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Posted: 06/10/13 07:19 AM
Corvette Racing Off to Solid Start in Le Mans
Magnussen fifth, Milner seventh in testing for highly competitive GTE Pro field
LE MANS, France (June 9, 2013) – Corvette Racing successfully worked through its testing program Sunday for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The pair of velocity yellow Compuware Corvette C6.Rs completed eight hours of running with no major issues ahead of the world’s most famous endurance race on June 22-23.
Jan Magnussen set the team’s best time of 3:59.491 (127.3 mph) in the No. 73 Corvette C6.R to finish fifth in the GTE Pro order. Magnussen, driving with Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor, opened and closed the test in differing conditions. The session began cool and damp, but the track eventually dried in the afternoon when the fastest times were set. The No. 73 Corvette turned a class-high 42 laps in the second session.
Meanwhile, Tommy Milner posted the best time in the No. 74 Corvette he shares with Oliver Gavin and Richard Westbrook. Milner’s best effort was a 4:00.319 (126.9 mph). The top six cars in class were separated by less than a second.
“Our guys followed the three golden rules today – don’t hit anything, don’t break anything and stay on the race track,” said Doug Fehan, Program Manager for Corvette Racing. “Considering the weather and track conditions, we feel comfortable with where we are in the program. Recording the fastest lap is never our ultimate objective during this test. Our experience at Le Mans has taught us that speed isn’t the single deciding factor. Our goal is simply to be capable of running a competitive pace and keep our time in pit lane to a minimum with great execution on every stop. You meet those objectives and good results will follow.”
The next time Corvette Racing takes to the circuit at Le Mans is 4 p.m. CET/10 a.m. ET on Wednesday, June 19 for free practice and qualifying. Corvette Racing will go for its eighth class win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans since 2001 at 3 p.m. CET/9 a.m. ET on Saturday, June 22 with coverage on SPEED. Corvette Racing’s last victory at Le Mans came in 2011.
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 73 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R
You were out early in the wet conditions. It had to be less than ideal.
“It wasn’t so nice out there. The track was right in between were the tires work best. Some parts of the track were dry-ish – not quite dry, but at least there was no spray. But it’s good to see the track again and get into the rhythm. But in those conditions you don’t really learn anything. You just get through the motions. I think that laptime-wise we were quite OK considering the conditions when we were out.”
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 73 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R
How much did the track conditions improve in the afternoon?
“Finally we got to put the slick tires on the car, which was good for us because every single lap you can do in the dry here may be very important toward the race. I know It’s only two hours in dry conditions but we just need to focus on making the most of every single lap we can do. I was the first out on slicks in tricky conditions, which wasn’t maybe the best moment for the track (conditions). But at least I got to run a bit in the dry. The car felt quite good, as it has been doing during the season. We still need to double-check how it really goes, but so far it’s heading in the right direction.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 73 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R:
Did you enjoy your return to the Corvette and Le Mans?
“It was good to be back in the car for the first time since Sebring, and first time back at this track since last year’s Le Mans. So it was good. This was the first time I did a run in the rain in this car so I learned a few things, but overall we’re learning as much as we can on a day like this. So far so good.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 74 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R
Were you satisfied with the test day?
“It was a kind of boring first half of the day. It was good to get some wet weather running since we don’t do that a whole lot on those cars. We got a good feeling for the car in the wet. It was good to get some dry running at the end there and prove some of the bits and pieces we’ve developed over the year. We got some new tires from Michelin to try and see how those worked. It’s nice to have sort of a baseline going into race week. For me it was good. I think I could have gone quite a bit quicker; my in-lap would have been quicker and probably have put us right at the front (note: Milner’s sector 1 and sector 2 times were the fastest of the day for the No. 74 car before he pitted). So the pace is good, and the car is comfortable to drive.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 74 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R
The changing weather didn’t do anyone a favor, did it?
“The track was drying out, which was good as it gave us some good data. It looks like we’re there in the ballpark with everybody else so that’s encouraging. But it’s been a frustrating day for everybody; it’s been wet and then it’s been dry again and then wet again. You have one day a year here to test and it was beautiful the week before and it looks like it’s going to be nice next week. It’s frustrating for all but it just so happens that the wet day was today. But the car felt pretty well and things look good for next week.”
RICHARD WESTBROOK, NO. 74 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R
Do you feel confident for the race after today?
“It’s always good to be back at Le Mans. It was a good test for us but it’s clear the competition has stepped up as it always does in GTE Pro. Just when you think it can’t get any tougher it seems to be getting more competitive. We’ve definitely got our hands full this year, and therefore it’s important we focus on our own job and that’s what we did today. The main thing is the car feels good and drivable for 24 hours. We’ve definitely got a good starting point for race week.”