Corvette Prepares For Petit Le Mans And Hurricane Michael

Just as the panhandle coast of Florida was bracing for a potential Category 3 hurricane Michael, Team Corvette and all other competitors were heading to Road Atlanta for the Motul Petit Le Mans (Oct. 10-13). The event features four days’ worth of on-track battles, culminating in the 10-hour IMSA WeatherTech Championship finale showdown on Saturday.

The projected path of the hurricane puts it right through the heart of Georgia and the effects of hurricane Michael are expected to affect the track, starting on Wednesday night according to RaceCastWeather.com. Reportedly, “the heaviest rain will fall at the track from after midnight until around noon on Thursday. Rain will be decreasing in intensity and frequency on Thursday afternoon. A cold front will move through Thursday evening, which will merge with Michael and bring cooler and drier air behind it. A large high pressure system from central Canada will be building southeast, and the weather for Friday and Saturday will be absolutely gorgeous, with a northerly wind bringing highs in the mid-70s and morning lows in the mid-50s.”

Road Atlanta is a demanding track with elevation changes and challenging corners. Corvette's last win at the track was in 2010, and they are hopeful that they will find a winning strategy to secure a win and some championships.

While the weather may not affect the official race on Saturday, it will put a damper on the preparations and also on the testing. Of course, EVERY team will be looking for anything to give them the edge over their competitors.

The Petit Le Mans is always intense. Road Atlanta is a tight track with various elevations and its very fast now and each year it just seems to get quicker and quicker. You know you’re going to get a big grid, so traffic is going to be an issue. That’s tough, but you add onto that the championships are going to be decided that weekend, so that just cranks up the intensity! – Oliver Gavin, Corvette Racing

The stakes at Petit Le Mans are high as there are several championships at stake and this year, no team has a firm grasp on any one title. BMW is motivated to mark the third win in a row, after coming off of back-to-back wins. Porsche is looking for its third win of the season and Ford will be fighting for the Manufacturer’s Championship with their Ford GTs. Team Corvette will hit the track seeking to secure both the Team and Driver’s Championships in the C7.Rs.

The path of Michael puts it directly over the race. RaceCastWeather.com doesn't predict flooding or high winds to be an issue, but the rain may hinder testing prior to the race.

Mobil1 The Grid has supplied the video to help us understand the depth of importance that this curvy stretch of track holds for so many drivers and teams. In the video, Corvette driver Oliver Gavin helps explain what it feels like going in to the event. “The Petit Le Mans is always intense. Road Atlanta is a tight track with various elevations and its very fast now and each year it just seems to get quicker and quicker. You know you’re going to get a big grid, so traffic is going to be an issue. That’s tough, but you add onto that the championships are going to be decided that weekend, so that just cranks up the intensity!”

Testing will likely be done in the wet thanks to Michael, which will not represent the dry track conditions that will likely persist on Saturday.

As if all that wasn’t enough to keep the pit crew and drivers up at night, now Mother Nature has planned to attend the event as well. Check out the video and get up to speed on how much is at stake at Road Atlanta. And then be sure to check in on the race to see who stays high and dry and who winds up all wet.

About the author

Andy Bolig

Andy has been intrigued by mechanical things all of his life and enjoys tinkering with cars of all makes and ages. Finding value in style points, he can appreciate cars of all power and performance levels. Andy is an avid railfan and gets his “high” by flying radio-controlled model airplanes when time permits. He keeps his feet firmly grounded by working on his two street rods and his supercharged C4 Corvette. Whether planes, trains, motorcycles, or automobiles, Andy has immersed himself in a world driven by internal combustion.
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