Ahead of difficult test in world’s most famous endurance race
LE MANS, France (June 19, 2013) – Members of Corvette Racing met with media at the Circuit des 24 Heures on Wednesday ahead of the first practice and qualifying session for the 90th anniversary running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The race begins at 3 p.m. CET/9 p.m. ET on Saturday.
Jan Magnussen, NO. 73 Compuware Corvette C6.R
With such a deep field in GTE Pro, how many hours into the race do you think you will know exactly where you stand?
“It’s hard to say. You’ll find during the race your strength and weaknesses, along with those for the competition. The way it looks like the race will go with the weather, you will have to be faultless and run to plan. You cannot be distracted by what other teams are doing, especially if they are faster than you. It’s important to say dedicated to what the plan is and stick to that 100 percent. That will be very, very hard even in a dry race because of the competition. But if the weather keeps doing what it is doing, it will be a huge accomplishment to come out with a victory.”
How big a boost is it to come to Le Mans after winning in the ALMS at Laguna Seca?
“It was definitely a good thing to have that victory. Since I joined Corvette Racing, we had won the big races like Sebring and Le Mans. But the win at Laguna gave the team (in the No. 73 car) a big push ahead of Le Mans. We are very confident for the race. It will be a very big battle with all the manufacturers that are here. For sure they are all very well prepared but I think we have shown them before what it takes to win the race. We need to believe and trust in Corvette Racing to do it again.”
Jordan Taylor, NO. 73 Compuware Corvette C6.R
Is it a big difference coming to Le Mans in your second year instead of as a rookie?
“Last year was a big experience with a lot to learn. It’s such a unique event. I didn’t really know what to expect coming in. You get here on Monday and are here throughout the week with appearances, media events and autograph sessions… it is a roller coaster of emotions but you are here to drive a race car. Now this year I know what to expect and have such a great team and crew behind me. I’m very much looking forward to it.”
Oliver Gavin, NO. 74 Compuware Corvette C6.R
This is 12 years at Le Mans with Corvette Racing. How has the event and preparation changed?
“Certainly, year on year the competition has grown stiffer and stiffer. Again this year is another high watermark in our class with five big manufacturers slugging it out in our category. Corvette Racing has raised their game year after year, which is an impressive thing – whether it is in preparation and leading up to the event, preparing the car, laying out pits, practicing pit stops, the routines and schedule… the way the team studies itself and improve year on year is spectacular. It’s hugely impressive and something that gives the drivers a lot of confidence to see that they are on the top of their game. The C6.R is at the end of its life and is at the top of its development curve. We plan to get out there and take on whoever is the best. If it turns out to be us, then great. But we will be fighting to get a victory. Certainly you will have to earn it, without a doubt. There is just so much strength and depth.”
Tommy Milner, NO. 74 Compuware Corvette C6.R
You were part of the winning trio in 2011 for Corvette Racing. What will it take to get back there this year?
“Every year, the biggest challenge is not making mistakes and staying out of the pits. Ultimately when you look back, the winning team has been the one that hasn’t made mistakes and hasn’t pitted except for driver changes, tires and fuel. This weekend it looks like the weather will play a role, which it typically does at Le Mans. We saw that at the Test Day and got in some wet-weather running. And the GTE Pro class is super, super deep with five strong manufacturers that can all win the race. This whole week has been about preparing in every way possible with little details that will help make any kind of repairs quicker. Our guys have looked at every little aspect that may cause issues for the race, and we’re prepared for anything that comes at us.”
Richard Westbrook, NO. 74 Compuware Corvette C6.R
The last time you were in the car was a win at the Sebring 12 Hours. What did that do for the mindset of the team?
“To be honest, we needed that win at Sebring. Olly and Tommy had won the ALMS championship but we had had a poor run in the endurance events. It was important to turn that around. You don’t want to come to a race like Le Mans lacking in confidence. So Sebring did us a world of good. It is great to run with these two (Gavin and Milner). I know what they want from the car, and they know what I want from the car. We want to win this race in the last Le Mans for the C6.R.
Doug Fehan, Corvette Racing program manager
What does this race mean to Chevrolet and Corvette Racing?
“First of all, bonjour! We are very pleased to be back. Those of you who have followed us here at the 24 Hours of Le Mans know that this program is representative of the cornerstone of everything we do in racing. Our objective throughout our year is all designed and focused on this event. We realize it is the single most important road race in the world. This is our 14th consecutive year with Corvette and we have been very fortunate to have seven victories – all of which we are most proud. This is a remarkable year because we have three anniversaries that we can celebrate. First and foremost is the 90th anniversary of this great race, and we’re happy to participate. The second is that this is the 60th anniversary of the production of Corvette, and currently we are approaching 2 million Corvettes that are registered and on the roads today. That’s an amazing number. And this will be our 100th race with one of our strategic partners – Michelin. Those three are of extreme importance to us, and we’re proud and pleased to be part of all those significant events.”
The next time Corvette Racing takes to the circuit at Le Mans is 7 p.m. CET/1 p.m. ET today for the final two sessions of qualifying.
Team Chevy Racing