Corvette Racing first qualifying report

Corvette Racing has successful start to 24 Hours of Le Mans Defending GTS champions start the first two rounds of qualifying with fast times LE MANS, France -- The General Motors Chevrolet Corvette C5-R Racing team ran quickly in the first two...

Corvette Racing has successful start to 24 Hours of Le Mans
Defending GTS champions start the first two rounds of qualifying with fast times

LE MANS, France -- The General Motors Chevrolet Corvette C5-R Racing team ran quickly in the first two qualifying sessions of the 24 Hours of Le Mans this evening, finishing second and fifth. The two Corvette teams successfully qualified all six drivers and will have another chance to improve their starting positions during Thursday's dual session before starting the legendary race on June 14.

"Although I'm pleased with the overall time we've shown, I think there are a few areas in terms of setup where we can make the cars a bit more comfortable to drive," said Doug Fehan, GM's Program Manager for Corvette Racing. "It's clear that from Open Test in May we've really worked hard on sorting through some software and calibration issues on our intake system and were able to find a bit more power down the straight."

The first two-hour qualifying session ran largely without incident, while the later session was marked by a few minor episodes that complicated the team's pre-set engineering schedule. Ron Fellows, in the #53 Corvette C5-R, had an incident with a prototype car shortly before 11:00 p.m. at the Tetre Rouge corner. Fellows described a "lift effect" when a larger prototype race car approached him too closely from the rear, upsetting the aerodynamics of the Corvette and sending him into the tire barriers. The car was driven back into the pits, where Fellows's team quickly changed the nose and had the Corvette back on the track.

Driver Quotes

Oliver Gavin, #50 Corvette C5-R

"The engineers told me we would be able to do something in the low 3:56 times and I was happy to get into the 3:55 range during the first qualifying session tonight. There were a few areas I could have gone quicker and I probably should have run a bit faster in my out lap, as it even took me three or four corners to get the tire temperatures up. The car feels better through the Ford and Dunlop chicanes and it's clear we've got a couple of extra miles per hour mph in the straight, which proves our boys did quite a bit of work between Open Test and this week. It's the little things that add up on this track and that's what we're trying to do on these nights before the race."

Johnny O'Connell, #53 Corvette C5-R driver

"I ran through a bit of traffic and wished I would have been able to get in more than three timed laps during the first session, but we're really looking at setting up the car more than going for a hot lap. Our #53 team always does well in endurance races and I think that will be the case this weekend; Ron and Franck and I aren't focusing on one lap -- we're focusing on the whole stint. This circuit generally likes a harder compound tire and we're going to take that into account for tomorrow and the race. What we're trying to do isn't to make a dynamite one-lap car, but to find the setup that is solid over 13 or so laps, which is typically what we run for one of our stints."

-cr-

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Ron Fellows , Johnny O'Connell , Oliver Gavin
Teams Corvette Racing