CORVETTE RACING AT LE MANS: Focusing on Race Setup
Compuware Corvettes make progress in first qualifying session
LE MANS, France (June 19, 2013) – With an eye toward its eighth class victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans since 2001, Corvette Racing continued to work toward the ideal race setups for the two Compuware Corvette C6.Rs on Wednesday. Both cars ran through a predetermined program on the opening day of track activity for the world’s greatest endurance event.
Antonio Garcia set the team’s fastest time in the No. 73 Compuware Corvette at 3:59.526, good enough for eighth on the provisional grid in GTE Pro. Oliver Gavin was next in the No. 74 Corvette at 3:59.860. But just as during the official Test Day on June 9, much of the focus remained on fine-tuning both cars for the race that begins Saturday.
The strength of the GTE Pro class was evident Wednesday with the top seven cars within 0.915 seconds with provisional pole position at 3:55.658. So there is room for improvement for Thursday’s two final qualifying sessions.
“I don’t think anyone is completely happy with the performance today,” said Doug Fehan, Corvette Racing Program Manager. “The good news is that we turned a significant number of laps compared to our competitors. But on the flip side, our competitors enjoyed an advantage on lap times and speeds. Fortunately we know what it takes to win Le Mans, and that is perseverance and endurance. That is the advantage of having won this race seven times before. Our guys will use that experience and feedback to improve the car for tomorrow’s final qualifying session.”
The Compuware Corvettes return to the track Thursday for a pair of two-hour sessions beginning at 7 p.m. CET/1 p.m. ET.
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 73 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R
“We’ve been trying to get into our testing program, and we’re still a little bit away from the handling and the setup we thought we were going to have at this point. We made some setup changes from the test till now but they didn’t work the way we thought they would. So right now we’re trying to find a good baseline and the work from that. It seems we’re giving a lot of lap time away in Sector 2, which is the Mulsanne straight, maybe upwards of 1.5 to two seconds. So we still have a little bit of work to do. We also ran a little bit in the wet early on, but the conditions were changing rapidly all the time. I’d have an out-lap where there was spray and then the next lap it dried, so I didn’t get a real good feel for the wet lines.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 73 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R
“It was my first time being the first one on track here in Le Mans. I had stories about going down the Mulsanne and you get all the dust and dirt from the road cars which have used the road right until a few hours before, so that was a cool experience getting those special feelings everyone has probably gotten for the past 90 years. For me it was also about getting used to the car again, coming straight from America where I had driven the Corvette Daytona Prototype (at Mid-Ohio the weekend prior), readjusting myself to the Corvette C6.R. I did a few longer runs, which meant I had to adapt to the constantly changing track conditions, wet-dry, wet-dry. We’re getting closer to the setup as we go on as I think the car wasn’t ideal for all three drivers to begin with, so we’re dialing it in right now and hope to have a good start to the week.”
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 73 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R
“It looks like we’ll have some homework to do between now and tomorrow’s qualifying. The car feels good, but just isn’t fast enough at the moment. I’m confident that by tomorrow night the engineers will have come up with an answer.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 74 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R
“When you look at the outright lap time, we’re 3.5 to four seconds off and no one wants that. But we have won at this event when we’ve been off our fastest competitors. We have the best team in the pitlane to do this. We have the most reliable car. We have a great setup. And of course we have won this race many, many times. I have great faith in how we are going to go out and run the race. We have to keep a logical approach, keep our heads about us and work the problem to go through all the variables. We will come up with a solution and a plan for tomorrow.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 74 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R
“Certainly, we know we have work to do. It’s not where we want to be. We’re off in every aspect. The car that we had at the test felt good – better than what we have now. We need to figure out how to get it to what we had there. What we had at the test was competitive, but our competitors have gone significantly faster and we’ve stayed the same. We have to explore every single detail about our cars and see if we are missing something. The race is Saturday, not tomorrow. So we still have time to work on it and our guys will do that.”
RICHARD WESTBROOK, NO. 74 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R
“It seems like we’ve got a lot on our plate this year. The competition is extremely tough, and the times we are seeing now are quite unbelievable. We seem to be in a division below the other competitors at the moment and we need to get to the bottom of it, quickly. But we’ve got the right guys in the team to do that and pull all the stops out to bring that gap down. The good news is it’s a 24-hour race and normally the fastest car never wins. That said, all is not lost but we’ve definitely got some work to do."
Le Mans 24 Hours (all times CET)
• Qualifying: 7-9 p.m., 10 p.m.-midnight, Thursday
• Warm-up: 9-9:45 a.m., Saturday
• Race: 3 p.m. Saturday-3 p.m., Sunday
Le Mans: Watch It!
Saturday, June 22-Sunday, June 23 (all times EDT)
• SPEED: 8:30 a.m-2 p.m., Saturday; 4-7 p.m., Saturday; 7:30 p.m., Saturday-9:30 a.m., Sunday
• SPEED.com: 2-4 p.m., Saturday; 7-7:30 p.m., Saturday
• Corvette 24-Hour Live Stream: 9 a.m. Saturday-9 a.m. Sunday