View Full Version : [Press] Road Atlanta GTS Race Review: Corvette Wins!

07-01-03, 11:19 PM
From TheRaceSite.com:

<div align="center"><b>Road Atlanta GTS Race Review: Corvette Wins! </b></div>

<b>7/1/2003 - Braselton, GA</b> -- Corvette starts the second stage of the 2003 season off with a win in the GTS class. In an all green flag race the #4 Corvette took victory over the #88 Ferrari 500 by less than twelve seconds. Oliver Gavin and Kelly Collins drove to the win. Peter Kox and Tomas Enge took second in the ProDrive Ferrari.
The victory coincides with Corvette’s 50th Anniversary celebration, taking place simultaneously in Nashville and Bowling Green, Ky. Sunday’s win marks the team’s 30th consecutive podium finish in GTS.

“Our team wanted to win today for a number of different reasons,” said Doug Fehan, GM’s Program Manager for Corvette Racing. “With the Corvette’s 50th birthday party celebration going on right now in Nashville, it feels great to be able to have our car on the top of the podium. It’s an important victory for the team; we wanted to set the record straight after Le Mans because this is a world-class team, competing in a world-class event, with a world-class race car. Somewhere, Zora Arkus-Duntov is looking down on all of this with a smile on his face.”

The #4 Corvette C5-R started from the second position in the GTS field, but lost position on the first lap of the race after a stalled prototype car caused traffic on the grid. Driver Kelly Collins fought back for position during his stint, eventually passing the Ferraris and taking the lead from the #3 Corvette C5-R after 24 minutes. Teammate Oliver Gavin took over shortly before the 1-hour mark and held position.

"At the start we were two by two and bunched up," Collins said of the botched start. "The Panoz in front of me stalled and I tried to avoid hitting him, then everybody went by on the green. The car was fantastic. Oliver and I are new teammates and this is our bonding time for the new team."

"The Ferraris gave a hard fight, but we pulled it off," said Gavin. "It feels great. We're looking forward to having our new car ready for the next race in California."

For the Ferraris the race came down to Enge's early stint. Enge talks of his early mistake and what it cost the team: "I had spun out early in the race. The car was not 100 percent. I tried to get as close as possible to the back of the #3 Corvette. I pushed it too hard, but I didn't loose that much (after the spin), maybe 10 seconds. But that's not the point, that was the race."

After suffering a blown left rear tire shortly after a pit stop on the 46th lap, Johnny O’Connell fought back in the #3 Corvette C5-R to gain lost time. Ron Fellows took over after a quick driver change and, despite a significant time deficit, tracked down the #80 Ferrari and managed to pass with just eight minutes to go, securing Corvette’s two cars on the podium.

“We had some bad luck with a tire puncture and it put us way back in the pack,” said Johnny O’Connell, driver of the #3 Corvette C5-R. “But Ron and I dug deep and fought back and I think it speaks volumes about our resolve. Considering the circumstances we are proud we could put our car on the podium, especially on Corvette’s birthday.”

The next ALMS race will be July 27 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.

07-01-03, 11:56 PM
First time I'd watched one of those. Poor Kenny had to put up (yet again) with my questions about "Why are there so many different styles of cars racing in one race?"
I thought it was exciting. I wish I could have been at Braselton watching as it happened, maybe next time.

07-05-03, 01:00 AM
It's a lot more entertaining to watch than those races where they only make left turns. :L