Back in the USA: Corvette Racing Readies for Lime Rock
LAKEVILLE, Conn. (July 2, 2013)– Two weeks after both its Compuware Corvette C6.R race cars completed the Le Mans 24 Hours, Corvette Racing returns stateside to continue defense of its GT driver, team and manufacturer championships in the American Le Mans Series. Next up is scenic Lime Rock Park and the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix on Saturday, July 6.
The fourth ALMS round of the year will air live starting at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN2 with simultaneous live streaming on ESPN3 beginning with a 2:45 p.m., pre-race show. It’s an event Corvette Racing has won four times but none since 2008.
At 1.474 miles with seven turns, Lime Rock Park is the shortest track on the ALMS calendar but offers a surprisingly quick lap with average speeds in qualifying nearing 105 mph. The compact nature of the venue coupled with the two-hour, 45-minute race length means constant overtaking and frequent car-to-car contact.
Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen return to ALMS competition as the most recent winners in the GT class at Laguna Seca in May. The pairing– fourth in GTE Pro at Le Mans with Jordan Taylor– drive the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R.
Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner share the No. 4 Compuware Corvette. The defending ALMS GT champions– seventh with Richard Westbrook at Le Mans– stand second in this year’s drivers’ standings and are three points out of first. Magnussen and Garcia are fifth but just 12 points from the lead. The Lime Rock round pays 20 points to the race-winners, 16 for second and 13 for third.
Corvette Racing leads the team standings, as does Chevrolet the manufacturers’ race. Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner are second in the drivers standings just 3 points behind Dirk Muller.
Here are quotes from the team regaring the return to racing in the ALMS at Lime Rock:
DOUG FEHAN ? CORVETTE RACING PROGRAM MANAGER
“Le Mans was as challenging as ever. We battled the weather as well as the competition and I can tell you we are glad to get back to racing in the ALMS,”? said Doug Fehan, Corvette Racing Program Manager. “The crowd is always great at Lime Rock, and the racing is as tough as anywhere else we compete the rest of the season. At just 1.5 miles in length, Lime Rock presents some unique challenges. You can’t make a green flag pit stop without losing a lap, so your strategy there will most likely determine your level of success. Our guys thrive on that pressure and are ready to go racing again.?
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R
“Because it is such a short track, everything has to run really, really smooth. It is easy to lose time and get in a position that conflicts with your strategy. You must run the whole race full-on and 100 percent. Knowing we ran a perfect race at Laguna – and I have to say we almost ran a perfect race at Le Mans – we need a repeat to be successful at Lime Rock. Our crew is running at its best and is pumped in the job they have done. We have to be consistent and not make any mistakes. That is what it takes every race to win in the GT class.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R
“I enjoy driving at Lime Rock. It’s a very short lap and the penalty for making a mistake can be quite big. Lime Rock is a fun track with interesting corners and is very, very old-school. In the past we have done quite well there but it has been awhile since we have won a race there but maybe that means we are due. It will be a case of us trying to have another race like Laguna Seca where we were almost perfect. With the competition being as equal and difficult as it has been in the first three ALMS races, it will take a perfect race with perfect pit stops and a good-handling race car. We know we have that and need to execute on race day.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R
“At Le Mans, you have 55 cars on a long track. At Lime Rock, you feel like you have 200 cars because there is no place for you to run off and hide. You can’t get a nice little piece of tarmac to run around by yourself for two hours and 45 minutes. It’s one of those places where you can never let your guard down even for a millisecond. You’re either on top of someone else or someone is coming to overtake you. You have to have eyes in the back of your head to deal with the traffic situation. The likes of someone like Brian (Hoye, No. 4 crew chief) spotting for us it critical too. There are people coming from every which way, not to mention incidents that may be developing in front.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R
“Le Mans wasn’t a great race for us. It was frustrating on many levels. But coming back to the U.S., I think we’ll be on par and pace with our competitors. Once we get back going again at Lime Rock, we will be right in the thick of things again. Our focus turns back to our duties here in the ALMS and putting Le Mans behind us. Lime Rock is tough both physically and mentally. There are no breaks; you’re always working. I’ve had tough races there where I’ve driven two hours in the car with high heat humidity and had to work hard to survive there. It’s one of those races that you know what to expect– hot, humid and tough.”
The American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix takes place at Lime Rock Part on Saturday, July 6th. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN2 starting at 3pm.
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