The 2009 season marks Corvette Racing's 10th anniversary in international road racing. The team made its competition debut in February 1999 in the Daytona 24-hour race, finishing third and 12th. Since that modest start, Corvette Racing has become one of the world's premier production sports car teams, winning eight consecutive ALMS GT1 manufacturers and team championships and seven straight ALMS GT1 drivers' titles.
Corvette Racing won 77 of the 105 races it contested through June 2009. The team's list of accomplishments includes 54 one-two finishes, six class victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, seven class wins in the Sebring 12-hour enduro, seven class titles in the 1,000-mile/10-hour Petit Le Mans, and an overall victory in the Daytona 24-hour race.
The 2009 season is a year of transition for Corvette Racing. The team competed in the GT1 class in the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and the Grand Prix of Long Beach in preparation for its 10th participation in the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 13-14. Following its return from France, Corvette Racing began its transition to the GT2 category at the Mid-Ohio round of the ALMS as the team prepared for the 2010 season program under new global GT rules.
Corvette Racing revised its driver lineup for the 2009 American Le Mans Series and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Antonio Garcia joins defending ALMS GT1 champions Johnny O'Connell and Jan Magnussen in the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R for the Sebring 12-hour, Le Mans 24-hour, and 1000-mile Petit Le Mans endurance races. Marcel Fassler is teamed with 2005-07 GT1 champions Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta in the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R in the three long-distance races. Canadian Ron Fellows, a member of Corvette Racing since its inception, continues with the team in an advisory and ambassadorial role.
The Corvette C6.R race program continues Chevrolet's tradition of racing production-based vehicles to improve the breed. It is a commitment that has taken Chevy's two-seater from the runways of Sebring in the '50s to Le Mans in the 21st century. The continuous exchange of information and the constant transfer of technology between the racing and production programs ensure that lessons learned on the track benefit every Corvette on the highway.
Corvette Racing has followed the strategy first mapped out by legendary racer/engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov to put Corvette in the racing spotlight. Duntov launched Corvette on a motorsports odyssey that has taken the marque to race tracks around the world. It is a plan that still inspires those who have followed in Duntov's footsteps.
"More than 50 years ago, Zora Arkus-Duntov, the godfather of Corvette Racing, conceived the Corvette SS race car to put Corvette squarely in the arena of international endurance racing," said Ed Peper, North American Vice President, Chevrolet. "As we reflect on Corvette Racing's record of success over the last decade, it's clear that the Corvette C6.R has realized Zora's dream.
"Corvette Racing sets the standard for engineering excellence, preparation and commitment in the American Le Mans Series," Peper said. "The team prepares and races with all of the passion and skill that have made Corvette Racing a premier production sports car racing team. The drivers, mechanics, engineers, support personnel and team managers of Corvette Racing have made everyone at Chevrolet proud."
For all of the team's success in the last 10 seasons, perhaps its most significant victory to date was its overall win in the inaugural ALMS Green Challenge on Oct. 4, 2008, a "race within a race" contested in conjunction with Petit Le Mans. Working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S Department of Energy, and SAE International, the series organizers and the Argonne National Laboratory determined the "greenest" entries in the Prototype and GT classes based on energy used, greenhouse gases emitted, and petroleum fuels displaced. The Green Challenge was designed to recognize the fastest car with the smallest environmental impact - and when the results were tallied, Corvette Racing's No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R had the best score among the 37 entries, securing the GT team award for Corvette Racing and the GT manufacturer award for GM.
Corvette Racing has also won accolades away from the track. In February 2006, the championship-winning Corvette C6.R race car was named the "North American Car of the Year" over marques such as Audi, Aston Martin and Maserati by dailysportscar.com, a noted online magazine that provides in-depth coverage of sports car and GT series worldwide. In November 2006, Corvette Racing's LS7.R small-block V-8 was honored as the "Global Motorsport Engine of the Year" at the inaugural Professional Motorsport World Expo in Cologne, Germany. The award was voted by an expert panel of 50 key race engine engineers representing the spectrum of motorsports.
The Corvette C6.R race car is the most technically advanced sports car ever developed by GM, combining sophisticated chassis, powertrain and aerodynamic technology developed by GM Racing with the advanced engineering of the sixth-generation Corvette, Corvette Z06, and Corvette ZR1 production models. The Corvette C6.R has strong links to its showroom counterpart, as required by the ALMS and Le Mans rules that mandate close adherence to production specifications. For example, the same hydroformed frame rails used in production Corvettes provide a strong foundation for the race cars. The race-prepared LS7.R engine shares its architecture with the production 505-horsepower LS7 small-block V-8 that powers the Corvette Z06.
"We have a saying that we race around the clock and win around the world," explained Chevy Racing marketing manager Todd Christensen. "The coverage that the Corvette Racing team receives has propelled Corvette and Chevrolet onto the world stage. The people who own Corvettes are very aware of the product, and they understand how racing enhances the cars they drive."
For more than 50 years, racing has played a key role in defining Corvette as America's performance icon. Corvette's first class victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1956 was the first step onto the world stage that established its reputation as a contender in top-level competition. Now, with eight ALMS manufacturers championships, seven drivers championships and six GT1 class victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, America's favorite sports car now stands at the pinnacle of international endurance racing.
Chevy Racing Communications
Chevy Racing Communications