Chevy Racing–CORVETTE DPs AT COTA: Closing in on a Championship

CORVETTE DPs AT COTA: Closing in on a Championship
Corvette Daytona Prototypes have won last seven TUDOR races

· Chevrolet leads by 26 points in Prototype Engine Manufacturer championship

· Top three Corvette DP driver pairings separated by two points

· Corvette Daytona Prototype a winner at COTA in 2013 Rolex Series

DETROIT (Sept. 16, 2015) – One of the tightest championship fights in recent sports car racing history heads to palatial Circuit of The Americas this weekend with the Corvette Daytona Prototype program leading the way.

Corvette DPs are on a seven-race winning streak in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship dating back to March and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Since that span, all four Corvette DP driver pairings have won at least one race.

The results have Chevrolet in ideal position to earn a fourth consecutive Prototype Engine Manufacturer title. With two races remaining, the Bowtie Brand leads by 26 points with 70 points remaining. The winning manufacturer receives 35 points and runner-up 32 points. A Corvette DP won in its first race at Circuit of The Americas in 2013 during the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series.

“Seven straight wins in the TUDOR Championship is no small feat,” said Jim Lutz, Chevrolet Program Manager for Corvette Daytona Prototypes. “It starts with great working relationships with our technical partners and teams. Those will be key again to winning at Circuit of The Americas. It is the only track that we have not won in the TUDOR Championship and we are all eager to change that. The track layout should give an advantage to the cars generating higher downforce levels, but as we’ve seen our Corvette DPs have been fast, efficient and reliable. We hope for more of the same this weekend.”

Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiante in Racing’s No. 90 Corvette DP stand first in points on the strength of victories at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Watkins Glen. Only two points separate the top three driver pairings in the standings – all of whom drive Corvette DPs.

Sebring winners Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi of Action Express Racing second in their No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP. The defending TUDOR Prototype champions have five podium finishes – tied with Westbrook and Valiante for most on the season.

Action Express Racing teammates Eric Curran and Dane Cameron are third in points following their second victory of the year at Road America in the most recent race for Prototypes. The pairing broke through for their first victory on Detroit’s Belle Isle street circuit.

Jordan Taylor and Ricky Taylor also have won two races this year in their Wayne Taylor Racing No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP. The two brothers claimed victories at Long Beach and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park; they are fifth in points.

For the 2015 TUDOR Championship, all Corvette DP cars are running with updated Chevrolet bodywork that reflects the Corvette C7 production line. The frontal area sees a striking change in design from the previous generation Corvette DP, including updates to the hood surface, headlights and radiator inlet area. The rear window area also has been updated. The Corvette DP will take styling cues from the C7 including the rear taillights.

At the heart of the Corvette Daytona Prototype is a purpose-built 5.5-liter Chevrolet LS9 V-8 engine developed by ECR Engines. The peak output is 560 hp as the power is regulated by a pair of sonic air restrictors that are mandated by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) – the sanctioning body of the TUDOR Championship.

The Corvette DP also features a new engine management system from Bosch Motorsport for 2015 and a continuation of a six-speed sequential gearbox with paddle-shift. The brakes feature six-piston calipers with carbon rotors. Without the driver, the Corvette DP weighs 2,285 pounds.

The Lone Star Le Mans race for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship is set for 11:35 a.m. CT on Saturday, Sept. 19 and is the ninth race of the 2015 season for Corvette DPs. It will air live on FOX Sports 2 and again at 1:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 20 on FOX Sports 1. Flag-to-flag radio coverage also will be available via IMSA Radio.

JOAO BARBOSA, ACTION EXPRESS RACING NO. 5 MUSTANG SAMPLING CORVETTE DP: “I’m looking forward to going there again. Circuit of the Americas is a terrific facility, very modern with nice facilities for everyone. Our team has been very fast all year and I look for that to continue when we get to Austin.
“The competition this year has been extremely tough so repeating as champions won’t be easy. The top-three teams in the standings have been very close all year and therefor there has been no runaway. Winning a championship shouldn’t be easy and this year will certainly be difficult. It’s more fun in a way because you have to go for wins, winning the final two races will ensure a championship but that sounds much easier than it actually is.”

JORDAN TAYLOR, WAYNE TAYLOR RACING NO. 10 KONICA MINOLTA CORVETTE DP: “It’s essentially a sprint race for us but, at the same time, it’s still two hours and 40 minutes long. You’re not going to win the race in the first corner. Some guys are really aggressive in the beginning of races, like turn one of lap one. Sometimes it works for them, sometimes it turns into a big mess.
“Last year, somebody else’s aggressiveness turned into a huge mess for us. We hope to have a clean two-hour, 40-minute race this time, like most of our races have seemed to be this year – mostly green all the way. Everybody seems to be a lot calmer and racing a lot more cleanly this year.”

DANE CAMERON, ACTION EXPRESS RACING NO. 31 WHELEN ENGINGEERING/TEAM FOX CORVETTE DP: “I’m looking forward to getting back to COTA. It’s going to be a lot of fun in a high downforce Corvette DP with the track being designed for Formula 1 cars. There is a huge range of corners and straightaways, so being technically accurate will be critical.
“Eric and I will really look to use COTA as a place where we can move up one spot or maybe jump to the lead in the championship standings. It’s the last sprint race of the season so you’ve got to nail everything perfectly because you don’t have time to recover. We’ve had strong runs lately with our Whelen Corvette DP, obviously the win at Road America in our last race, but we were extremely strong at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park as well.
“I don’t anticipate any large swings in the points after COTA, the top-three teams have demonstrated great consistency all season and I would look for that to continue. However, if one of the contenders does slip up you have to be ready to capitalize on that and I feel that Eric and I are in a position to do that.

RICHARD WESTBROOK, VISITFLORIDA.COM NO. 90 CORVETTE DP: “Having raced on United States-style circuits all year, it’s a bit different going to COTA. It’s like the typical, modern F1 circuit, which I was accustomed to when I was racing in the GT1 World Championship and so forth. I do like those sorts of tracks but it’s very different from places like Road America, Road Atlanta and Watkins Glen. Obviously there is a lot more runoff area, smoother surface, and it’s going to require a much different setup.
“It’s pretty tight in the points right now. I think we’ll try to come away from COTA with our points lead intact and we’ll just take the fight to the others at Petit Le Mans.”