I was only supposed to get my 10 laps in and I guess I got a bit greedy trying to learn the track and get up to speed quicker…
Corvette Racing and the 24 Hours of Le Mans go way back – well, at least as far back as twelve years goes anyway for the current incarnation of the team, and with that rich history has come many victories. In hopes of keeping with the tradition of amazing Le Mans finishes for the 2012 season, Corvette Racing recently participated in the Le Mans Test Day for the upcoming race on June 16th and 17th. Although things got a little bit hairy during the two four-hour test sessions for rookie driver Jordan Taylor on Sunday, the team seems to be in tip-top shape for qualifying come June 13th according to a Corvette Racing news update we found on CorvetteBlogger.
The first and foremost goal of Sunday’s test day was to get 21-year-old Corvette Racing newbie Jordan Taylor (who co-drove the winning Autohaus Motorsports Camaro GT.R at the Grand-Am Detroit 200 last Saturday) qualified to compete in the famed endurance race. In order to do this, Taylor had to complete at least 10, 8.5-mile long laps during one of the testing sessions, which he did. With every lap Taylor completed, he became seemingly more comfortable with the track, producing better times every lap.
But, while the rookie was getting his feet wet at a noble pace, things went awry when Taylor had a run-in with a tire wall.
“I was only supposed to get my 10 laps in and I guess I got a bit greedy trying to learn the track and get up to speed quicker,” Taylor explained in the Corvette Racing update. “My times were coming down every lap, but I went for it in the Porsche Curves and it caught me out. The hit felt bigger than it was, so I’m glad about that, but I feel terrible for everyone.”
Although damage occurred to the No. 73 Compuware C6.R, team Manager Gary Pratt didn’t seem overly concerned.
“This place will jump up and bite you in a hurry,” Pratt said in the Corvette Racing update. “That’s the first mistake I’ve seen Jordan make. Tire walls look like they do a lot of damage, but it’s mostly exterior panels so it’s not a big deal. We’ll have the No. 73 Corvette fixed and be ready to go again.”
While qualifying Taylor was a top priority for Corvette Racing on Sunday, Le Mans Test Day also acted as an overall productive practice for the other team drivers. Sunday’s test day was the first and only time the team could take advantage of time behind the wheel of the new wide-body, 2012-spec C6.Rs on the French track before official qualifying and practice starts in a week and a half, but the total of eight hours proved to be beneficial for the drivers.
Although Corvette Racing finished first in the GTE class last year at Le Mans, returning drivers were under the consensus that the 2012 cars are much improved from last year.
“Overall we’re in much better shape than last year at the same time thanks to the development the team did over winter,” Jan Magnussen was quoted as saying in the update. “The balance is very good and the car is user-friendly which is important in a long race. The starting point is the best I’ve had in a long time, and I’m really happy.”
With the reconfigured cars, No. 74 C6.R driver Oliver Gavin ran the fastest lap time of the event at 3 minutes, 58.971 seconds, over a half second faster than the team’s qualifying time last year. The No. 73 C6.R laid down the fourth fastest time with a lap time of 4 minutes, 0.062 seconds.
“We made some changes to the suspension and gearbox, and the track was coming in,” said Gavin after his fast lap, according to the update. “The balance of the car was good. We didn’t get a run on new tires because of rain and yellow flags, but the tires were reasonably fresh and I wanted to see what we could do. I think the chassis is very close and the engine department is making big steps forward. I’m with the best team in the pit lane and the crew has done a stellar job of preparing the cars.”
Corvette Racing will take on the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 16th and 17th, and you can bet we’ll be cheering for another first place win like last year. For more information on the latest update from Corvette Racing, visit CorvetteBlogger.com.