Corvette Racing tests new C5-Rs in Le Mans New gearbox and aerodynamic configurations evaluated in Open Test practice LE MANS, France - The General Motors Chevrolet Corvette Racing team ran quickly and efficiently today at preliminary testing in...
Corvette Racing tests new C5-Rs in Le Mans
New gearbox and aerodynamic configurations evaluated in Open Test practice
LE MANS, France - The General Motors Chevrolet Corvette Racing team ran quickly and efficiently today at preliminary testing in Le Mans, France. The open test day is the only time participants in the sports car classic can run on the famed Sarthe track before qualifying in June. The day was used by the two Le Mans-blue Corvette C5-Rs, which will seek a third consecutive GTS-class win, and 54 other entrants to prepare their cars and acquire important data from this rarely used circuit. The #50 Corvette C5-R, driven by Oliver Gavin, Kelly Collins and Andy Pilgrim, recorded a time of 3:58:895; the #53 Corvette C5-R, driven by Ron Fellows, Johnny O'Connell and Franck Freon, recorded a best lap of 4:01:727. The cars are running with numbers #50 and #53, which celebrate the marque's 50 years since 1953 as America's sports car icon.
"This is one of the most important tests for us," said Doug Fehan, GM's Program Manager for Corvette Racing. "As we are not able to test here during the year it ends up being eight hours of very intense learning. Today we proved what we knew all along - that our team worked very hard to develop our new Corvette C5-Rs. We used this session to make some decisions on our setup for June, such as the fact that we will use our new sequential 6-speed gearbox. We know that our braking is improved and there are some parts of the track where we can really make gains. In a situation like this we're running short stints to make some minor adjustments."
The practice session was marked by a more strict enforcement of the track's rules set forth by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (A.C.O.), the organizing body for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, noting drivers should mind the white boundary lines on the track or face possible penalties. During the course of the session a handful of cars were given brief penalties for violating these restrictions.
"We're learning a lot today in terms of grabbing data from our car," said Oliver Gavin, driver of the #50 Corvette C5-R. "I can tell it is more stable and able to carry more speed, certainly through the final sections of the Porsche Curves. Braking is significantly better for us into the first and second chicane and into the Mulsanne corner - basically all the high-speed corners. Now that we have more downforce through the front we are able to brake very hard in a straight line, which sometimes was a challenge for us last year."
During the pause in the 8-hour session the engine was changed on the #50 Corvette C5-R due to a defective valve spring, while the #53 car required a door replacement for a broken mirror. Both cars ran different rear wing settings in order to find the optimum aerodynamic balance for the race in June. The 71st running of the Le Mans 24 Hours will take place on June 14-15.
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