Corvette team confirms drivers
Corvette Racing’s roster of championship-winning drivers will return in 2008 to race the Chevrolet factory team’s twin Compuware Corvette C6.R race cars in the 12-race American Le Mans Series and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Johnny O’Connell and Jan Magnussen will drive the No. 3 Corvette C6.R, joined by Ron Fellows for three endurance races (Sebring, Le Mans and Petit Le Mans). Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta will drive the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R, teamed with Max Papis in long-distance events.
“Continuity and consistency are two of the cornerstones of Corvette Racing’s success, and that is reflected in our longstanding relationships with these championship-winning drivers,” said Steve Wesoloski, GM Racing Road Racing Group manager. “They thoroughly understand the team’s overall objectives, and they are total professionals both on and off the race track. We’re very proud to have these six drivers as part of the Corvette Racing family.”
Corvette Racing’s six drivers have a combined total of 135 ALMS victories, 13 ALMS championships, and 17 class victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. They’ve been successful in series that span the spectrum of motorsports from karts to Formula 1.
Ron Fellows, the charter member of the Corvette Racing fraternity, has been part of the team since initial testing began in 1997. A four-time winner of the ALMS Most Popular Driver award, the Canadian star will attend selected ALMS races as a consultant and Corvette ambassador when he is not racing. Fellows also intends to compete in selected NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series road races.
“It’s been very special to be a part of Corvette Racing since Day One,” Fellows said. “People around the world now recognize and respect the Corvette brand as a result of the success in top-level racing that the team has achieved over the years. It’s also been very gratifying to see how the race program has been integrated with the production Corvette, first with the sixth-generation Corvette and the Z06, and now with the Corvette ZR1.” Like every member of the Corvette Racing team, Fellows has his eyes firmly fixed on the GT1 prize at the 24 Hours of Le Mans: “Le Mans is our Super Bowl,” he said. “It’s such an important race, and competing there is something I’m not ready to give up yet.”
Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta are seeking their fourth consecutive GT1 drivers championship in 2008, and the teammates are aiming to win their fourth Le Mans title in five years. “No one is complacent at Corvette Racing,” Gavin said. “We all know that our jobs are highly sought after, and I begin each season with the thought that we are starting with a clean sheet of paper and I have to prove myself again. Our teammates in the No. 3 Corvette C6.R will be racing the wheels off to beat us, and we’ll be doing the same to beat them as well as the Aston Martin. There are very sharp people in the team who are constantly analyzing every performance, making sure that everyone is at the top of their game.
“Continuity in the lineup means that you know how your teammates think and respond to situations,” Gavin explained. “This familiarity allows each of us to get the job done in the most efficient way, and that’s usually what produces the best result.” Corvette Racing will make its season debut in the opening round of the 12-race ALMS series, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, on March 15, 2008.
Corvette Racing Drivers
Olivier Beretta, Compuware Corvette No. 4
Birthdate: Nov. 23, 1969
Residence: Monte Carlo, Monaco
Notes: Five-time ALMS GTS/GT1 champion, five class wins in 24 Hours of Le Mans, holds ALMS records for most career wins (37) and most career poles (20), two FIA championships, overall victory in 2000 Rolex 24 at Daytona
Ron Fellows, Compuware Corvette No. 3
Birthdate: Sept. 28, 1959
Residence: Mississauga, Ont., Canada
Notes: Four-time ALMS Most Popular Driver award (2004-07), three-time ALMS champion, two 24 Hours of Le Mans class wins, 19 SCCA Trans-Am wins, five NASCAR wins (two NCTS, three NNS)
Oliver Gavin, Compuware Corvette No. 4
Birthdate: Sept. 29, 1972
Residence: Yardley Hastings, England
Notes: Three-time ALMS GT1 champion, 28 career ALMS class victories, four class wins in 24 Hours of Le Mans
Jan Magnussen, Compuware Corvette No. 3
Birthdate: July 4, 1973
Residence: Roskilde, Denmark
Notes: Three class wins in 24 Hours of Le Mans, 14 career ALMS wins, former Formula 1 driver, twice voted “Most Popular Driver” in ALMS, 2005 Danish Racing Driver of the Year
Johnny O’Connell, Compuware Corvette No. 3
Birthdate: July 24, 1962
Residence: Flowery Branch, Ga.
Notes: Two-time ALMS GT1 champion, 28 career ALMS wins, six Sebring 12-hour class victories, holds ALMS records for most starts (84), most podium finishes (63), most top-five finishes (76) and most top-10 finishes (82)
Max Papis, Compuware Corvette No. 4
Birthdate: Oct. 3, 1969
Residence: Mooresville, N.C.
Notes: Daytona 24-hour winner, two Sebring 12-hour victories, three CART wins, 2004 Grand-Am Daytona Prototype champion
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