Olly and Corvette Racing made a fast start yesterday in their GT2 debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Corvette C6.Rs were first and third in the opening four-hour free practice session and then, after a two-hour break, the first of three qualifying sessions for Saturday’s 24 Hours of Le Mans ran from 10 p.m. to midnight on the immense 8.47-mile circuit.
Jan Magnussen qualified the No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R second on the provisional GT2 grid at 4:00.097, and Olly was third at 4:01.012 in the No. 64 Corvette C6.R. Gianmaria Bruni put the Risi Competizione Ferrari 430 GT on the provisional GT2 pole with the fastest lap at 3:59.233.
Oliver settled for third after his qualifying run was stymied by traffic and a red flag. “Every time we got even close to going quickly, it seemed there was a car in the way,” he said. “On my best lap with the first set of tyres it was looking like a good lap until a GT1 car ,that was just cruising through the Ford chicanes, got in my way.
“We put on another set of tyres but I had traffic every lap, and then the red flag flew. You can’t just keep going around trying to set a good time – you’ve got to focus on the programme. It’s frustrating, but we still have tomorrow (Thursday) and hopefully the weather will be OK. I think we’ll get another shot tomorrow.
“I’m very encouraged by the way the car is. The circuit was initially very dirty, but after we bedded some brakes and got going, I felt very comfortable with the car. It’s doing all the things I want it to do. We compared several different tires and have got a good read on the setup.
“The braking is a bit different with the GT2 car – it’s not as rapid as it was with the carbon brakes in the GT1 spec. We’re also carrying a little more weight, which has an effect. On the other hand, the GT2 car is not pitchy or as nervous as the GT1, and that could play into our hands in the race. The P1 cars do come up quickly, so you have to keep an eye on the rearview mirrors.”
The 24 Hours of Le Mans will start at 3:00 p.m (French time) on Saturday, June 12. Flag-to-flag audio coverage will be available on www.radiolemans.com, and Eurosport will be broadcasting the race live in the UK.
24 Hours of Le Mans LM GT2 Provisional Top 10 Qualifying Times:
1. (82) Melo/Bruni/Kaffer, No. 82 Ferrari 430 GTC, 3:59.233
2. (63) O’Connell/Magnussen/Garcia, Corvette C6.R, 4:00.097
3. (64) Gavin/Beretta/Collard, Corvette C6.R, 4:01.012
4. (76) Pilet/Narac/Long, Porsche 997 GT3 RSR, 4:01.755
5. (77) Lieb/Lietz/Henzler, Porsche 997 GTE RSR, 4:02.001
6. (95) Alesi/Fisichella/Vilander, Ferrari 430 GTC, 4:02.492
7. (96) Companc/Russo/Salo, Ferrari 430 GTC, 4:02.615
8. (89) Farnbacher/Simonsen/Keen, Ferrari 430 GTC,4:03.886
9. (83) Krohn/Jonsson/Van de Poele, Ferrari 430 GTC, 4:03.959
10. (78) Muller/Farfus/Alzen, BMW M3 E-92, 4:04.986