Road America: Corvette Racing test day report

Corvette Sets Fastest Time in Friday Test Session The General Motors Chevrolet Corvette Racing team set the fastest time in the GTS class during Friday's 90-minute test session before the Road America 500. Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell,...

Corvette Sets Fastest Time in Friday Test Session

The General Motors Chevrolet Corvette Racing team set the fastest time in the GTS class during Friday's 90-minute test session before the Road America 500. Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell, driving the #3 Compuware Corvette C5-R, posted a best time of 2:03:421, or 118.074 mph. Fellows's test session time bests the previous qualifying record of 2:03:812, which he set last year, by roughly fourth-tenths of a second. Oliver Gavin and Kelly Collins, driving the #4 Compuware Corvette C5-R, recorded a best time of 2:04:755, or 116.811 mph. Gavin and Collins bear the responsibility of driving a brand new chassis, #010, on arguably the fastest circuit on the 2003 ALMS calendar; after Gavin's accident in last weekend's Mosport event, the team was forced to temporarily withdraw chassis #008 and call their test chassis into competition for this weekend's race. The new car was built to the same specifications as the #3 Corvette C5-R.

Mako Shark, Jeffords Were Here

Current Corvette Racing fans will look to Kelly Collins this weekend, who, along with teammate Andy Pilgrim, won last year's inaugural ALMS event at Road America in a Corvette C5-R. But the circuit is cloaked in decades of Corvette history. It will forever hold a place in hearts of Corvette fans as the sight of the first public appearance of the XP-755 Corvette, more commonly known as the Mako Shark concept, in 1961. The 4-mile track also became the meeting place for Chevy and a man who would become one of the most famous Corvette drivers of all time: Jim Jeffords. After an impressive rookie season in 1954 where he won 14 of 17 races in a Jaguar, Jeffords drew the attention of Chevrolet executives for their factory racing team. By the time Road America opened for its first race in 1955, Jeffords was anxious to get in a Corvette but the team could not come up with another car for him to drive. The racer was keen to enter the race, however, as he knew that this new four-mile circuit was going to attract top drivers, automotive writers and Detroit's top brass. Knowing that the Jaguar he campaigned the previous season was still sitting on the used car lot, Jeffords bought it back and readied it for the race that was just days away. Underfunded and underpowered compared to the Corvette team, Jim ran his Jaguar in that first Road America race and was able to take on the dominant Corvettes and go on to a highly respectable 2nd place finish in the "C" Production Class. As the legend goes, Ed Cole, then General Manager of Chevrolet, congratulated Jeffords on his performance and told him, "That was the last time you'll ever race against Chevrolet." The rest, as they say, is history. Jeffords went on to win two straight SCCA Class B Production Championships, in 1958 and 1959, in his legendary "Purple People Eater" Corvettes and raced in various Chevrolet-powered race cars throughout his colorful racing career. Jeffords still serves on the Board of Directors for Road America to this day.

Corvette Leads ALMS Point Standings

Coming off an impressive GTS victory at the Grand Prix of Mosport, which maintained Corvette Racing's undefeated streak in the American Le Mans Series, GM's premier factory racing program heads into this weekend's Road America 500 at the top of the ALMS point standings. The driver and manufacturer standings are as follows:

Racing Around

Chevrolet will be represented in three major motorsports series this weekend: the Corvette Racing team in the ALMS at Road America, Chevy Indy V-8s at Nazareth Speedway and Monte Carlo with NASCAR in Bristol, Tenn. Chevrolet is the only manufacturer currently competing in the ALMS, IRL, NASCAR Winston Cup and NHRA.

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Ron Fellows , Johnny O'Connell , Andy Pilgrim , Kelly Collins , Oliver Gavin
Teams Corvette Racing