2012 marks the 60th running of the legendary Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring endurance race. This year the New Hudson, Michigan, Corvette Racing team also commemorates their 60th year and to celebrate they posted their quickest lap times ever in the American Le Mans Series GT class. Running concurrently with the inaugural race of the FIA World Endurance Championship, the two K&N backed Compuware Corvette C6.Rs driven by Jan Magnussen and Oliver Gavin were third and fourth respectively in combined ALMS/WEC GT qualifying.
The Dane, Jan Magnussen qualified 2.5 seconds faster than last year.
This is the ALMS season-opening debut for the new wide-body Corvettes and all indications are this will be another stellar season for the team, as their qualifying lap times are more than 2.5 seconds faster than last year. Magnussen ran his quickest time in his fifth and final lap around the historic 3.7-mile, airstrip-turned-race track circuit, running a 1:58.996 (113.147 mph) in the No. 03 Corvette C6.R, while Gavin posted his best time on his fourth lap at 1:59.007 (113.136 mph) in the No. 4 Corvette C6.R.
"There is a lot of difference from last year - 2.5 seconds difference!" Magnussen said. "It's a big step forward for the category. Qualifying was the first time that everyone showed what they can do, and I think it's going to be 12 hours of really hard racing."
Oliver Gavin, driving the number 4 Corvette C6.R qualified behind his teammate for the 60th running of Sebring.
"With the WEC here with ALMS, there is only going to be one winner," continued the Dane. "My point of view is that we're here to win Sebring in the GT category, and that includes everybody. There is a championship for us in ALMS and the points are very important, but this is Sebring."
"We definitely got the most of what we had today with both cars, and Oliver did a fantastic job," noted Magnussen. "We didn't work on a qualifying setup. It was a little warmer today, but there was a tailwind down the back straight that actually makes the lap a little faster. The wind helps you turn into Turn-16, helps on the exit of Turn-1, and in Turns-13 and 15. I had a feeling that we'd be going faster - but not this fast!"
The difference between the two Corvettes was a scant 0.011 seconds.
"It was intense," Gavin said. "We kept finding a little more time with every lap we ran. I wanted to go for it again on the last lap, but ran low on fuel. Jan just pipped me and two Ferraris are in front of us, but we're starting at the sharp end.
"Looking at the lap times, Jan and I were almost dead even all the way through," Gavin explained. "It's great that both Corvettes are equally fast, and now it's up to the drivers and crews to take the fight to the other cars tomorrow. I feel that we're well poised for the race. We want to beat everyone else in GT, and that's the plan. I'm very proud to be part of Team Chevy and representing Corvette in the 60th anniversary of Sebring."
The Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series and the Corvette Racing team will be at Long Beach April 13 and 14, 2012 for the next round of spectacular racing.
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