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Pratt and Miller Engineering/Corvette Racing Wins 13th Running of the Petit Le Mans

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The number 3 Corvette C6.R was driven by Johnny O'Connell, Olivier Beretta, and Antonio Garcia (Richard Prince/GM Racing Photo).
The number 3 Corvette C6.R was driven by Johnny O'Connell, Olivier Beretta, and Antonio Garcia (Richard Prince/GM Racing Photo).
There was absolutely nothing "petit" about the clash in the ultra-competitive GT2 class at Petit Le Mans this year. It was in fact, a battle royal for nine hours and ten minutes between Corvette, Ferrari, BMW, and Porsche, fought over the hills and valleys of the 2.54-mile circuit at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia. The winning number 4 Corvette driven by Oliver Gavin, Jan Magnussen, and Emmanuel Collard completed 355 laps (902 miles) in the season finale of the 2010 American Le Mans Series (ALMS).
The winning number 4 Corvette driven by Oliver Gavin, Jan Magnussen, and Emmanuel Collard completed 355 laps, 902 miles, in the season finale of the 2010 American Le Mans Series (Richard Prince/GM Racing Photo).
The winning number 4 Corvette driven by Oliver Gavin, Jan Magnussen, and Emmanuel Collard completed 355 laps, 902 miles, in the season finale of the 2010 American Le Mans Series (Richard Prince/GM Racing Photo).


Going into the final lap, the number 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R, driven by Gavin, was trailing Toni Vilander in the class-leading Risi Competizione Ferrari by 10 seconds. With a low-fuel alarm flashing on his own instrument panel, Gavin watched incredulously as the Ferrari slowed on the back straight, as it ran out of fuel. Gavin raced across the finish line nearly six seconds ahead of the runner-up Ferrari of Dominick Farnbacher, who also passed Vilander's hapless Ferrari.

"It's an amazing result!" exclaimed a triumphant Gavin. "Everyone on the team and back at the shop kept on believing in us, the drivers, the crew, the engineers. I'm so happy for everyone involved."
According to Pratt and Miller's Program Manager, Mike Atkins, the filters K&N makes for Corvette Racing are critical to the design of our intake system, and they are the best air filter for maximizing horsepower and filtration (Richard Prince/GM Racing Photo).
According to Pratt and Miller's Program Manager, Mike Atkins, the filters K&N makes for Corvette Racing are critical to the design of our intake system, and they are the best air filter for maximizing horsepower and filtration (Richard Prince/GM Racing Photo).


"When the fuel alarm came on, I asked the engineers, "Are you sure we have enough fuel in?" Doug Louth, the engineering director, said, 'Don't worry, we have enough.' We had to cut it close, and we'd been there before. Yes, we were all a little nervous, but you have to have faith in your crew," noted Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan.
After nine hours and ten minutes, running only on fumes, Corvette Racing crossed the finish line nearly six seconds ahead of the runner-up Ferrari.
After nine hours and ten minutes, running only on fumes, Corvette Racing crossed the finish line nearly six seconds ahead of the runner-up Ferrari.


"The racing was as close as it could be," said team manager Gary Pratt. "It felt like that all race long, gaining or losing a tenth of a second at a time. We'd stop, somebody else would be on a different strategy, and we'd go from first to fifth. Through it all, nobody on the team ever gave up."

"Those who don't race say we got lucky - those who race say we just did a great job. When you race for nine and a half hours, and you're separated by 10 seconds, winning that race is not luck," added Voegelin. "Winning a race requires preparation, planning, and execution. The team that does that best and makes the fewest mistakes is going to be the team that emerges victorious, and we were the GT team that did those three things the best at Petit Le Mans.

Although there are two cars, two crews, and two set of drivers, there is only one Corvette Racing team. Everything that they do, from chassis and tire development, to aerodynamics, is done in a unified fashion. Even though the cars compete against each other on the track, the ultimate goal of course is to bring a Corvette home in first place. "When that happens, the entire team is victorious," adds Fehan.

"The season was a series of highs and lows," says Voegelin. "At every event we had Corvettes that were capable of winning, so naturally there was some frustration when one thing after another resulted in the cars not showing they were as strong as they actually were."

With their win at the Petit Le Mans Corvette Racing returned to the ALMS winner's circle for the first time since its inaugural GT2 win at Mosport International Raceway in August 2009. Mosport International Raceway is Canada's largest motorsports complex.

"I think one of the highs of the season was the absolute battle at Le Mans and how well we acquitted ourselves there, followed by the biggest low of the season, when we had engine problems. Obviously the most emotional moment of the season was the victory at Petit Le Mans.

The 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans marked the 50th anniversary of Corvette's first participation in the world's most celebrated sports car race. For the first two-thirds of this year's race it was all about Corvette Racing, with their two cars swapping the lead, until mechanical problems heartbreakingly ended their chances.

With seven previous victories in the GTS/GT1 division, Corvette Racing has now won eight times in the American endurance racing classic that's based on the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The victory earned an automatic invitation to Le Mans in 2011 for the Chevrolet team.

"I think everyone on the race team, along with everyone at Chevy Racing and GM Powertrain, is focused on Le Mans. Everything we are doing is with that race in mind, as it always has been. We are highly motivated to provide our fans with a better result in 2011.

"The filters K&N makes for Corvette Racing are critical to the design of our intake system," said Mike Atkins, Pratt and Miller Program Manager. "K&N makes the best air filter for horsepower and filtration."

Find K&N products for your vehicle using the K&N application search then use the K&N dealer search to find a K&N dealer in your part of the world.

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