practice Pays Off - Corvette Racing

by : Joe Thompson

Corvette Racing etched a good name series. This is because of one thing - PRACTICE. Rigorous practice makes the team one of the most sought-after in today's time. Despite little outside competition for the team, Corvette Racing has taken the early portion of this year's season to test every aspect of the cars in preparation for the Le Mans, France race as well as the world's premier endurance race.

The most famous car race in the world will include highly-sophisticated sports cars with the 15 competitors in GT1, including five Corvettes. The 2007 Le Mans race entertained both an upgrade in quality and an increase in quantity. "We think we'll win for the fourth time at Le Mans because we have the best team. They know the car inside and out," said Oliver Gavin of Corvette Racing. "The crew will be well-drilled."

Corvette Racing has known all along that the upcoming race will be stiff with rivals from Aston Martin, Saleen and other Corvettes. Preparation is paramount and the team has taken the five races in the American Le Mans Series season to fine tune the elements of the team.

"Aston Martin will be there and we beat them last year. Everyone is waiting for that," said Olivier Beretta. "It's difficult to know what the other competition is like at Le Mans. We have very good preparation and have a very good team with Michelin."

From the beginning of the season, the drivers of the Corvettes have flaunted their excellence as the two C6.Rs fought for the top spot in every race. "It was a very important day for us because it was the last practice before Le Mans," said Beretta. "We had to finish with the car in one piece. We went through three street races without any accidents and now we've completed a successful Michelin tire test. We are ready to go to the big one now."

"It was a perfectly executed race and we learned a tremendous amount. I think we've made a very good tire selection for Le Mans. The last compound we had on looked really good, so we're excited about that. We'll be as prepared as possible," said Doug Fehan, the Corvette Racing program manager. With engines roaring, shining bright, and hood left widely open, the pool of engineers significantly made improvements.

"Corvette has made a lot of improvements to the cars as far as driver cooling and driver comfort with the new cooling system and that should pay dividends in a 24-hour race," said Johnny O'Connell. The improvements and the consistent testing have paid dividends for the team. Those efforts were apparent in the first test session at the Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans.

"Some people wondered why we were racing in the American Le Mans Series even though we had little competition, and I think the test day result provides a clear answer," said Fehan. "We've done a tremendous amount of work over the winter and early this season, and the testing that we've done with Michelin has been outstanding. The drivers, engineers and mechanics did another exceptional job, and that's one of the reasons why Corvette Racing is successful."

"When we look at things, this will probably be our most difficult Le Mans. Every year our cars have finished the race and finished on the podium. We won't be the fastest but we'll be the toughest," concluded O'Connell.

The 75th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is scheduled for three in the afternoon CET on Saturday, June 16 from the Circuit de la Sarthe.