Sebring Four-Hour Report: Corvette Racing 1-2 in GT1
New C6.Rs Fourth and Fifth Overall
SEBRING, Fla., March 19, 2005 - "So far, so good." Those four words from GM Racing program manager Doug Fehan sum up the first third of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring for Corvette Racing.
At the four-hour mark, Corvette Racing's new C6.Rs were running first and second in the GT1 class. The No. 4 Compuware Corvette driven by Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Jan Magnussen had completed 112 laps, placing it fourth overall in the standings and five laps behind the leading Audi LMP1. Twenty-one seconds behind its teammate and fifth overall was the No. 3 Compuware Corvette of Ron Fellows, Johnny O'Connell and Max Papis.
The Corvettes have had a trouble-free run so far, pitting only for refueling, fresh tires and driver changes. All six Corvette Racing drivers completed their stints in the first four hours. Fellows and Gavin, who started in the No. 3 and No. 4 respectively, were back in for their second stints at the four-hour mark.
As predicted, the GT1 category is a shootout in Sebring, with two Aston Martins on the same lap as the yellow Corvettes. A Saleen S7R and Ferrari 550 are two laps behind the leading quartet in GT1.
"Doing battle with the Aston Martins was a whole lot of fun," said Johnny O'Connell after his stint in the No. 3 Corvette C6.R. "If we were in a sprint race I'd have been more aggressive, but we had some fun going side-by-side through Turn 1 and giving each other a lot of respect.
"Everything on our car is good," said O'Connell, who is aiming for a record seventh victory in Sebring. "But I've been here enough time to know it's a long, long, long way to the finish."
"The whole Corvette Racing team has worked very hard during the winter, and we see the results today," said Olivier Beretta, who took the second stint in the No. 4 Corvette. "Oliver (Gavin) did a fantastic job at the start as he always does, and I have tried to do my best. The gearbox is perfect and the handling is very neutral. We still have to be focused, but we have a very good package."
"I'm very happy with how everything went," said Jan Magnussen after taking the third stint in the No. 4 Corvette C6.R. "I wasn't too lucky in traffic and got stuck behind some slower cars, but the car is working well and the tires are great. If we keep going like this we can get a good result."
"The track is very slick in spots," reported Max Papis after handing off the No. 3 Corvette C6.R to Fellows. "This is the warmest part of the day so far, and I was expecting the car to slide around. I didn't want to take any risks, and we have a long way to go. We can make some tire pressure adjustments and bring the No. 3 Corvette to the front again."
The 12-hour race will conclude at 10:45 p.m. ET. The event is televised live on SPEED.