Road America: Corvette qualifying report

Corvette qualifies first and second in GTS at Road America. Chevrolet factory driver Oliver Gavin records fourth record-setting pole position of 2003 Elkhart Lake, Wis. -- Corvette Racing's C5-R powered Oliver Gavin to the fastest speed in ...

Corvette qualifies first and second in GTS at Road America.

Chevrolet factory driver Oliver Gavin records fourth record-setting pole position of 2003

Elkhart Lake, Wis. -- Corvette Racing's C5-R powered Oliver Gavin to the fastest speed in qualifying for the GTS class on Saturday at Road America. Gavin and teammate Kelly Collins will start Sunday's Road America 500 from the first position in the GTS class, 11th overall, after qualifying the #4 Compuware Corvette C5-R at 2:01:969, or 119.480 mph. His time eclipsed the previous qualifying lap record of 2:03:812, set in 2002 by Ron Fellows, by nearly two seconds despite new rule changes that restrict engine power. Fellows qualified his #3 Compuware Corvette C5-R at 2:02:155, or 119.298 mph, which also bests the previous qualifying record. He and teammate Johnny O'Connell will start Sunday's race from the second position in class, or 12th overall on the 37-car grid.

"We knew this track would be a challenge because it closely resembles Le Mans and we've been hard at work to develop our engine, aero and chassis setup for this race," said Doug Fehan, GM's program manager for Corvette Racing. "Obviously our hard work has paid off as we've managed to beat the old record by about two seconds. Given the ten-percent reduction in restrictor size, that represents an enormous amount of hard work by everyone at Corvette Racing."

Briton Oliver Gavin, in his first year as a full-time works Corvette driver, recorded his fourth record-setting pole position of the season. Gavin and teammate Kelly 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.

"The crew made some quick changes to the Corvette after practice and that turned out to be a great decision," said Gavin. "The car handled quite well and it did help that Ron Fellows was right in front of me during my flying laps, which pushed me a little bit. This is the test chassis and not a car we've run in a race before, so we owe a lot of thanks to the boys on the crew -- they only had two days to build it into a race car and today we're on the pole position. It is a pleasure to drive and Kelly and I are looking forward to Sunday's race."

Ron Fellows, who set the GTS qualifying record at Road America in 2002 in the #3 Corvette C5-R, shattered his own lap record in Saturday's 20-minute qualifying session, just shy of Gavin's pole time.

"We're almost two seconds faster this year and the car feels pretty good," said Fellows. "Our car stops and corners so much better this year. A lot of credit has to be paid to our chassis engineers and a lot of it is the new tire package from Goodyear. We'll have a good setup for Sunday."

The Corvette Racing team will take to the track Sunday morning for a practice session before staring the 2-hour, 45-minute Road America 500 at 1:00 p.m.

-gm racing-

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