Corvette Racing Wins Class
In Sebring 12-Hour Race


Chevrolet Corvette C6-R
C6.R finishes third overall in classic endurance contest

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26th March, 2006

Corvette Racing celebrated Corvette's 50th anniversary in international road racing with a splendid GT1 class victory in the Twelve Hours of Sebring, held in Florida last Sunday. The Compuware Corvette C6.R driven by Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Jan Magnussen ran like clockwork throughout the 12-hour endurance race, outpacing all rivals to finish first in the GT1 category and third overall with a one-lap victory margin over their Aston Martin class rivals. Driving the second factory entry, Ron Fellows, Johnny O'Connell and Max Papis finished fourth in GT1 and seventh overall in their Compuware Corvette C6.R following a hard-fought battle with the second Aston Martin in the closing laps.

Sunshine Aston Martin 
Southport QLD

    "It was a brilliant victory because this is the 50th year of racing for Corvette, a heritage that began here in Sebring with a win in 1956," said Englishman Oliver Gavin, who notched up this third Sebring title for Corvette. "We're absolutely delighted," he added.

    The Sebring victory extended the No 4 Corvette C6.R's winning streak in the world's great endurance races. Piloting this car, the Gavin/Beretta/Magnussen trio won the GT1 class in last year's 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Petit Le Mans series. GT1 co-champions Gavin and Beretta have now won every race in their last six starts, a victorious streak that began in Portland, USA in July 2005.

"Each time I win a race with Corvette Racing, I always think, wow that was a good one!" said Beretta, who set the ALMS record for most career victories with his 25th win. "It looks like every time we go to a race that we need to win, it is another fantastic victory. The car ran super fast, and we didn't have any problems at all," Beretta reported. "We just refuelled, put on new tyres, and we got the trophy as a team."

The team’s second Corvette C6.R had to overcome a stop-and-go penalty following the first pit stop and a gearbox problem at the midpoint of the race. Repairs to the gearbox dropped the car to fifth in class, 13 laps behind the leaders. The team battled back as Fellows, O'Connell and Papis all did extended stints behind the wheel to claim fourth place. With just 15 minutes to go, Papis trailed Tomas Enge’s Aston Martin by 1.9 seconds in a fight for the final spot on the podium. Papis cut Enge's advantage to the slimmest 0.24-seconds in the final laps, but could not pull off a pass.

"We had an advantage in the middle and end of the stint, thanks to the Michelin tyres that were holding up better than the other guys' tyres," Papis explained. "The Aston Martin definitely had a top speed advantage on the straights. I tried to pressure Enge into making a mistake, but he didn't make one. It was a fair battle, and they ultimately finished ahead of us."

The Gavin/Beretta/Magnussen Corvette C6.R took the class lead at one hour into the race when the second Corvette was called to the pits for a pit lane speed violation, and never relinquished the lead in the remaining 11 hours. During a safety car period at the 5-hour mark, the leading Corvette gained a one-lap advantage that subsequently sealed the victory.

"We said all along that it was going to be a close race between Corvette and Aston Martin, and all of the things that were done by the organisers to balance these rival cars performance were done for the fans," said Corvette Racing programme manager Doug Fehan.

Corvette Racing’s next event, the second round of the 10-race ALMS, is the inaugural Lone Star Grand Prix in Houston, USA on Friday night, 12th May.

Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring GT1 Class Results



1. Gavin/Beretta/Magnussen

Chevrolet Corvette C6.R


2. Bright/Lamy/Sarrazin

Aston Martin DBR9


3. Enge/Kiesa/Turner

Aston Martin DBR9


4. O’Connell/Fellows/Papis

Chevrolet Corvette C6.R


5. Weickardt/Borcheller/Belloc

Saleen S7R


6. Ruberti/Babini/Davis

Saleen S7R


Other Chevrolet news: here.

Other GM news: here.

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