Chevy Racing–Corvette Racing at Le Mans

CORVETTE RACING AT LE MANS: First Laps at Le Mans for Corvette C7.R
Test Day goals accomplished; Gavin fourth and Magnussen sixth
LE MANS, France (June 1, 2014) – Corvette Racing successfully ran through its test program ahead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans today as the two Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs turned their first laps around the circuit in the Sarthe region of France. Both Corvette C7.Rs ran virtually trouble-free during the pair of four-hour sessions two weeks before the famed endurance race June 14-15.
Four-time Le Mans winner Oliver Gavin set the fourth-fastest time of the GTE Pro field in the No. 74 Corvette at 3:58.403 (127.878 mph), set in the afternoon session. Gavin, partnering with past Le Mans winner Tommy Milner and Richard Westbrook, also was the quickest Corvette Racing driver in the morning session.
Jan Magnussen was the fastest driver in the No. 73 Corvette C7.R and sixth in GTE Pro with a lap of 3:59.192 (127.443 mph), set late in the second session. Another four-time Le Mans winner, the Dane was the first driver in the No. 73 to start the day and was the last driver in at the end of the session. He drives with Antonio Garcia – the pairing have won the last two races in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship – and Jordan Taylor.
The two Corvettes recorded considerable number of laps around 8.3-mile circuit. The No. 73 car completed 45 laps – tied for the most in class – during testing with the No. 74 posting 44. The top six cars were within two seconds, which bodes well for a competitive race.
With seven class victories at Le Mans since 2001, Corvette Racing and Chevrolet rank among the most successful teams and manufacturers to compete at Le Mans in the modern era.
The next time Corvette Racing takes to the circuit at Le Mans is 4 p.m. CET/10 a.m. ET on Wednesday, June 11 for free practice and qualifying. Corvette Racing will go for its eighth class win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans since 2001 at 3 p.m. CET/9 a.m. ET on Saturday, June 14 with live coverage on SPEED.
“The Chevrolet Corvette C7.R is a major step forward compared to last year’s car. So far we’ve worked on our usual, annual to-do-list for Le Mans, and everything is going to plan. With the new car we of course have a lot more work to do than with the previous car, which was always a known package. But so far everything we tried and at Road America seems to be working here and we’re definitely going in the right direction.”
“We just improved the car as we went along. It was very hard to already find a race setup given the conditions of the track (green and dirty after a year). All three of us were happy with the changes we made, and we specifically made some good progress on the brakes. We came here with a car that was very good straight out of the box, so we could stick to the plan we had set ourselves to do today.”
“I didn’t get too much time in the car yet. So far I’ve tested the car at Road America, so it was good to spend half a day in Le Mans. The car feels quite comfortable. That’s the most important thing here in Le Mans – to have a car you feel comfortable driving and which all three drivers feel comfortable with setup wise. All three of us are happy with where we are and we are definitely looking forward to the race.”
“The track was very dirty in the beginning and it took a while to be good enough. Everybody seemed to waiting for the track to become nice and clean. By the second half of the morning session is was good enough for everybody to work with it. All in all it’s been a good first run with the C7.R here in Le Mans. The car seems to be very predictable here. It does what we want it to do.”
“We went through our program of changes and ideas to make the car better, both in handling and performance. I’m fairly happy with where we are now. After all the changes we made, I did a run on new tires early in the afternoon session and the car felt a lot better than this morning on used tires. This is a first good test for the Corvette C7.R here, and things have been a lot better so far than last year around the same time.”
“The first few laps were pretty strange, having raced in the Detroit TUDOR Championship race less than 24 hours before. There are probably no two more opposite cars like the Corvette DP and the Corvette C7.R, just like there are no two more opposite tracks like Belle Isle and Le Mans. Other than that the car felt really good with no major issues so all I had to do was to make sure I felt comfortable. I’m quite looking forward to the race the week after next.”
“Unlike in years past when there was a huge differential between the different types of cars, this year they are all pretty closely bunched together. This is of course testament to the efforts made by the sanctioning body in creating a very good balance of performance. We’re pleased with where we are on a performance standpoint and are looking forward to qualifying in 10 days with the new Corvette C7.Rs.”