While third and seventh place finishes for Corvette Racing might not be very astonishing feats at first glance, after considering all the adversity the team faced at the Baltimore Grand Prix, finishing at all, let alone placing that high, is an incredible accomplishment. We recently brought you the story of how Corvette Racing was preparing to run on the brand new Baltimore street course, and the 2-hour street race turned out to be every bit as much of a battle as they anticipated.
Friday, September 2nd, the Compuware Corvette Racing C6.R’s set their tires to the Baltimore street course for the very first time, and after just 75 short minutes of practice the Corvette Racing team went straight to work in qualifying. The team turned in impressive performances with Jan Magnussen qualifying second in the No. 4 Corvette, and Tommy Milner qualifying fifth in the No. 3 car. Milner was bumped up into the fourth qualifying spot after Patrick Long in the No. 45 Porsche was disqualified for “unjustifiable risk.”
After his impressive qualifying performance, Magnussen told the reporters from www.corvetteracing.com, “We didn’t have a lot of time to make changes or to find a good rhythm, so I’m very pleased with the work that the Corvette Racing engineers did. All in all, I’m happy with the car. Now we have to work with the extra bit of data we have, and I think there is more speed to come. The walls get closer and closer the harder you push – that’s all part of it. “
The next day, Saturday, September 3rd, the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix got started with a bang, and not in a good way for the Corvette Racing team. Going into the very first turn of the race, Magnussen got trapped against the wall by a car coming in hard from the inside, and found himself watching nearly the entire field pass him. The No. 4 was dropped from a stellar start in 2nd place, all the way down to 12th.
Oliver Beretta in the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R came out of the traffic jam in the first turn in second place, only to later spin out and find himself dropped into sixth place. Beretta was able to move the No.3 car back into 3rd place before handing over the Corvette to Tommy Milner at the 47 minute mark.
After being trapped against the wall in the very first turn, Magnussen in the No. 4 Corvette fought his way back from 12th place to 4th in just 22 laps. The contact at the start of the race created a slow leak in one of Magnussen’s tires, and forced him to pit at the 36 minute mark. However, once he was riding on four new tires, Magnussen unleashed the C6.R, and laid down the fastest lap of the entire race, and handed the car over to Oliver Gavin at the 1-hour mark.
Unfortunately, the hard times weren’t over for the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R. The race went under a full course caution with 40 minutes remaining to replace a man-hole cover, and after the restart Milner rear-ended the No. 55 BMW, once again right in the middle of turn-1, and was given a 60-second stop-and-hold penalty. The No.3 car wouldn’t be able to recover from the penalty and managed to finish the race in seventh place. Clearly disappointed, Milner told the reporters from www.corvetteracing.com, “The team is giving us great cars and making the right pit calls, but lately I’ve not been holding up my end of the bargain.”
Although the No. 4 Corvette was faring much better than their teammates in the No. 3 Car, Oliver Gavin still found himself dealing with the residual effects of the contact in turn-1 at the beginning of the race. After Gavin took over at the 1-hour mark from Magnussen, damage to the exhaust system that occurred during the first turn finally began leaking, and was pumping fumes into the cockpit. In spite of badly stinging eyes from the fumes, Gavin held on and brought the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R across the finish line in third place, giving Corvette Racing a hard earned spot on the podium. Gavin told the reporters from www.corvetteracing.com, “Unfortunately our race was decided by the contact in the first turn. After that we were playing catch-up, and Jan did a brilliant of getting the car into a decent position. Jan had to pit out of sequence because we had a tire going down, but then after the restart we were back in position to fight.”
Baltimore Grand Prix GT Results (Top 10):
1. 17 Henzler/Sellers, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 71
2. 56 Mueller/Hand, BMW M3 GT, 70
3. 4 Gavin/Magnussen, Corvette C6.R, 70
4. 48 Miller/Maasen, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 70
5. 55 Auberlen/Werner, BMW M3 GT, 70
6. Melo/Vilander, Ferrari F458 Italia, 70
7. 3 Beretta/Milner, Corvette C6.R, 70
8. 44 Neiman/Law, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 68
9. 01 Sharp/van Overbeek, Ferrari F458 Italia, 68
10. 02 Brown/Cosmo, Ferrari F458 Italia, 68