Corvette Racing took the front row of the GT2 grid for this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans with Olly claiming pole position – his first in the GT2 C6.R – after he improved on his Wednesday qualifying time by one and a half seconds. The Risi Competizione Ferrari, which had been on the provisional GT2 pole, was subsequently disqualified for a technical infraction, promoting the Ollies and Manu Collard to the number one spot.
Team mate Jan Magnussen also posted a quicker lap in the sister #63 car to promote him to second in the GT2 category. The two Corvettes and the No. 95 AF Corse Ferrari were the only GT2 cars to qualify under four minutes on the 8.47-mile circuit.
“I’m delighted to have my first GT2 pole at Le Mans,” said Olly. “It’s always special to get pole position here because the competition is so high from so many great teams and drivers. It’s never nice getting pole from another team’s misfortune and I’d have loved to beat the Ferrari in a straight fight on the track but we can save that for Saturday and Sunday.
“It seems that the two Corvettes and the two Ferraris that were originally at the front are very close on speed, and it’s going to be a very tight and intense race. The Porsches are only a tiny bit behind on speed and they’ve got fantastic driver line ups with very good teams so I know they’ll be challenging right from the start. The BMW is a very new car but we know they’ll be a strong team with a strong driver line up that are not to be discounted.
“As always here in qualifying, it was a bit of a banzai run. The guys sent me out with great tyres and good position on the track. I felt that if only we could get a clean lap and I could get it all together, the time would be there.
“I made a small mistake coming out of Dunlop chicane – I got on the Astroturf and it spun the rear tyres up. I was concentrating on the chicanes and I got through those cleanly, and then I stumbled upon a GT1 car in the second chicane. I pushed like crazy for the rest of the lap, and in the Porsche Curves I was really holding on. The Ford chicane was still a little damp, so I had to hold my breath and wing it. I’m very pleased with my lap.
“Any time you can spend on the track at Le Mans is fantastic because it’s such a unique place. The conditions were tricky and the track was evolving. We tried a Michelin tyre that we hadn’t run on before, and we got some valuable data on that. The difficulty was that you could get going pretty well on the first two-thirds of the lap, and then when you arrived at the Porsche Curves, the track was still somewhat damp. You had to be very careful through those spots. Overall I felt very comfortable with the car.”
“It looks like Le Mans is going to be a fantastic race between us and Ferrari and Porsche,” he continued. “This event has really been our focus, and the Corvette has improved hugely.”