Sebring, Fla., March 18, 2001 - Proving once again that persistence pays off in the end, the ...
Sebring, Fla., March 18, 2001 - Proving once again that persistence pays off in the end, the #3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Corvette C5-R fought off a recurring starter problem to finish third in GTS class in the Superflo 12 Hours of Sebring Saturday night. The #3 Corvette, driven by Ron Fellows, Chris Kneifel and Johnny O'Connell, combined an earlier win in Texas and the Sebring third place to take the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) points lead after two races. "It is really frustrating, the problems we've had at Sebring," said Fellows who has been aboard the #3 in the two previous wins this season. "Twelve hours on this race track, beating and banging over these bumps is tougher, I think, than 24 hours at Daytona. Our car can take it but it beats up on the drivers pretty good." The #4 Corvette, driven by Andy Pilgrim, Kelly Collins and Franck Freon finished the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2nd behind a Saleen S7R, a new entry in the series.
"It was a very long race," said Pilgrim, "and a very hot race. Losing is no fun after working as hard as we did. I like to win and finishing second is, well you know..."
"For the Corvette Racing team, Sebring has been our 'Bermuda triangle' said team manager Doug Fehan as the faulty starter, two penalties and other minor problems hampered the two-car effort for most of the race." Sebring was the third race of the 2001 season for Corvette, "America's performance Icon", with two wins, including a first overall in the Rolex 24 Hour of Daytona. The #3 Corvette has run trouble-free for over 3,000 miles of competition coming into Sebring. In fact, the hood of #3 had been opened just once, to add two quarts to the transmission during actual racing. The Corvette C5-R is the race version of Chevrolet's popular street C5 Corvette and is production based. Corvette racing engineers work closely with their production vehicle counterparts to help "improve the breed" though the application of racing technology to present and future Corvettes. On Monday morning, March 19, the team begins testing and final preparation to entry the grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans, France in June. This will be the second year for Corvette in this twice-around the clock competition against the toughest, most experienced endurance teams in the world. Last year's effort resulted in a third place finish and hopes are high for a class win in 2001. -GM Racing