours of racing.

An extended caution period that began in the 13th hour again affected the contest between the two Corvettes. The No. 63 Corvette gained track position on its sister car when they were split by the two safety cars.

The No. 73 Corvette C6.R of Luc Alphand Aventures was in position for a podium finish, running third with 254 laps completed.

24 Hours of Le Mans GT1 Standings at 18 Hours:
Pos./Car No./Drivers/Car/Laps
1. (63) O'Connell/Magnussen/Garcia, Corvette C6.R, 259
2. (64) Gavin/Beretta/Fassler, Corvette C6.R, 259
3. (73) Jousse/Maassen/Clairay, Corvette C6.R, 254
4. (66) Lichtner-Hoyer/Gruber/Muller, Aston Martin DBR9, 215
5. (72) Alphand/Goueslard/Gregoire, Corvette C6.R, 99 (retired)
6. (68) Apicella/Yogo/Yamagishi, Lamborghini Murcielago, 1 (retired)


Johnny O’Connell, No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R: "The tires are getting better and better, and so is the car. It’s still hard work out there. I double-stinted again, but I have some serious aches in my leg and feet."

Oliver Gavin, No. 64 Compuware Corvette C6.R: "We made an adjustment and that certainly helped the car. We made up a little time on the No. 63 Corvette, but then the safety car came out and we ended up losing all of the time that we'd made up. So it seems that every few hours we get reset back to two minutes behind the other car and then we have to try to chase them down again.

"When I went out again, it was in the 'happy hour' when the circuit is at its best. It's cool, the circuit is rubbered up, and you can see because it's light. The car was really good, with just some small balance problems in a few areas. We had the medium tires on, and that compound worked really well. I could push hard, and knew that I was catching the No. 63 Corvette. When I refueled and went back out, a lap later they came out right in front of me. I thought finally something was working out for us and we're managing to make some real headway. We have a fast car, and deserve to get a result today. We’ll see what happens in the next few hours."

Marcel Fassler, No. 64 Compuware Corvette C6.R: "The car was very good and I could run consistently. There were no problems, and we gained a little on the No. 63 Corvette. I hope there won't be any more safety cars!"

Note: High-resolution images can be downloaded from the 2009 Corvette Racing folder on the GM Racing media website:
A password is not required to download GM Racing images for editorial use.
All Chevy Racing press releases and transcripts are available online at:

Corvette Racing Wins GT1 in 24 Hours of Le Mans

Chevrolet Team Scores Sixth Victory in Legendary Endurance Race

LE MANS, France, June 14, 2009 – Corvette Racing brought down the curtain on the GT1 era with a victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Johnny O'Connell, Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia scored Corvette Racing's sixth class victory in the world's biggest sports car race with the No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R. The winning Corvette completed 342 laps, racing to a six-lap margin of victory over the No. 73 Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette C6.R of Yann Clairay, Julien Jousse and Xavier Maassen. The No. 64 Compuware Corvette C6.R of Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta, and Marcel Fassler retired from the lead in the 22nd hour with an apparent gearbox problem.

Today's win was Corvette Racing's 16th podium finish at Le Mans since 2000. It was the fourth Le Mans class win for O'Connell and Magnussen, and the second consecutive Le Mans GT1 victory for Garcia. O'Connell became the first American driver to win four class titles in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

"When you look at the Americans who have won here multiple times, they're all important figures in motorsports history," O'Connell said. "To achieve my fourth win with Corvette Racing, driving a sports car that's an American icon, it's hard to put that into words. There is nothing more difficult and more rewarding than winning here, and sharing it with two awesome drivers like Jan and Antonio."

The two Corvettes waged a fierce battle throughout 22 of the 24 hours, never separated by more than one lap. The pole-winning No. 63 Corvette C6.R led from the start for 18 hours and 52 minutes. Beretta then put the No. 64 Corvette C6.R in front, passing Garcia on a restart following a safety car period. Garcia regained the lead at 19:23 when Beretta pitted; the No. 64 was back at the front following a pit stop for O'Connell to replace Garcia. The 21st hour saw an intense duel between O'Connell and Fassler with the cars dicing around the entire 8.47-mile circuit.

"It was a great race, but a shame that the No. 64 Corvette was not there at the finish," said Garcia. "We raced really, really hard for 22 hours. We were racing fair, and we were all going 100 percent. The full stint I did fighting with Olly after the safety car came in was great."

At 21:36, Fassler radioed the crew that he was experiencing shifting problems. The gearbox problem intensified, and the car was stranded near the pit lane entrance when it lost drive to the rear wheels. In contrast, the No. 63 Corvette had a trouble-free run throughout the grueling 24-hour race, making 32 pit stops and never going into the garage for repairs. O'Connell and Garcia drove the closing stints in the race when Magnussen became ill.

"It was a good fight," said Fassler. "Sure it was difficult to race your teammate hard, but when we went out of the chicane he was really fair and he left me space. I enjoyed leading the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and I came very close to reaching one of the goals I want to achieve in my life. I was only two hours away, but suddenly I smelled some gearbox oil. Then something broke quickly before I could get back to the pits. I was very disappointed for the whole team and my teammates. All of them did a really good job. There were no mistakes, and they deserved a victory as well. In the end, it's important for Corvette Racing that they have a Le Mans win with the No. 63 Corvette, and I have to congratulate them because it was a tough fight."

This race marked the end of the GT1 era for Corvette Racing that began in 1999. Since then, Corvette Racing has become America's premier production sports car team, winning 77 races and eight consecutive American Le Mans Series championships.

"When you look at all aspects of the close of the GT1 category as we know it today, it is an unequivocal testament to the commitment of a corporation that recognizes the value of motorsports from a marketing and technological perspective," said Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. "It's also representative of all the people who have been here since the beginning, who dedicated themselves to taking Corvette forward. At the end of the day, today's victory is emblematic of what American teamwork and American spirit is about."

Corvette Racing will make the move to the GT2 category in its next event, the Acura Sports Car Challenge at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, on August 6-8. The two-hour, 45-minute race is scheduled to start at 2:10 p.m. ET on Saturday, August 8. The race will be televised same-day tape-delayed on NBC at 4 p.m. ET.

24 Hours of Le Mans GT1 Results:
Pos./Car No./Drivers/Car/Laps
1. (63) O'Connell/Magnussen/Garcia, Corvette C6.R, 342
2. (73) Jousse/Maassen/Clairay, Corvette C6.R, 336
3. (66) Lichtner-Hoyer/Gruber/Muller, Aston Martin DBR9, 294

Not classified:
(64) Gavin/Beretta/Fassler, Corvette C6.R, 311 (retired)
(72) Alphand/Goueslard/Gregoire, Corvette C6.R, 99 (retired)
(68) Apicella/Yogo/Yamagishi, Lamborghini Murcielago, 1 (retired)


Jan Magnussen, No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R: "Four Le Mans wins feels absolutely great. My role in this one was for only half the race. I really have to thank Johnny and Antonio for working so hard during the last half of the race. Also a special mention to my crew chief Dan Binks. Standing on the victory podium at Le Mans is just amazing, and I hope that we can carry on."

Johnny O’Connell, No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R: "Winning at Le Mans is hard because it's all about pushing as hard as you can while being perfect with your technique and taking care of the car. I think the three of us did that, even when we were wiped out and tired. The guys in the No. 64 Corvette might have had a little more mid-corner grip than us, so we had to push every minute. When you do that, sometimes you make mistakes, but the No. 63 finished the race as pretty as it started it.

Antonio Garcia, No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R: "I'll tell you tomorrow when I wake up what it means to win Le Mans twice. This is my third 24-hour race win a row – I won Le Mans last year and Daytona 24 this year. I cannot ask for anything else. Corvette Racing gave me a car and a crew that worked perfectly, and I really appreciate it. During the night and this morning, I was up to my best. That's what a proper team needs to be – everyone giving 100 percent."

Oliver Gavin, No. 64 Compuware Corvette C6.R: "It didn't seem to matter what we did today, it was something just ready to trip us up, whether it was punctures or safety cars or this gearbox problem. I think that Olivier, Marcel and myself had driven well throughout the race, and it was going to be extremely close at the finish. It was going to come down two cars racing at the end of the race, which is quite unusual here at Le Mans. I really thought we had a great shot at it today, after we kept clawing back and finally pulled away, but then the final card played by Lady Luck was all bad luck. It's desperately disappointing."

Olivier Beretta, No. 64 Compuware Corvette C6.R: "The car was good, then I had a puncture and my car was starting to be difficult, so they called me in and changed the tire. On the restart, I made the pass on the No. 63 Corvette before the Ford chicane. There was a lot of confusion and I just put the throttle flat on the floor.

"It seemed like we were racing against the pace car all day. We'd lose two minutes, catch back up, and then lose two minutes again. The team did a very good job, we never gave up, and what happened today is just part of racing. We are professionals and have to accept it – but to be honest, you have to be disappointed when you push hard and don't win."

Doug Louth, Corvette Racing Engineering Director: "It was easy to stay awake this morning because there was a lot happening. It couldn't have been any closer between the two Corvettes – if they had both run to the finish, it would have come down to the wire. There were a lot of possible scenarios with pit stops and tires. Unfortunately that didn't happen, but Corvette C6.Rs finished first and second."

Dan Binks, Crew Chief, Corvette C6.R No. 63: "Winning Le Mans is so unbelievable that I can't even talk about it. All of the people here worked their butts off, and we're just the guys who show up at the track. There are dozens of guys back in the shop working on this stuff."



Note: High-resolution images can be downloaded from the 2009 Corvette Racing folder on the GM Racing media website:
A password is not required to download GM Racing images for editorial use.
All Chevy Racing press releases and transcripts are available online at:

This is a real cool picture. The #63 C6R was brought in with about 20 min. left in the race (it had a sizable lead over the 2nd place Corvette) and was given one last wash and wax by all the members of Corvette Racing . Johnny O'Connell then got back in it and finished the last few laps and took the final GT1 win for Corvette. What a great race car! I believe our friend Ron is the crew member in the helmet with his back to camera wiping down the nose.

Nice Pictures Photo Girl. Thanks

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