Corvette racing qualifies fifth and sixth for Sebring 12-hour race
Close qualifying sets stage for intense GT2 battle in classic endurance contest
SEBRING, Fla., March 19, 2010 – Corvette racing will be in the midst of the GT2 battle in Saturday’s Mobil 1 twelve hours of Sebring after qualifying the twin Compuware Corvettes fifth and sixth today. Jan Magnussen turned a fast lap at 2:01.358 (109.758 mph) to put the No. 3 Corvette C6.R fifth on the GT2 grid in the season-opening race of the American Le Mans Series. Oliver Gavin was a heartbeat behind at 2:01.628 (109.514 mph) to earn the sixth starting spot in the GT2 class for the No. 4 Corvette C6.R.
The Corvette drivers waited patiently in their pit stalls for the first 10 minutes of the 25-minute qualifying session before making four timed laps. Magnussen turned his best time on his final circuit around the historic 3.7-mile, 17-turn road course. Gavin posted his best time on his second lap, and then had to contend with traffic on his last two laps.
“We waited for the traffic to clear, and it worked well for us,” said Magnussen. “I had no traffic at all and a good spot on the track. The qualifying lap was the fastest lap we’ve done this week, but we still have some work to do to have a good race car.
“It’s a bit warmer than it was in the morning practice session – this morning was the best I’ve felt in the car,” Magnussen reported. “The track definitely changes with the temperature and we have to be careful not to chase the conditions. We haven’t made big changes during the week because we had an idea this is what it would be like today. I hope we’re right about tomorrow as well!”
Gavin had to contend with traffic on his last two flying laps: “I was following two cars that kicked up a lot of sand on the track,” said the Briton. “Every time I came through Turn 7 I lost a ton of time, and that was frustrating. We’re in the race at P6, and we have a lot of time in 12 hours to make up those places.
“It’s still a little cool for the tire compound we’re running,” Gavin explained. “The track conditions are a little more stable now, but they are still tough to read. We’re hoping that the track is going to come to us on Saturday – we’ll see.”
The No. 90 BMW of Dirk Mueller set the quickest time in GT2 at 2:00.782 (110.281 mph). The top six cars were within one second of the pole-winning time.
“I think today’s GT2 qualifying was a preview of what we will be seeing all season long,” said Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. “The extremely tight competition is a testament to the excellent level of performance balancing that the ACO and IMSA have achieved. Close racing is really what the fans want to see, and qualifying is indicative of what they are going to see in the race. Any one of the top 10 cars is capable of winning, and that’s what is going to make the 12 Hours of Sebring an exciting event – and that’s why Corvette Racing is proud to be part of it.
“We’ve still got a lot of work to do and we are climbing a steep learning curve,” Fehan noted. “With the limited time we’ve had, the everyone at Corvette Racing is confident that we’ve done everything possible to prepare for this event. You can look for us to improve continuously as the season goes on.”
The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway will start at 10:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, March 20. The 12-hour endurance race will be televised live on SPEED starting at 10 a.m. ET.
Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring GT2 Qualifying:
1. Mueller/Hand/Priaulx, BMW E92 M3, 2:00.782
2. Bergmeister/Long/Lieb, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 2:01.150
3. Sellers/Henzler/Pilet, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 2:01.201
4. Melo/Bruni/Kaffer, Ferrari 430 GT, 2:01.236
5. O’Connell/Magnussen/Garcia, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 2:01.358
6. Gavin/Beretta/Collard, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 2:01.628
7. Sharp/van Overbeek/Farnbacher, Ferrari 430 GT, 2:01.914
8. Auberlen/Milner/Werner, BMW E92 M3, 2:01.922
9. Brown/Cosmo/Barbosa/ Ferrari 430 GT, 2:02.242
10. Robertson/Robertson/Murry, Ford GT, 2:02.622
11. Gentilozzi/Goossens/Dalziel, Jaguar XKRS, 2:04.804
12. Krohn/Jonsson/van de Poele, Ferrari 430 GT, 2:06.680
13. Law/Neiman/Lietz, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 2:07.874
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