Corvette Racing at Road America: the spiritual home

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Compuware Corvettes come to Elkhart Lake in thick of ALMS GT championships

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Aug. 6, 2013) – For more than 50 years, Road America has come to define the quintessential American road racing circuit. Likewise, the Chevrolet Corvette has been America’s sports car for 60 years. This weekend, Corvette Racing serves as the bridge that once again reunites the two icons for the Orion Energy 245 – the sixth round of the 2013 American Le Mans Series. The team enters its two velocity yellow Compuware Corvette C6.Rs in the two-hour, 45-minute race.

Road America – featuring 14 turns and measuring 4.048 miles – is one of the more popular stops for Corvette Racing’s lineup and the whole of the ALMS paddock as well. The track also promotes fantastic racing as the last two ALMS races there produced the closest overall finishes in series history. Audiences on ABC can watch all of this year’s race action live at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, Aug. 11.

For years, Road America has been the site of numerous debuts and race victories for the Corvette brand. It only makes sense – a high-performance automobile deserves a high-performance track. Since 2002, Corvette Racing has carried on the proud tradition of winning at Road America. The span includes six class victories in the ALMS along with a plethora of pole positions and fastest race laps. Oliver Gavin, co-driver with Tommy Milner in the No. 4 Compuware Corvette, owns a particularly strong record with three race victories, four career pole positions and four fastest race laps. Three times he was both the fastest qualifier and fastest driver in the race on the same weekend.

#3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1: Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia
#3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1: Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia

Photo by: XPB Images

Gavin and Milner enter as winners of the most recent ALMS round at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and sit second in the GT drivers’ championship and only five points out of first. The duo also is the only one in the class to win more than once in 2013. Third in the championship is the pairing of Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen in the No. 3 Compuware Corvette. They won at Laguna Seca in May and placed second in early July at Lime Rock Park. Magnussen has two victories at Road America, and Garcia made his Road America debut last season.

With three victories this year, Chevrolet leads the manufacturers championship and Corvette Racing is first in the team standings.

The weekend has extra meaning for the North American sports car scene. The ALMS and GRAND-AM’s Rolex Sports Car Series share the Road America weekend as a preview to next year’s United SportsCar Series championship – a result of the merger of the two sports car racing organizations. Corvette Racing’s two endurance drivers – Jordan Taylor and Richard Westbrook – will race in Saturday’s Rolex Series event.

Antonio Garcia, No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R
“It’s one of the best tracks in America, for sure. It’s very tough and challenging because of the length of the lap and variety of turns. It has everything. You couldn’t ask for more as a driver. To get a good lap, you need to find a rhythm in the slowest corners for sure – like turns 5, 6 and 8. Most of them lead to very long straights so if you make a mistake you can lose a lot of time. Because the lap is about two minutes, you really need to get into a rhythm and not be afraid of corners like the Carousel and the Kink. Once you have that rhythm, the time comes very easily. “If you are suffering from a bad setup or your car doesn’t match the track conditions, it is very easy to lose a lot of time to your competitors. You really have to nail the setup of the car. When everything works, it makes things much easier around Road America.”

Jan Magnussen, No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R
“The reason why Road America is on everyone’s list of favorites is that there isn’t only one piece that makes it great. It’s the whole thing. The layout is fantastic. It’s super fast in some places and super technical in others. You don’t have any really slow corners. The average speed is up there. And it’s a fantastic place to race. Obviously, there are a few places where you need to be fast to race other guys. It will be a tough weekend for us even though it’s a weekend we are looking forward to. At present time, the long straights aren’t our strongest suits. We will go there use all the knowledge we have with the C6.R and get as many points as we possibly can. “In terms of exciting corners, I’d say Turn 1 is also one of them. You arrive at such a high speed and you don’t slow down very much to be able to go through there. You can also make up quite a bit of time if you get it right. You use every bit of road available to you… and then a little bit more. They have put in rumble strips there that can upset the car so you have to be careful of the attitude of the car when you enter the corner.”

Oliver Gavin, No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R
“You’ve always got this race track that’s fast, flowing and has a great feel to it. It has a lot of what everyone likes in a track – a decent amount of grip, decent straightaways, good brake zones, opportunities to overtake and places where you can tow up behind people. You have a couple quick corners that you can really get into. It takes some guts to go through. It has that really great combination of elements. “It’s great to see how the track evolves through the weekend and picks up grip through the race. The way you set your car up, maybe you do it to take advantage of that at the end. We’ve been there and gone through different lengths of racing – two hours and 45 minutes, four hours, six hours... Whatever length of race there suits me perfectly. I’d like to do 24 hours there because it’s the type of place where you could drive all day and get a huge amount of satisfaction.”

Tommy Milner, No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R
“It’s got everything: very, very fast corners – some that are taken flat-out, some that are close to flat, some aren’t quite there – then there are others where you have to brake massively beforehand to get the car slowed down before you can make the corner. Having super high-speed corners and straights followed by slow-speed turns makes for good passing opportunities along with a fun race track. I’ve always liked fast corners and fast tracks. That’s why I like Road America. It’s fast but also has a great flow to it. You have to do two or three laps to build up a little steam to get down to the lap times you’re capable of. “I’ve raced at Road America throughout my career. My first race there was in 2004 with Formula BMW. It was incredibly quick in those cars. The horsepower and downforce made for a really fun lap. The speeds there were all pretty high. We were actually bump-drafting!”

Doug Fehan, Corvette Racing program manager
“Road America is a classic circuit in every sense of the word. It is a favorite of competitors and fans alike and is a first-class facility that always promotes tremendous racing. Just as key to Road America’s aura is the history of racing in Elkhart Lake – first in the town itself in the early 1950s and then later at Road America. Likewise, Chevrolet and Corvette are proud to have a long and storied background at Road America. We expect that to continue this season with our two Compuware Corvettes in a GT championship that is competitive as ever. Fans at the track and watching live on ABC will be in for a treat.”

Team Chevy Racing

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Series ALMS
Article type Preview
Tags antonio garcia, corvette racing, elkhart lake, gt, jan magnussen, oliver gavin, road america, tommy milner

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