Corvette Racing Announces 2007 Driver Lineup
DETROIT - There will be familiar faces in different places when Corvette Racing returns to the American Le Mans Series in 2007 to defend its drivers, team and manufacturers championships. Corvette Racing officials have announced a revised driver lineup for the two-car Chevrolet factory team.
Johnny O'Connell and Jan Magnussen will drive the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R in all ALMS events. They will be joined by Ron Fellows for three endurance races (Sebring, Le Mans and Petit Le Mans) as Fellows takes on new roles and responsibilities with GM Racing. Defending GT1 champions Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta will drive the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R, teamed with Max Papis in the three endurance events.
The six Corvette Racing drivers have a combined total of 109 ALMS victories and 11 championships. They've won races and championships in series ranging from karts and touring cars to open-wheel formula racers.
"The changes in our driver lineup will give us two strong and balanced entries that will both be racing for victories," said Steve Wesoloski, GM Road Racing Group manager. "We are very excited that Ron Fellows will be taking on new roles and responsibilities with GM Racing. We'll continue to benefit from Ron's vast racing experience as he drives the No. 3 Corvette C6.R in endurance races while he begins a new phase in his career as an ambassador for Corvette and a valued advisor to GM Racing."
Fellows, a charter member of the championship-winning Corvette Racing team, did the initial testing and development of the Corvette C5-R. He scored Corvette Racing's first ALMS victory in 2000, and has won 25 ALMS races and three GT1 titles with the team. Recognized as one of North America's most versatile road racers; the Canadian ace has also won in NASCAR and SCCA Trans-Am competition. A fan favorite, Fellows was voted the ALMS "Most Popular Driver" three straight years in 2004-06. On February 2, 2007, Chevrolet announced the Ron Fellows ALMS GT1 Champion Corvette Z06, the first signed special edition in Corvette's 54-year history.
Fellows will attend all ALMS events, serving as Corvette ambassador and providing technical input to the team's engineers and drivers. In addition to driving in endurance events, he will compete in the Grand Prix of Mosport, the ninth round of the ALMS series, at Mosport International Raceway on Aug. 26, 2007. Fellows will appear at key Corvette marketing events and shows as his schedule allows, assist in driver development for a variety of GM road racing programs, continue to drive for Team Cadillac in selected SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT races, and compete in several NASCAR events.
"Ron has excellent relationships with the fans, with the media, and with the race organizers," said Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. "He brings a wealth of experience that we can put to good use, and that's what we intend to do."
Magnussen will move from an endurance-racing role in the No. 4 Corvette C6.R to a full-season drive in the No. 3 Corvette C6.R alongside O'Connell. The pair previously raced as teammates in a Panoz LMP1, scoring an overall victory at Mosport in 1999. Papis will shift from the No. 3 Corvette C6.R to the No. 4 Corvette C6.R driven by two-time GT1 champions Gavin and Beretta.
"Jan and Johnny are similar in physical size and they like a similar setup in the car," Wesoloski noted. "We think it's a good combination and a strong entry. We're very pleased that Max will have a full-time ride in a Daytona Prototype with Krohn Racing as he helps Pontiac pursue a championship while he also drives for Corvette Racing in the three endurance races."
Corvette Racing's revised driver lineup will make its debut in the season-opening round of the 12-race ALMS series, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, on March 17, 2007. GM Racing