Corvette Racing readies for tough GT2 season
Corvette Racing will take on its most formidable challenge to date when it competes in the GT2 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in Le Mans, France, on June 12-13. The twin Compuware Corvette C6.R race cars are among the 17 entries in the GT2 class invited by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO), organizers of the classic endurance race.
Corvette Racing has scored six wins in the GTS/GT1 class at Le Mans since 2001, including a victory in last year's race. The GT2 version of the Corvette C6.R, which is based on the production Corvette ZR1, made its competition debut in August 2009, competing in five American Le Mans Series events and scoring the team's first GT2 win at Mosport International Raceway. The list of invitees in the GT2 class for Le Mans includes two Corvettes C6.Rs, five Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs, two BMW M3s, a Jaguar XKRS, five Ferrari 430 GTs, an Aston Martin Vantage, and a Spyker C8.
"We are pleased and honored that the new GT2 Corvette C6.R has been invited by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest to compete in the world's most prestigious sports car race," said GM Racing manager Mark Kent. "Our objective is to carry forward Corvette's legacy of success as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Corvette's first participation at Le Mans. This year's race will certainly be a challenge because of the depth and quality of the competition in the GT2 division. The entries represent the world's most storied sports car brands and underscore the relevance and value of racing production-based cars."
Corvette Racing will also compete with two cars in the full nine-race ALMS schedule in 2010, starting with the 58th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 20.
"While Corvette is truly a global brand, our most important market is North America," said Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. "Our participation in the American Le Mans Series is both a proving ground for our technology and a showcase to demonstrate Corvette's capabilities for our customers and fans."
Corvette Racing's driver lineup has been revised with the addition of Emmanuel Collard alongside Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta for three long-distance races (Sebring, Le Mans, and Petit Le Mans). Antonio Garcia will return as the third driver with Johnny O'Connell and Jan Magnussen in endurance events. Canadian Ron Fellows, a charter member of Corvette Racing, will continue with the team in an ambassadorial role.
Collard, 38, of Champs sur Marne, France, has scored multiple victories in the Sebring 12-hour, Daytona 24-hour, Le Mans 24-hour, and Spa 24-hour races. He is a two-time Le Mans Series champion, and drove for the Cadillac LMP team in 2000-02.
"We are pleased to welcome Emmanuel back to the GM Racing family," said Fehan. "He has proven his ability at all levels of racing, and he understands the demands and discipline of endurance racing. He will be a valuable addition to our international lineup of championship-winning drivers."
"I'm very happy to join Corvette Racing for the 2010 endurance classics," said Collard. "Corvette has been the most successful car make and team in GT racing for over ten years now, so I'm obviously thrilled to be a part of this team. The Corvette C5-R and C6.R have been the absolute benchmarks in GT1 racing, and the new GT2 Corvette C6.R is already heading in that same successful direction. I hope my experience with GT2s from the past seasons can help Corvette secure class wins in the three endurance races."
Corvette Racing also is continuing its longstanding relationships with its sponsors and technical partners in the new season. Compuware is the team's primary sponsor for the eighth consecutive season, and Michelin, Mobil 1, XM Satellite Radio, UAW-GM, Genuine Corvette Accessories, Bose, Motorola, PRS Guitars, and BBS are continuing their support for America's premier production sports car team.
"Compuware software and experts ensure that our customers' most demanding business applications perform at their best," said Compuware Chairman and CEO Peter Karmanos, Jr. "Partnering with General Motors, Chevy and the Corvette Racing team gives Compuware another dynamic opportunity to deliver peak performance and winning results. Like the Corvette Racing team, Compuware stands for uninterrupted, optimal performance – whatever the environment – and we look forward to producing another great year on the track."
Corvette Racing’s next event is the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla., on March 20, 2010. The 12-hour endurance race will be televised live on SPEED. alms