FOR RELEASE: June 12, 2003

Corvette Racing Has Successful Start to 24 Hours of Le Mans

Defending GTS champions start the first two rounds of qualifying with fast times

LE MANS, France - The General Motors Chevrolet Corvette Racing team ran quickly and efficiently in the first two qualifying sessions of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The two Corvette teams will have another chance to qualify their cars during tomorrow's dual session before starting the legendary race on the afternoon of June 14th.

"Although I'm pleased with the overall time we've shown, I think there are a few areas in terms of setup where we can make the cars a bit more comfortable to drive," said Doug Fehan, GM's Program Manager for Corvette Racing. "It's clear that from Open Test in May we've really worked hard on sorting through some software and calibration issues on our intake system and were able to a bit more power down the straight."

The first two-hour qualifying session ran largely without incident, while the later session was marked by a few minor incidents that complicated the team's pre-set engineering schedule. Ron Fellows had an incident with an LMP car shortly before 11:00 p.m. at Tertre Rouge, in what the #53 car driver described as a lift effect that caused him to lose traction and run into the tire barriers in the corner. The car was driven back into the pits, where Fellows's team quickly changed the nose and had the Corvette back on the track.

Oliver Gavin set the time in the #50 car just before the halfway break: "The engineers told me we would be able to do something in the low 3:56 times and I was happy to get into the 3:55 range during the first qualifying session tonight. There were a few areas I could have gone quicker and I probably should have run a bit faster in my out lap, as it even took me three or four corners to get the temperatures up. The car feels better through the Ford and Dunlop chicanes and it's clear we've got a couple of extra miles per hour mph in the straight, which proves our boys did quite a bit of work between Open Test and this week. It's the little things that add up on this track and that's what we're trying to do on these nights before the race."

Said Johnny O'Connell: "I ran through a bit of traffic and wished I would have been able to get in more than three timed laps during the first session, but we're really looking at setting up the car more than going for a hot lap. Our #53 team always does well in endurance races and I think that will be the case this weekend; Ron and Franck and I aren't focusing on one lap - we're focusing on the whole stint. This circuit generally likes a harder compound tire and we're going to take that into account for tomorrow and the race. What we're trying to do isn't to make a dynamite one-lap car, but to find the setup that is solid over 13 or so laps for one of our stints."

GTS Qualifying Results

Pos. Car No. Drivers Team Time
1 88 Davies, Enge, Kox Veloqx Prodrive Ferrari 550 M 3:53:278
2 50 Gavin, Collins, Pilgrim Corvette Racing Corvette C5-R 3:55:613
3 80 Burt, Davidson, Turner Veloqx Prodrive Ferrari 550 M 3:56:267
4 72 Alphand, Dor, Policand Luc Alphand Adventures Ferrari 550 3:56:834
5 53 Fellows, O'Connell, Freon Corvette Racing Corvette C5-R 3:58:941
6 66 Konrad, Seiler, Brun Konrad Motorsports Saleen S7-R 4:02:090
7 86 Bouchut, Goueslard, Zacchia Larbre Competition Chrysler Viper 4:05:193
8 64 Ramos, Chaves, Newton Graham Nash Mtsprts Saleen S7-R 4:07:943
9 68 Metge, Lavieille, Marques Scorp Motorsport Chrysler Viper 4:11:816
10 61 Hezemans, Kumpen, Hart Carsport America Pagani Zonda GR 4:19:885

Serge Vanbockryck

Reilly Brennan
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Mike Stoller