Corvette factory team announces three new drivers, powerful upgrades for 2004 American Le Mans Series season. BRASELTON, Ga. (January 9, 2004) -- The General Motors Chevrolet Corvette racing team has added three star drivers to its lineup as...
Corvette factory team announces three new drivers, powerful upgrades for 2004 American Le Mans Series season.
BRASELTON, Ga. (January 9, 2004) -- The General Motors Chevrolet Corvette racing team has added three star drivers to its lineup as well as powerful upgrades to its cars and team as it prepares to race for a fourth straight manufacturer's championship in the American Le Mans Series in the upcoming 2004 season.
Two-time American Le Mans Series GTS class driving champion Olivier Beretta will join the team on a fulltime basis and will partner with returning driver Oliver Gavin in the team's #4 Corvette for the nine-race ALMS season, beginning with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Mar. 17-20. Defending GTS class driving champions Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell will continue as drivers of the #3 Corvette, with Fellows gunning to become the first driver in ALMS history to win three straight titles.
Along with Beretta, the team has added additional firepower to its driving lineup with veterans Jan Magnussen and Max Papis, who will be with the team as third drivers in long-distance events. Magnussen will join Gavin and Beretta while Papis will race with Fellows and O'Connell.
Ironically, Beretta was the lead driver for the former factory Dodge Viper team and battled fiercely with the Corvette team en route to winning back-to-back ALMS GTS class driving titles in 1999 and 2000.
The Chevrolet Corvette C5-R will start its sixth full season of racing with significant developments in tire technology, personnel, engineering and aerodynamics.
"Corvette proved once again why it is worthy of the title 'America's Sports Car Icon,'" said Harry Turner, GM group manager for road racing. "Racing is the crucible where Corvette's reputation was forged. The accomplishments of this team mean so much to Chevrolet and the millions of owners and enthusiasts worldwide. We plan on continuing that tradition in 2004."
The Corvette Racing program recently announced a new partnership with the Michelin Group, which will provide technical assistance and full tire support for the team in the ALMS and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In addition, the team will start 2004 with a new six-speed gearbox from supplier Xtrac, engine performance enhancements and further aerodynamic modifications.
In 2003, the Corvette team was part of one of the most competitive and exciting battles in sports car racing history, capturing the attention of racing fans around the world as it battled with Ferrari 550 Maranellos in the GTS class. The Corvette vs. Ferrari fight in the ALMS was so close that Chevrolet won the coveted manufacturer's title by only one point after edging Ferrari 5-4 in race wins.
"This championship season was another incredible chapter written in the rich history of the Corvette," said Doug Fehan, GM's program manager for Corvette Racing. "The competition challenged our position, but when the dust settled we were able to claim the title once again. This team has an amazing ability to overcome obstacles and that's how champions are made."
The 52nd annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring will get the green flag at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 20, and will be televised live from flag-to-flag by the Speed Channel. The American Le Mans Series Radio Web will have live coverage online at www.americanlemans.com.
Ticket information is available online at www.sebringraceway.com or by calling (863) 655-1442 (toll-free 800-626-RACE).