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Aug 06, 2014 - 04:02 PM
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Corvette Racing At Road America: Back On Hallowed Ground
Posted by: newsla on Aug 06, 2014 - 03:52 PM
USCR News
Corvette Racing At Road America: Back On Hallowed Ground


Four Corvette Daytona Prototypes and the Corvette Racing team’s two Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs will contend for class victories this weekend at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

 

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One year ago, the landmark 4.048-mile, 14-turn track served as the site of a coming together of U.S. sports car racing as the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series competed on the same weekend. Fast-forward to the present day and the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship is headed back to Road America with Corvette Racing ready to make an impact of its own.

Corvette Racing: In a Familiar Place

Whether it’s for testing or racing, Corvette Racing has plenty of laps in-hand at Road America. Since 2002, the team has six class victories to its credit at the circuit – the last coming in 2008. Corvette Racing also routinely tests at Road America ahead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In addition, it’s where the team conducted its first test of the Corvette C7.R last August.

In 2013, both of Corvette Racing’s two entries made the GT podium in the American Le Mans Series’ race. Class champions Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen were second in the No. 3 Corvette C6.R with Oliver Gavin – a four-time pole winner at Road America – and Tommy Milner third in their No. 4 Corvette.

The ALMS’ GT class has transitioned into the TUDOR Championship’s GT Le Mans (GTLM) class with many of the same competitors. Garcia and Magnussen lead the class championship with four victories this year in the No. 3 Corvette C7.R. Meanwhile, Gavin and Milner are fifth in the No. 4 Corvette.

Corvette Racing’s performance also has Chevrolet in the lead of the GTLM manufacturer standings. The No. 3 Corvette heads the class team championship.

Corvette DP: Overdue for Road America Victory

Two weeks ago, the Corvette Daytona Prototype program scored its first victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The four Corvette DPs will look for a repeat at Road America, a place Chevrolet would very much like to capture an overall victory. The Bowtie brand continues to lead the Prototype manufacturer standings with three races to go.

Action Express Racing’s Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi enter Road America as the Prototype championship leaders following their win at IMS in their No. 5 Corvette DP. The duo placed second in last year’s Road America round and led the Corvette DP contingent.

Burt Frisselle finished third with brother Brian in a second Action Express Corvette DP in 2013. This time around, he will fill in again for Boris Said in Marsh Racing’s No. 31 Corvette DP alongside Eric Curran. Spirit of Daytona Racing’s duo of Michael Valiante and Richard Westbrook, who set the fastest lap of the 2012 Rolex Series race, look for a fourth straight podium following a win, a pair of runner-up finishes and a third-place in the last four races.

Wayne Taylor Racing’s Jordan Taylor and Ricky Taylor fell to second in the driver standings after Indianapolis behind Barbosa and Fittipaldi. The Taylors are two points back in the championship.

FOX Sports 1’s television coverage of the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase starts at 6:30 p.m. ET Sunday. Live coverage of qualifying begins at 4:20 p.m. ET Friday on IMSA.com.

GTLM QUOTES

ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R

“Road America has a great reputation not just in America but Europe as well. It has a little bit of European style to it with the layout and length. Plus there are a couple of large areas of gravel runoff areas for runoff. It is very fast and requires a car that has the right balance between downforce and low-drag. Corvette Racing has a very good history at Road America in the ALMS and with our testing program for Le Mans. Jan and I finished second last year in the final race there with the Corvette C6.R. I am hoping the testing we have done with the C7.R last year and in May will give us that little bit we need to capture victory.”

JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R

“The first time I was at Road America was in a Champ Car. The place demands a lot of respect. It has some very fast corners like the Carousel and the Kink that if you get it wrong – especially in the Kink – it will mean a big crash. It’s also a place where if you are a little brave and skilled, it can make a difference. But I think that’s why the track appeals to so many people and they have it as one of their favorite tracks in the world. When we go there for our Le Mans testing, we are testing low-downforce packages. That is the key to a fast lap time at Le Mans. I think we’ll run the cars a little differently for this race because we will make everything 100 percent for Road America and not Le Mans.”

OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R

“It’s one of those circuits that as long as you are using a bit of controlled aggression and you’re pushing the limits – maybe you have to exit and use a little bit of curb here and there – it does make a difference. You can chip away and gain ground on the car in front. It is a tough track to race. It presents a compromise between how much downforce you run to how little drag you want. There are some circumstances where you can go around Road America quicker in a low-downforce setting versus a high-downforce setup. So you have both ends of the spectrum where certain cars are quicker in certain sections due to the amounts of downforce and drag. It’s a perfect mix.”

TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R

“While there is quite a bit of start-stop and some hard brake zones, Road America still has a great flow and rhythm to it. As we’ve seen over the years, it’s a great track for us. Because we have these big brake zones, it allows us to make our passing opportunities. It’s a great track for sports car racing and one that has a lot of history. We tested the car before Le Mans in quite a different spec than what we would run for outright lap time at Road America, which is basically adding downforce to the car. That seems to be the quicker way around the track. You wouldn’t run as much as you would at a place like Long Beach but certainly a lot more than what we ran at the test earlier this year. But you can pull some information from the tires we ran on the test days and how the responded to the track surface; that sort of data is helpful.”

DOUG FEHAN, CORVETTE RACING PROGRAM MANAGER

“There are so many reasons to love Road America, not the least of which is the racing. Four miles of extreme speed, huge elevation changes and some of the greatest corners in North America make this place one of our favorites. Not to mention this is the site of the very first Corvette Corral. Our fans here know exactly what challenges we are now facing. Rest assured, we are going to collect as many points as we possible can to stay atop the rankings in the run for our third straight championship.”

PROTOTYPE QUOTES

RICHARD WESTBROOK, NO. 90 SPIRIT OF DAYTONA CORVETTE DP

“Road America is one of my favorites. For me, it's the North American version of Spa Francorchamps. We always have had good pace in Elkhart Lake but Lady Luck has not been on our side the last two years. Road America has a bit of everything: some slow-speed and high-speed corners including the Carousel, which is one of the best corners out there. Good aero balance is key for this corner but it is very hard on the tires. With our recent strong runs, we are in the title hunt so another podium will be needed to continue to stay in contention for the last two events.”

MICHAEL VALIANTE, NO. 90 SPIRIT OF DAYTONA CORVETTE DP

“With so few races left, we have to keep pushing hard to close the gap in points. Road America is a great track and getting a good lap in there is awesome for the drivers. I think the Kink is probably my favorite corner.”

JIM LUTZ, CORVETTE DAYTONA PROTOTYPE PROGRAM MANAGER

“Road America is one of North America’s great race tracks. Winning there is no easy task, and everyone within the Corvette DP program is anxious to make that happen this year. Its long straightaways mix with a combination of low- to medium-speed corners and high-speed bends that the mettle of every driver. The key to success at Road America is aerodynamic balance – the amount of downforce and drag a team chooses. As always, we’ve worked with our partners at Pratt & Miller, ECR and our teams to develop the best possible optimum setup for our Corvette DPs.”

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