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Driver Swap For Corvette At Mosport

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On: Fri, Aug 27, 2010 at 4:51PM | By: John Welch

Driver Swap For Corvette At Mosport

Corvette Racing is used to winning everything, with relative ease. That was the case during the better part of this century, when GT1 was viable and the team dominated all comers with their C5 and C6.Rs. Switching to GT2 (now simply 'GT') has caused a few wrinkles in the yellow-and-black armor, and Doug Fehan, Corvette Racing Director, is doing the best to win with what he has. Namely, new cars, in a new class, but veteran drivers, all of which are consummate professionals.

They nearly took the GT2 crown at Le Mans this year; if it wasn't for Anthony Davidson and his over enthusiastic prototype piloting. Though not racing for position, or even in the same class, Davidson's Peugeot punted the GT2-leading Corvette ZR1 off the track following the Mulsanne Straight, totally uncalled for. This incident is indicative of Corvette Racing's GT2 campaign as a whole; supremely promising, but with severe setbacks. Only one win to show, the 2009 Mobil 1 Grand Prix of Mosport, does not properly illustrate the effort the team has put forth. Dynamic rules in GT1 allowed carbon brakes, relocated engines, and full-floor diffusers, not so in GT2. The GT2 Corvette ZR1 is a totally new car, with half the prowess of the old C6.R. And it hasn't worked too well so far.

With this in mind Fehan is shaking up his driver pairings. No one is losing their job, as Corvette Racing employs four of the best drivers in the world. The team is simply rearranging its line up, separating Olivier Beretta and Oliver Gavin. Gavin will pair with Jan Magnusson, as they did for endurances races during the 2004-'06 seasons. Johnny O' Connell and Beretta will drive together for the first time, but again, these are total professionals; there should be no serious hassle with the driver change.

"This change was made in consultation with all four drivers, and they are in complete agreement that this is the way forward," said Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. "Corvette Racing is one team that campaigns two cars. The mechanics, engineers, drivers, and managers all work together for a single goal—to have a Corvette in the winner's circle. Everyone understands that when one Corvette wins, the entire team wins. With our revised driver lineup at Mosport, we are confident that we will have the two strongest possible entries in the extremely competitive GT class."

"Although racing is a technology-driven sport, there is also an important human element," said Fehan. "To compete at this level, the drivers must have absolute confidence in their car and be totally comfortable with its setup. By realigning our driver pairings to better match setup preferences, Corvette Racing is seeking to minimize compromises in the car setups and maximize our on-track performance. Tailoring each car to the driving styles of the respective driver pairs will provide the most competitive two-car effort."

And that's the point, isn't it? Field the most competitive cars you can, no matter what must be done to accomplish said goal. Corvette Racing isn't a bunch of rubes struggling for a podium; these are battle-hardened, professional teams that might just repeat their success from last season this weekend at Mosport.

The American Le Mans Series' next event is the Mobil 1 presents the Grand Prix of Mosport at Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. The two-hour, 45-minute race will start at 3:05 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 29. The race will be televised tape-delayed on SPEED from 4 – 7 p.m. ET. Live radio coverage will be available on American Le Mans Radio, Sirius Channel 127, and XM Channel 242.

Image Gallery, featuring last year’s Corvette Triumph in Ontario, is courtesy of the ALMS.

Photo Gallery (click a thumbnail to enlarge)


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