Here is Corvette Racing’s excellent preview to Petit Le Mans. As it’s such a momentous occasion, for so many reasons, we thought it would be good to publish it in total.
This weekend’s Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta will see two of modern-day sports car racing’s most prominent names take the checkered flag. The Corvette C6.R competes for the final time in the hands of Corvette Racing for the final event of the American Le Mans Series. One of the most successful models ever fielded by Corvette Racing, the C6.R will make way for the all-new C7.R to debut in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona in the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
Two Compuware-sponsored Corvette C6.Rs are entered for this weekend’s 1,000-mile/10-hour Petit Le Mans. GT championship leaders Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen team with Jordan Taylor in the No. 3 Corvette while Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Richard Westbrook pilot the No. 4 entry that opened the ALMS season with a victory at Sebring.
All said, the C6.R helped deliver six ALMS manufacturer and team championships along with five driving titles since 2001. Garcia and Magnussen can add to that tally this weekend by finishing at least seventh or better in class. Considering those facts, it is no surprise to see Corvette Racing, Chevrolet and its drivers throughout the ALMS’ history records.
There are 55 victories worldwide for the C6.R, which made its racing debut in 2005. Of those, 51 were in the ALMS and four came at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Breaking down the numbers further, the GT1 version of the C6.R scored 42 victories – including a record-setting 39 in the ALMS. At one point, the C6.R won 25 consecutive races in class between 2007 and 2009; it is the longest such streak in ALMS history, regardless of class.
Corvette Racing will end the American Le Mans Series as its most successful entrant. The team’s 82 victories are 27 more than any other competitor. Corvette Racing also has 54 1-2 team finishes in ALMS events and has been the fastest qualifier in 64 races – both series records.
Current Corvette drivers rank near the top of the ALMS’ lists of individual categories. Jan Magnussen enters Petit Le Mans as the co-leader in the ALMS starts with 115. Oliver Gavin isn’t far behind with 110 starts. The Brit leads in career fastest race laps with 29, and ranks third in both career victories (40) and career poles (20).
The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship is a result of a merger between the ALMS and GRAND-AM. The series will feature 12 events throughout North America.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R
“This car has won Petit Le Mans several times. For sure it would be great to end the ALMS by winning again this year at Petit Le Mans with it and win the drivers’ championship. It’s a very special car and has won so many races around the world.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R
“I’ve been involved in the ALMS since the beginning. It’s been a championship that personally gave me a second career in racing. I pretty much thought that when I was done with Formula One and the way it ended that it would be it for me. Coming here and getting into this championship – first with Panoz and then in GT racing – has been a super privilege. It’s not just to race but also to fight for championships with the biggest manufacturer in the ALMS.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R
“It is going to be the last race for quite a few things – whether it’s the last race of the ALMS or the last for the C6.R. I’ve gone all the way through the life of the C6.R – both the GT1 version and the GT spec. It’s been so successful and been a great car to drive and be around. I take a huge amount of pleasure in driving it. I’m sure the team has taken a lot of pleasure in working on it and preparing it for the racetrack each weekend. It has been up against the best car manufacturers in the world and oftentimes putting us on the top step.
“If journalists are looking to write a story on the ALMS, the GT car that been there through all its years is America’s sports car – the Corvette. It will be viewed as one of the dominants cars of the ALMS. Corvette has been there for every single Petit Le Mans. If you say ‘ALMS GT car’, I think the automatic reference is a Corvette. The noise and the velocity yellow scheme are the hallmarks of the ALMS. Other cars have come and gone. Chevrolet and Corvette Racing have always been here. The key has been a group of people who have stuck together and functioned properly as a team. Weekend after weekend, we are able to get that high level of performance from the mechanics, engineers, other crew and drivers. It’s been an amazing run. I have to pinch myself sometimes to realize I’ve been part of it. Sometimes in the sport, you have to look back after a couple of years and realize what you’ve been involved in. You look at the last couple of years here with great competition against different brands of cars and different teams. I’m sure we will look over the last couple years of the ALMS GT class and say there was some mighty and fantastic racing at every single round.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R
“The C6.R has featured pretty prominently throughout the ALMS. It was incredibly successful in the GT1 spec. And I think in GT that we have proven pretty well that the chassis and package – no matter where it was raced – was competitive, fast and won championships and everything there is to win in production-based racing. It’s a testament to the car and to the team’s drive, determination and competitiveness to make it a dominant force.”
DOUG FEHAN, CORVETTE RACING PROGRAM MANAGER
“By any measure, the Corvette C6.R has rightfully earned a place among the greatest sports cars of the modern area. Its on-track successes have proven it to be a more-than-worthy successor to the C5-R. Teamed together, these two proud representations of the Corvette production car have made Corvette Racing the most successful team in ALMS history. In addition, with seven Le Mans victories to its credit, Chevrolet and the Corvette brand are now highly respected around the world. All this was achieved through the hard work and dedication of al the guys on the team and the unwavering support of Chevrolet’s management, marketing and engineering personnel. I could not be more proud of all of them.”
(Saluting the ALMS) “It was the extraordinary passion and vision of Don Panoz that led to his creating the American Le Mans Series. In doing so, he literally set the stage for Corvette’s return to international sports car glory. His ability to bring together the historic 24 Hours of Le Mans in combination with the ALMS created what is now considered to be the most competitive sports car racing in the world. Chevrolet and Corvette will be forever grateful for his efforts – Thank you, Don!”