Corvette Racing press release
Corvette Racing Qualifies Second and Eighth for Laguna Seca ALMS
Gavin Puts No. 4 Corvette C6.R on GT Front Row for Third Straight Race
MONTEREY, Calif., Sept. 16, 2011 – As the laps counted down in qualifying for Saturday's ModSpace American Le Mans Series Monterey, Corvette Racing engineer Chuck Houghton radioed to driver Oliver Gavin, "A tenth of a second will put you in P2." Gavin responded with his quickest lap of the 15-minute qualifying session, taking the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R from sixth to second on the GT grid.
"As always, Chuck tells me exactly how it is," Gavin said with a laugh. "I knew that the car had it in it. I just needed to put a lap together without any traffic or sand on the track. It all seemed to come together on that last lap."
It was the third consecutive front-row qualifying effort by the No. 4 Corvette C6.R after Gavin's teammate, Jan Magnussen, qualified the yellow car in the No. 2 spot at Road America and the Baltimore Grand Prix. Gavin's ninth and final lap was his quickest, navigating the 2.238-mile course in 1:23.124 (96.925 mph). Olivier Beretta's sixth lap in the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R was his fastest at 1:23.566 (96.412 mph), placing him eighth in the hard-fought GT class – the gap from second to eighth was less than half a second. Joey Hand took the GT pole at 1:22.226 (97.984 mph) in the No. 56 BMW M3 GT.
"I knew by Turn 7 that it was going to be a good lap," Gavin recalled. "I'd been losing some time in the Corkscrew because I was trying too hard and overshooting the corner. This time I backed down a little bit, got through the turn quickly, and then it was just hauling through the rest of the corners to the start-finish line.
"It's super close with everyone except Hand's BMW, and we're in with a fighting chance," the Briton added. "Six hours at Laguna Seca is a long race, and I know that Corvette Racing will make the right calls and we'll be battling to keep ourselves in the championship."
Gavin and Magnussen will go into the penultimate round of the ALMS second in the GT standings, 25 points behind Hand and Dirk Mueller. With 55 points available in the remaining two races, the championship is still in play.
Beretta expects the No. 3 Corvette C6.R to move to the front as the race unfolds. "With our strategy for qualifying we should look good in the race," Beretta said. "I tried my best, and the engineers and mechanics did a good job. I'm quite happy about how the day went."