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Apr 29, 2014 - 03:30 PM
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Corvette DPs At Laguna Seca: Seeking More Monterey Momentum
Posted by: newsla on Apr 29, 2014 - 03:25 PM
USCR News
Corvette DPs At Laguna Seca: Seeking More Monterey Momentum


Chevrolet has tasted its share of success at North America’s top sports car venues. That being said, it would be difficult to match the record the Bowtie has amassed at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in recent years. Corvette Daytona Prototypes return to the picturesque circuit in Monterey, Calif., for the fourth round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

 

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Four Corvette DPs are set to race in Sunday’s Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix race for the TUDOR Championship’s Prototype and GT Le Mans classes. The two categories raced together earlier this month at Long Beach in a 100-minute, caution-free event where two Corvette DPs finished on the podium; Wayne Taylor Racing was the runner-up and championship leader Action Express Racing was third. Chevrolet left southern California second in the TUDOR Championship’s Prototype Engine Manufacturer standings.

The playing field in Monterey will be slightly different as the Corvette DPs will compete with a smaller air restrictor than used in previous races. The move will reduce the power output of the Corvette DP’s 5.5-liter V8 motor. The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) - sanctioning body for the TUDOR Championship - adjusted the performance of the Corvette DPs to bring competition in the Prototype category closer together.

Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi lead the Prototype drivers’ championship on the strength of three consecutive podium finishes to start the season - including a victory at Daytona. It was a race where Corvette DPs took the top four positions.

Laguna Seca is the perfect place for the Corvette DP contingent to pick up a second win of the season. Wayne Taylor Racing’s Jordan Taylor and Max Angelelli won last year’s race for the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series - which combined with the American Le Mans Series to form the TUDOR Championship - in Monterey.

It was one of many success story for Chevrolet and the Corvette DP at Monterey since 2011. Richard Westbrook, driving for Spirit of Daytona Racing, has won last two DP pole positions at Laguna Seca; he and Antonio Garcia won the race in 2012. The previous year, Garcia set the fastest lap, Ricky Taylor was the fastest qualifier, and Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty won the race in a Chevrolet-powered prototype for GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing.

"Laguna Seca is the first traditional road course we will race on this year," said Jim Lutz, Chevrolet Program Manager for Corvette Daytona Prototypes. "The challenge of racing there is an extremely difficult one. Temperatures and weather conditions are often in flux this time of year, as is the racing surface. Due to the layout of the track, sand and dust routinely gather on the circuit. Chassis setup, mechanical grip and tire management will be of utmost importance for this race. The Corvette DP has proven repeatedly that it is a great car around Laguna Seca. This latest adjustment of performance puts our teams in a bind but we are confident they and our partners can adapt to the new restrictor size and the performance loss that comes with it."

Camaro Z/28.R Back on Track Following First Victory

Just like the Corvette DPs, the Chevrolet Camaro has tasted considerable success at Laguna Seca in the Continental Tire SportsCar Championship. The new-for-2014 Camaro Z/28.R looks to continue that success with entries for Stevenson Motorsports and CKS Autosport. Stevenson’s Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis won the most recent round at Sebring in March in just the second race for the Camaro Z/28.R.

If past history is any indication, things should bode well at Laguna Seca. The Camaro GS.R won in the Continental Tire series at the track in 2011 and 2012 and was second in 2013. Compared to the previous car, the Z/28.R is an improvement in many key areas. The Chevrolet engine, suspension components and aerodynamic elements all have seen major upgrades for the Camaro Z/28.R. It also is the closest link between production Camaro and racing version Chevrolet has produced.

"The victory at Sebring was a fantastic achievement for everyone in the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R program," said Lisa Talarico, Chevrolet’s Program Manager for the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge. "As great a success as that was, work is far from complete to fully optimize the car. Laguna Seca is a challenging track considering ever-changing conditions throughout the day, but it also is one that has been good for the Camaro brand. We are confident that our partner teams at Stevenson Motorsports and CKS Autosport can continue that record of success."


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