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ALMS: Laguna Seca 2010


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Corvette Racing Laguna Seca news

Racing series: ALMS

Date 2010-05-07

Chevrolet to Salute Corvette Legends of Le Mans at Laguna Seca ALMS

Chevy Celebrates 50th Anniversary of First Le Mans Participation with Historic Corvette Race Cars and Legendary Drivers

MONTEREY, Calif., May 7, 2010 -- This year's 24 Hours of Le Mans will mark the 50th anniversary of Corvette's first participation in the world's most prestigious sports car race. Chevrolet will celebrate this motorsports milestone with a salute to the Corvette Legends of Le Mans at the American Le Mans Series Monterey at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on May 21-22.

The spotlight will shine on Corvette's racing heritage with a special display of historic Corvettes that raced at Le Mans and appearances by legendary Corvette drivers. Corvette Racing fans will be able to give the American Le Mans Series' most successful team a grand send-off before the twin Compuware Corvette C6.R race cars begin their transatlantic journey to France, where they'll compete in the world's biggest sports car race on June 12-13.

"It is an honor for Chevrolet to salute the men and machines that have contributed to Corvette's racing heritage at Le Mans since 1960," said Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President, Chevrolet Marketing. "They are part of Chevy's longstanding tradition of developing technology on the track to improve the design, performance and efficiency of Corvettes on the street. The hardware has changed dramatically over five decades, but the challenge and excitement of the 24 Hours of Le Mans has endured through the years."

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Four Corvettes competed in the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans -- three entered by sportsman Briggs Cunningham and one by Camoradi USA. Cunningham's No. 2 Corvette driven by Dr. Dick Thompson and Fred Windridge will be on display at the Laguna Seca event, and Thompson will be on hand to describe his Le Mans experiences. The No. 2 Corvette retired at 20 hours, but the sister No. 3 Cunningham Corvette driven by John Fitch and Bob Grossman won its class and finished eighth overall.

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Chevy's second-generation Corvette made its Le Mans debut in 1967 with Corvette legends Dick Guldstrand and Bob Bondurant sharing the driving duties. Entered by Dana Chevrolet, the red, white and blue coupe blitzed the Mulsanne Straight with big-block horsepower. Guldstrand will be reunited with the restored Corvette and share his memories of Le Mans at the historic Corvette display in the ALMS paddock.

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The 1969 Greenwood Corvette competed in the Triple Crown of sports car racing -- the 12 Hours of Sebring, 24 Hours of Daytona, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Constructed and campaigned by John Greenwood, this star-spangled Corvette was driven by top road course drivers of the period including comedian Dick Smothers and Chevrolet performance specialist Don Yenko. Greenwood, Bob Johnson and Jim Greendyke raced this remarkable machine at Le Mans in 1973. (Although my records indicate they DNQ'd in '73. With respect to Le Mans history of the BFG cars, everyone knows that the #48 and #50 cars raced there in 1972 as #28 and #72. In 1973 it was the #49 and #50 cars that were sent to Le Mans and ran as #68 and #29, respectively. At the 1973 Le Mans event the #68 (US #49) car was not allowed to run after a post-tech "accident" on the streets of the town. :facepalm: Drivers Yenko/Labelle/Greendyke were disappointed by the decision but it proved pointless to argue with Gallic reasoning.)

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Chevrolet will close the circle of Le Mans Corvettes with a 2011 Corvette Z06 painted in the traditional white and blue American racing colors carried by the Cunningham Corvettes 50 years ago. This one-of-a-kind Corvette Z06 (VIN 0001) will be sold at auction later this year to benefit the National Corvette Museum.

No team has enjoyed more success with Corvettes at Le Mans than Corvette Racing, winner of six GTS/GT1 class titles since 2001. The twin Compuware Corvette C6.R race cars will compete in the six-hour Laguna Seca endurance race against GT class rivals Ferrari, Porsche, BMW, and Jaguar. Corvette Racing's quartet of drivers -- Johnny O'Connell and Jan Magnussen in the No. 3 Corvette C6.R, and Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta in the No. 4 Corvette C6.R -- have a total of 17 Le Mans class victories. They'll be joined in Laguna Seca by Corvette Racing ambassador Ron Fellows, a two-time winner at Le Mans.

Fans will be able to participate in a variety of activities, including driver autograph sessions, tech talks, and a Q&A with the Corvette Legends of Le Mans. Chevrolet will stage a 7.8-mile ride-and-drive that puts customers behind the wheel of new Chevrolet vehicles, including Equinox, Silverado, Traverse, Malibu, Tahoe, Camaro and Corvette.

The collection of vintage and contemporary Corvette race cars that will assemble at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca spans half a century of motorsports history. The iconic drivers who raced these machines are a bridge to racing's past. For two glorious days in May, the past and present will exist side by side at the American Le Mans Series Monterey.

-source: gm racing/cr

:banannasword:

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Corvette Legends of Le Mans: Dick Guldstrand

Racing series: LEMANS

Date 2010-05-14

Chevrolet to Honor "Mr. Corvette" in Celebration of 50th Anniversary of Corvette's First Le Mans Participation

MONTEREY, Calif., May 14, 2010 -- Dick Guldstrand has been inextricably linked with Chevrolet's sports car for more than 50 years, an enduring relationship that has earned the Californian the nickname "Mr. Corvette." Guldstrand's exploits include an expedition to the 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans with co-driver Bob Bondurant in a red, white and blue Corvette -- a journey that left an indelible impression on the two American drivers and legions of French racing fans. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Corvette's first participation in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Chevrolet will salute Guldstrand as one of the Corvette Legends of Le Mans at the American Le Mans Series Monterey at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on May 21-22.

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"It all started when Roger Penske hired me as his first professional driver in late '65 to run his Corvette," Guldstrand said. "It's a long story, but we won the GT category in the Daytona 24-hour race. Then we went on to Sebring, and that same car won that race. So can you imagine the sensation if a Corvette Stingray won the 24 Hours of Le Mans?

"I was managing the Dana Chevrolet High-Performance Center in southern California, and we were really on a high," Guldstrand explained. "Duntov (Corvette chief engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov) was beside himself. He'd call me every day and say, 'Dick, we got to do this, and this, and be careful of the aerodynamics.' Of course, there weren't any aerodynamics -- we used an old piece of aluminum underneath the front end to try to keep the nose down!"

The patriotically painted Dana Chevrolet Corvette was transported via air freight to Paris-Orly Airport -- and then the team's Le Mans adventure truly began.

"We arrived at Orly and unloaded the car off the plane," Guldstrand recalled. "Well, they forgot to bring a trailer. All we had was a Bedford diesel, a four-door Opel, and us. So Bobby Bondurant and I filled it up, jumped in the race car, and drove the whole distance to Le Mans. The sidepipe exhausts were wide open, and in every little town we went through, the crowds got bigger. When we got to Chartres, we damn near broke the stained glass windows out of the cathedral. A gendarme was standing on his little box in the middle of the square directing traffic, and he gave us a salute as we drove by and about blew him off the box.

"By the time we got to Le Mans, we had a following that was staggering," Guldstrand said. "The French loved that crazy red, white and blue Corvette. Of course, our competition protested us. The car was way too light because we'd stripped it. We had to fly the bumpers, the grille and all the stuff over to France and put them back on the car before we could qualify."

Nothing in Guldstrand's racing experience had prepared him for the challenge of the immense Le Mans circuit.

"I'd done quite a bit of fast driving at Daytona and Sebring, but nothing like the Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans," he said. "We were flat out for nearly 3.5 miles, and it was mind-boggling. There was this little kink when you got near the end of the straight, and you had to be perfectly on the button to go through there. That's where the 'Mulsanne Stain' comes from -- it's a little brown stain in your shorts, because I used up all of the road and some of the dirt getting through there!

"The Corvette was blindingly fast, and I think we hit 180 mph on the straight," Guldstrand noted. "Halfway through the race we were leading our class by 17 or 18 miles, but then a wrist pin broke and put a connecting rod out through the side of the block. We knew that was a weak point and we were just trying to take it easy, but it didn't survive."

Decades later, Guldstrand still cherishes the memories of his Le Mans adventure.

"Bondurant was really a big help in teaching me the Le Mans course," Guldstrand explained. "We had been friends for 20 years, and we finally got to drive together. We had dedicated people like Junior Johnson and (Chevrolet general manager) Ed Cole, and of course Duntov helping us. We were almost like a family. That was a wonderful, wonderful time."

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Guldstrand's Corvette credentials are still impeccable. He won three consecutive Pacific Coast championships (1963-1965) including the Southern Pacific A-Production championship, and he won the GT class at the 1966 24 Hours of Daytona driving a Corvette. When his driving career began to wind down, Guldstrand's love for the technical side of racing led to the 1968 launch of Guldstrand Engineering on the famed "Thunder Alley" in Culver City, Calif. His development expertise and years of experience with the marque were evident in the performance of the race-prepared C4 Corvettes that won numerous events and set track records at the Mid-Ohio 24-hour event and the 12-hour race at Willow Springs. Guldstrand also has organized Corvette events and served as a global goodwill ambassador for the marque. Dick Guldstrand was inducted into the Corvette Hall of Fame at the Corvette National Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky in 1999. Chevrolet is proud to salute "Mr. Corvette" as one of the Corvette Legends of Le Mans.

-source: gm media

:flag

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Desertdawg

Nice read, thanks for posting all this history Dean :thumbs

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Nice read, thanks for posting all this history Dean :thumbs

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Desertdawg

This weekend should be a fun race to watch, I'm gonna DVR it since I'll be in Flagstaff.

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More honoring of history blurbage...

Corvette Racing Laguna Seca news

Racing series ALMS

Date 2010-05-13

Corvette Legends of Le Mans: Dick Thompson

Chevrolet to Salute Championship-Winning Corvette Racer at Laguna Seca ALMS

MONTEREY, Calif., May 13, 2010 -- Dr. Dick Thompson, the championship-winning Corvette driver known as "The Flying Dentist," carried Corvette's performance message around the world. Chevrolet will salute Thompson as one of the Corvette Legends of Le Mans at the American Le Mans Series Monterey at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on May 21-22.

Thompson co-drove one of Briggs Cunningham's trio of Corvettes in the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans in Corvette's first appearance in the world's biggest sports car race. He later became the first driver to win a race in the iconic Corvette Grand Sport, and served as a Chevrolet development driver and promotional spokesman for production Corvettes in the '60s.

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Thompson will be reunited with the restored No. 2 Cunningham Corvette that he shared with Fred Windridge in Le Mans 50 years ago. The Thompson/Windridge Corvette retired at 20 hours, but the sister No. 3 Cunningham Corvette driven by John Fitch and Bob Grossman won the large displacement GT class and finished eighth overall. Corvette chief engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov accompanied the Corvettes to Le Mans as an advisor and was listed as a reserve driver by the Cunningham team.

"I enjoyed racing in Europe very much, and competing at Le Mans in 1960 was an unforgettable experience for me, and for the entire team," Thompson said. "Briggs Cunningham had the experience, and quite frankly the money, to put forth an effort that was second to none. We had support from Chevrolet, from Zora, and others. The cars were race prepared by Alfred Momo at his shop on Long Island. We knew going to Le Mans that the cars would be ready and we'd have a very real opportunity to win our class there."

The Corvettes were in near-stock trim, with larger gas tanks, quick-fill gas caps, magnesium wheels, oil coolers, driving lights, racing seats and heavy-duty suspension components among their limited modifications -- an expression of Duntov's philosophy of using racing to develop high-performance components for future production vehicles.

"Our car was quite fast but the brakes were a problem, as they almost always were in those early years of Corvette racing," Thompson recalled. "And of course, we had those skinny little bias-ply tires. Our Corvettes were really not big cars, but to the average Frenchman, compared with what they were used to, they looked like great big cars. More than a few of them were rather shocked to see us running around at those fantastic speeds on the skinny tires we had."

When the 55 entries were lined up for the traditional Le Mans start according to engine displacement, the three Cunningham Corvettes occupied the first three spots with their 283-cubic-inch fuel-injected small-block V8s. A fourth Corvette entered by airline pilot Lucky Casner under the Camoradi USA banner rounded out the Corvette quartet.

"At Le Mans in those years they still did a running start," Thompson said. "All the drivers would line up opposite the cars on the front straight and when the signal was given we'd each run to our car. I managed to get away ahead of everyone, and going under the Dunlop Bridge I had nothing but open road in front of me, and the entire field behind me! That was quite an exciting feeling. Of course that didn't last, and the faster modifieds, the sports racers, managed to pass me."

Rain soon inundated the Le Mans circuit, and the drivers had to endure a cold and wet night on the pitch-black course through the French countryside.

"The Le Mans race was really a remarkable experience for me," Thompson remembered. "By 1960 I had done quite a bit of driving, at a lot of different tracks, but Le Mans was unique in many ways. It was particularly interesting at night. Sebring of course was quite dark at night, but at Le Mans it was a different feeling, a feeling of really being alone out there. The fog and the rain added to that sensation, the feeling that you're driving through the countryside as fast as you can possibly go, with nothing but the rain, the darkness, your car, and your courage!"

The No. 2 Corvette lost time when it was mired in one of the numerous sandpits that lined the circuit, and then the overtaxed engine expired in the 20th hour.

"It was the brakes, indirectly, that took our car out of the race," he said. "The engine failed in fairly dramatic fashion, but that was not because of a problem in the engine. The brakes gradually got worse and worse and we relied more and more on the downshifts to help slow the car. The engine had been over-revved by about 1,000 rpm on some of the downshifts, and this was recorded on the tell-tale tach, and it ultimately caused the engine to give up."

Cunningham drivers Fitch and Grossman continued to circle the immense circuit in the No. 3 Corvette, running as high as seventh overall. In the waning hours of the race, the engine overheated and lost coolant but regulations prohibited the team from refilling the radiator. Team manager Momo instructed the crew to pack the engine with ice from the team's catering tent. Driving at reduced speed, the ice-cooled Corvette finished first in the 4000-5000cc GT class and eighth overall -- the best finish by a Corvette until the arrival of Corvette Racing four decades later.

Thompson's racing career is a chronicle of the early days of Corvettes in competition. A Corvette propelled him to the 1956 SCCA C-Production national championship, putting the world on notice that Corvette was a genuine contender against European sports cars. Thompson and his Corvette left their mark in the record book in 1957, earning a class victory at Sebring and another SCCA national title. The dentist from Washington, D.C. went on to win three more national championships driving Corvettes, including the C-Modified title with Bill Mitchell's Stingray Racer in 1960, B-Production in a Gulf Oil-sponsored Corvette in 1961, and the A-Production crown in another Gulf Oil Corvette in 1962.

Thompson was one of a handful of racers who transformed Corvette's performance image at a crucial period in the car's history. He played a pivotal role in laying the foundation for success that Corvette has enjoyed on the street and on tracks around the world. Chevrolet is proud to salute the Flying Dentist as one of the Corvette Legends of Le Mans.

-source: gm racing

:banannasword:

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ALMS round 3 – Laguna Seca GT preview

By Joey Selmants, PlanetLeMans.com

May 17, 2010

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The American Le Mans Series has been home to plenty of strong classes over its twelve-year history, but this year’s GT class may just take the cake. Boasting entries from six of the most decorated manufacturers in the world, GT has proved to be a hotbed for companies to showcase their latest performance models. With more points on the line at Laguna Seca, we can expect a very close battle throughout the entire six hour event.

After two races, the Risi Ferrari of Melo and Bruni are tied for the points lead with Flying Lizard Porsche drivers, Long and Bergmeister. The rest of the points standings are just as close, only eleven points separate first through fifth place.

If the deadlocked points standings so far are any indication for the rest of the season, picking a favorite may prove to be close to impossible. Seven entries are capable of winning at each event, so every team must be on top of their game and limit mistakes if they stand any chance of winning.

One of the best teams at limiting mistakes, especially at endurance races, has been the #62 Ferrari F430 of Risi Competizione. The team has won every major endurance race dating back to Le Mans of 2008. The Houston, Texas based squad will be hoping for another dose of this success when the checkered flag drops on the race at Laguna.

BMW Rahal Letterman Racing have quickly proven to be a legitimate contender this year. The German marque currently trails Ferrari and Porsche by only one point in the championship. With Laguna Seca placing an emphasis on handling, BMW’s well-balanced M3s could be looking at their first victory in 2010.

It seems like every year there is another new car in GT. Last year it was the new E92 BMW M3 and Corvette’s GT2 car. This year the new car is an entry from Jaguar. Jaguar has one of the most celebrated sports car racing histories, but Paul Gentilozzi’s RocketSports team has struggled to return the marque to the front of the pack. After a disastrous Sebring, where the team only completed a handful of laps, the team managed to finish the race at Long Beach near the back of the field. Jaguar supporters are hoping for a stronger race at Laguna Seca. (Too bad. :edward: )

Team Falken Tire is another new entry to the GT field. Their place in the standings does not do justice to just how strong the team’s Porsche 911 GT3 RSR has looked. The green and blue liveried Porsche has qualified well and lead in both races so far, only to see their chances dashed by mechanical failures and mistakes in the pits. With more time to practice and fine tune, Falken will prove to be a force in GT.

Rounding out the GT field at Laguna are two Ferrari F430’s from Extreme Speed Motorsports, a Ford GT from Robertson Racing, and of course, the yellow Corvette ZR1’s from Corvette Racing. Corvette has looked uncharacteristically sloppy so far. :huh A win would be a perfect way to reverse two rather disappointing races and would be a great way to avenge last years dramatic finish with the #45 Flying Lizard Porsche at Laguna. This will certainly be an exciting race, don’t miss it.

:banannasword:

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BBV snapped a shot of Vin#0001 from my 1st post above, in the flesh.

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Laguna Seca: Corvette Racing preview

Racing series: ALMS

Date 2010-05-18

From Monterey to Le Mans: Corvette Racing's Motorsports Odyssey

Six-Hour Laguna Seca ALMS Race Is Final Rehearsal for 24 Hours of Le Mans

MONTEREY, Calif., May 18, 2010 -- Two tracks loom large in Corvette racing history: Le Mans and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Although separated by a vast ocean and great differences in language and culture, these two classic circuits have played key roles in establishing Corvette's standing as a force in international sports car competition.

Saturday's American Le Mans Series Monterey marks the start of the 50th anniversary celebration of Corvette's first appearance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Fans will be able to give the series' most successful team a spirited send-off before the Compuware Corvette C6.R race cars begin their transatlantic journey to France, where they will compete in the world's most prestigious sports car race on June 12-13.

The roar of Corvette thunder has rocked the central California coast for six decades. Corvettes raced through the streets of Pebble Beach on temporary circuits until sports car enthusiasts found a permanent home with the construction of Laguna Seca Raceway in 1957. Legendary drivers like John Fitch, Dick Thompson, Dick Guldstrand, Bob Bondurant, and others gilded their reputations by racing Corvettes in the Golden State. Chevrolet will salute this rich racing history with a special Corvette Legends of Le Mans display at Laguna Seca, and drivers Thompson and Guldstrand will attend the event.

"For many years we have talked about the legacy of Corvette Racing and the role that the team plays in Corvette's history," said Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. "The reason this is important today is because of the strong foundation that people like Dick Thompson, Dick Guldstrand, Zora Arkus-Duntov, and many others built for Corvette. They set the bar high, and they accomplished so much with so little. Today we have the full resources of Chevrolet and GM behind Corvette Racing, but these pioneers are the ones who truly began Corvette's performance heritage. Corvette Racing is continuing to build on that foundation for those who will come after us."

While the team is immersed in final preparations for the odyssey to Le Mans, the drivers and crew aren't overlooking the significance of this weekend's six-hour race in the ALMS championship battle.

"Winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans has been the primary objective of the Corvette Racing program since its inception, but of equal importance is winning the ALMS GT manufacturers championship," Fehan explained. "We're going to Laguna Seca with two clearly defined targets -- to race hard in pursuit of our first ALMS victory in 2010, and to hone the entire team for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

"There is not a tremendous amount of technical information that will carry over from Laguna Seca to Le Mans because the tracks are so different. However, it will be valuable to gather more data under actual race conditions for six hours. The GT version of the Corvette C6.R is still a relatively new package, so we are still on the learning curve."

As the only American to win his class four times at Le Mans, Corvette Racing driver Johnny O'Connell is acutely aware of the impact of the world's greatest sports car race. "There is nothing that can duplicate Le Mans and the challenges it presents, but a six-hour rehearsal at Laguna Seca will certainly help to prepare us," he said. "It's a tight and technical race track that is going to challenge us athletically.

"The strength of Corvette Racing is the engineering staff and the crew," O'Connell continued. "The No. 3 Compuware Corvette has been in position to win at Laguna Seca over the last few years, but we've always had some bad breaks. Jan (Magnussen) and I feel that track still owes us a win. We're looking at this event as an important part of our ALMS season. We want to run strong and get points."

Corvette Racing's next event is the American Le Mans Series Monterey at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Saturday, May 22. The six-hour race will start at 2:30 p.m. PT and will be streamed live online at americanlemans.com starting at 5:30 p.m. ET. Live radio coverage will be available on American Le Mans Radio, Sirius Channel 127, and XM Channel 242.

-source: gm racing/cr

:partygrnhat: -PLUS the whole series blurb- :partygrnhat:

ALMS: Laguna Seca

May 20, 2010

John Dagys, Speed TV

Championship battles heat up in first-ever six-hour enduro at Mazda Raceway.

From the classic Twelve Hours of Sebring and the 1,000-mile/10-hour Petit Le Mans to the traditional two-hour and 45-minute format, there’s always been a variety of race lengths in the 111 previous American Le Mans Series races. But Saturday’s round from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will mark the first-ever six-hour event.

A half-around-the-clock enduro is not necessarily a step into the unknown for competitors, as a similar 1000km/six-hour format exists in the European-based Le Mans Series. But it’s not only the race length that has changed, as the previous season-ending four-hour round held in October is now run in May.

"A six-hour race is inherently more complex than four: We'll have more stops to manage, and Laguna is typically a caution-filled race, which makes it tough to follow a pre-determined strategy,” explains Thomas Blam, Flying Lizard Motorsports chief strategist. “We could also see a wide swing in temperatures from race start to finish which will make setup challenging."

With a 2:30 p.m. local start time, teams will contend with varying track temperatures, starting in the heat of the day before transitioning to cooler night-time hours. It will be those final minutes that will count the most, making Thursday evening’s practice session all the more valuable for teams and drivers.

And with another bumper grid of 35 cars, there will be no shortage of story lines, especially after last month’s thriller on the streets of Long Beach.

Patron Highcroft Racing’s Simon Pagenaud made a daring last-lap move on the Aston Martin Racing Lola of Adrian Fernandez to take the overall win. The popular victory for he and co-driver David Brabham has had time to sink in and may go down as one of the finest drivers of the young Frenchman’s career.

While the factory Aston Martin won’t be present this weekend, Pagenaud, Brabham and endurance co-driver Marino Franchitti will have to contend with other LMP1 machines that are likely to be significantly quicker down the straightaways.

“There is one long straight at Laguna which the faster LMP1 cars will enjoy but it is not as long as what we had at Long Beach,” Brabham said. “I am hoping we will see less of an issue of the straight line speed disadvantage we saw in the last race but we won't really know until we get there.”

While no balance of performance adjustments have been made to the prototypes since Long Beach, Pagenaud and Brabham are confident the team’s LMP2-spec Honda Performance Development ARX-01c will be well-suited to the 11-turn, 2.238-mile circuit.

The likely challenge from the heavier, but more powerful LMP1-spec machines will come from Intersport Racing’s Lola B06/10 AER, notably with Jon Field behind the wheel. The veteran Ohio racer, making his return to the cockpit following his horrific accident at Sebring in March, led the race at Long Beach for over 30 minutes.

Field’s Lola clearly had a power advantage over the lighter and more nimble P2-spec cars such as Highcroft’s HPD and the Team Cytosport Porsche RS Spyder. Will that trend continue this weekend, and can any of the P1 teams take advantage of it?

The team that has the greatest potential to pull it off is Drayson Racing, which makes its first return trip to a circuit with its Lola B09/60 Judd. Five-time Le Mans winner Emanuele Pirro is back with the squad after his impressive outing at Sebring. The rapid Italian will be a sure bet for the pole, especially without competition from Peugeot or Aston Martin this time.

Team CytoSport’s Greg Pickett and Klaus Graf, who are currently tied for the LMP championship lead with Pagenaud and Brabham, could also play a factor with the addition of Porsche ace Sascha Maassen. And don’t completely discount Dyson Racing’s Lola B08/86 Mazda either, fully rebuilt from a fire in testing last month, and running 30kg lighter after its early season weight penalty for using Isobutanol fuel has expired.

While the focus up front will on the fight for overall honors, the GT battle shouldn’t be overlooked, either, especially after the equally exciting showdown at Long Beach.

The Flying Lizard Motorsports duo of Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Long broke through for their first victory of the season and now sit atop the standings with Sebring winners Jamie Melo and Gimmi Bruni for Risi Competizione.

Will the Porsche vs. Ferrari rivalry continue, or will another manufacturer score its first victory of the year? Corvette Racing and BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team are the prime candidates, but as the American Porsche factory driver points out, it could be any of a half-dozen cars that could wind up in victory lane.

“Every race there’s a fight like [we] had at Long Beach,” Long said. “It’s when you’re absolutely driving for every single inch of the racetrack. A ‘Vette, a Ferrari, a BMW or a Porsche could have won that race. It was clear by the pace and by track position. It came down to pit stops and hard wheel-to-wheel racing.

“I think that’s where the ALMS is maybe underrated when it comes to how close the racing is and also what kind of drivers and teams are involved in GT-level racing. I think that’s why when people ask me what I want to do ultimately in my career, I let them know that I’m doing what I could have only dreamed of doing. It’s pretty cool.”

But there have been a few rules adjustments to spice up Round 3. The BMWs are now back to Sebring weight after getting a 25kg weight increase prior to Long Beach, while the Pratt & Miller Corvettes lose 10kg of its 25kg weight penalty imposed by the ACO at the start of the season. :banannasword: This was initially due to a small homologation issue with the production-based engine, and there’s now some talk over the power plant’s crankshaft journal size. It’s something program manager Doug Fehan hopes to have resolved soon with meetings scheduled for this weekend.

Another talking point will be the additional points that up for grabs, being an endurance race. Twenty-five points goes to each class winner, compared to 20 for a standard-length event, giving teams all the more incentive to perform.

Those extra points could come in handy if you’re Level 5 Motorsports or Green Earth Team Gunnar, as both squads are also tied for the LMPC championship lead. Six cars are entered in the spec-prototype category, including the second Level 5 machine which didn’t start at Long Beach because of an issue over minimum and maximum drive time rules.

IMSA has since released a cumulative rules update outlining changes to the minimum and maximum drive times. While everything essentially remains the same as it was last month, there’s further clarification that the drive time for a driver entered in two cars is cumulative among the two entries. For Laguna Seca, this means Scott Tucker must drive a minimum of 90 minutes but not exceed four hours total in both his Nos. 55 and 95 entries to score points.

There’s also been a change in the GTC ranks for this weekend, as IMSA has allowed GRAND-AM and World Challenge-spec Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars to run the 3.8-liter version of Porsche’s Flat 6 power plant. However, as a result, the car’s minimum weight has been increased by 25kg.

With the majority of the teams using Porsche’s new 2010 model Cup car, it remains to be seen if this adjustment will have a huge impact on the battle up front. Both TRG (GRAND-AM Cup car) and GMG Racing (World Challenge Cup car) will likely benefit from the rules change. But how close can they come to the the trio of Alex Job Racing entries, which have been the cars to beat?

Saturday’s race could answer a lot of questions after a fascinating start to the 2010 season.

Official practice begins at 9:50 a.m. on Friday, with qualifying held from 3:30 to 3:50 p.m. that afternoon. Following a 20-minute warm-up session at 10:15 a.m., the six-hour race will start at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. The full race will be streamed live online at americanlemans.com starting at 5:30 p.m. ET in partnership with TodoCast.tv. CBS Sports will broadcast the event from 1:30 to 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 29. A-freaking-week-later!?!?! :cfdeadagain

Set your TiVos and don't read any racing news for a week....

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Desertdawg

You know I was scanning through Speedvision looking for the race, I thought I was missing something. Why isn't this being televised live? :banghead

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Is there a PINKS marathon or a NECKCAR race on? I can't believe CBS will cover a 6 hour race, even a week after.

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Is there a PINKS marathon or a NECKCAR race on? I can't believe CBS will cover a 6 hour race, even a week after.

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Is there a PINKS marathon or a NECKCAR race on? I can't believe CBS will cover a 6 hour race, even a week after.

You bust on "NECKCAR" but it means BIG BUSINESS here. :lol

And yeah, I like it. :P

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Laguna Seca: Corvette Racing qualifying report

Racing series: ALMS

Date 2010-05-21

Corvettes Qualify Third and Fourth for Laguna Seca Six-Hour

Tenth of a Second Separates Gavin and Magnussen in GT Qualifying Battle

MONTEREY, Calif., May 21, 2010 -- Corvette Racing drivers Oliver Gavin and Jan Magnussen qualified their Compuware Corvette C6.Rs third and fourth respectively in the hotly contested GT class for Saturday's six-hour American Le Mans Series Monterey. Gavin turned his quickest time on his fourth flying lap, stopping the clock at 1:23.101 (96.952 mph) in the No. 4 Corvette C6.R. Magnussen responded with a 1:23.201 (96.835 mph) on his fifth and final flyer. Jaime Melo put Risi Competizione's Ferrari 430 GT on the pole at 122.752 (97.361 mph).

"I was just chipping away at the time on every lap," said Gavin. "I was hoping to find that last little bit so we could challenge the Ferraris on the front row. My engineer, Chuck Houghton, and the crew have been working really hard over the last two days to give the car a good balance. We've got the setup a lot closer, but we still need to find a little bit more. That's the difference between where we are now and being on pole. I feel confident that the adjustments we'll make tonight are going to help us and we'll be strong for six hours tomorrow."

Both Corvettes improved their lap times significantly from the earlier practice sessions on the 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course on the central California coastline.

"The car was very good, but I still don't think I hit it exactly like I wanted," said Magnussen. "We are trying some different things that might not have been the best for qualifying but it felt like the car got better and better on the run, which is very encouraging."

Earlier today the team celebrated the upcoming 50th anniversary of Corvette's first participation in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Dr. Dick Thompson, who drove one of Briggs Cunningham's Corvettes at Le Mans in 1960, and Dick Guldstrand, co-driver of the Dana Chevrolet Corvette at Le Mans in 1967, were reunited with their historic race cars. With the Corvette C6.Rs scheduled to begin their journey to France on next Thursday, thoughts of Le Mans loom large.

"As a warmup for Le Mans, this will be a good test," Gavin said. "We're also mindful that these cars are going to Le Mans in just a few days -- I think the crew reminds us of that hourly! I'm hoping more than anything that Olivier and I can get a decent result. We've had some rough luck in the first two races, and we need to score points tomorrow if we hope to challenge for the championship."

-source: gm racing

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*** SPOILER ALERT - RESULTS POSTED BELOW ***

Highcroft Racing takes overall ALMS win at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

Patrón Highcroft Racing scored an exhausting win Saturday in the American Le Mans Series Monterey presented by Patrón at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The HPD ARX-01c of David Brabham, Simon Pagenaud and Marino Franchitti won the six-hour race, the team’s second straight win.

Franchitti took the checkered flag in the third of nine races on this season’s schedule. He and Dyson Racing’s Guy Smith--who won the pole on Friday--battled for the better part of the final two hours before Dyson’s Mazda-powered Lola ground to a halt with 24 minutes remaining, the result of a blown oil filter.

In the GT class, Patrick Long took the lead for good on a restart with eight minutes left to win by 0.365-second for Flying Lizard Motorsports and Porsche. He and Jörg Bergmeister won at Laguna Seca for the second straight season. Long passed Rahal Letterman Racing driver Joey Hand and his BMW M3 on the inside of turn 11 just as the green flag flew, a legal move.

Hand took the class lead with 33 minutes left when Long pitted for fuel. He and Dirk Mueller finished second, just ahead of Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta.

Level 5 Motorsports’ trio of Christophe Bouchut, Mark Wilkins and Scott Tucker won in the LMP Challenge class, repeating their victory from the opening round at Sebring in March. Bouchut crossed the finish line 7.105 seconds ahead of Genoa Racing’s Tom Sutherland. He drove with Tom Weickardt and Kyle Marcelli.

In the GT Challenge division, Black Swan Racing won, with brothers Jeroen and Sebastiaan Bleekemolen partnering with team owner Tim Pappas. They led all six hours and ended up a lap ahead of TRG’s Porsche driven by Andy Lally, Rene Villeneuve and Henri Richard.

RESULTS (Finishing Position, Car No., Driver, Hometown, Car, Class Finishing Position, Laps Completed, Reason for Retirement):

1. (35) Simon Pagenaud, Montmorrillon; Marino Franchitti, Edinburgh, Scotland; David Brabham, Maidenhead; HPD ARX-01c (1, LMP), 237

2. (2) Klaus Graf, Dornham; Sascha Maassen, Raeren; Memo Gidley, San Rafael, CA; Porsche RS Spyder (2, LMP), 230

3. (8) Christophe Bouchut, France; Mark Wilkins, Toronto, ON; Scott Tucker, Leawood, KS; Oreca FLM09 (1, LMPC), 229

4. (9) Kyle Marcelli, Barrie, ON; Tom Sutherland, Los Gatos, CA; Tom Weickardt, Whitefish Bay, WI; Oreca FLM09 (2, LMPC), 229

5. (19) Joerg Bergmeister, Langenfield; Patrick Long, Bellaire, FL; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (3, GT), 227

6. (17) Dirk Mueller, Monte Carlo; Joey Hand, Sacramento, CA; BMW E92 M3 (4, GT), 227

7. (14) Oliver Gavin, Yardley Hastings; Olivier Beretta, Monte Carlo; Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 (5, GT), 227

8. (12) Jaime Melo, Milan; Gianmaria Bruni, Rome; Ferrari 430 GT (6, GT), 225

9. (13) Johannes van Overbeek, San Francisco, CA; Scott Sharp, Jupiter, FL; Ferrari 430 GT (7, GT), 225

10. (15) Jan Magnussen, Roskilde; Johnny O`Connell, Flowery Branch, GA; Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 (8, GT), 224

11. (20) Wolf Henzler, Nuertingen; Bryan Sellers, Braselton, GA; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (9, GT), 224

12. (7) Elton Julian, Los Angeles, CA; Christian Zugel, Holmdel, NJ; Gunnar Jeannette, Salt Lake City, UT; Oreca FLM09 (10, LMPC), 222

13. (16) Bill Auberlen, Redondo Beach, CA; Tommy Milner, Leesburg, VA; BMW E92 M3 (11, GT), 222

14. (11) Brian Wong, Newport Beach, CA; Mitch Pagery, Deerfield Beach, FL; David Ducote; Oreca FLM09 (12, LMPC), 222

15. (1) Chris Dyson, Pleasant Valley, NY; Guy Smith, Bracken, Yorkshire; Andy Meyrick, Chester; Lola B09 86/Mazda (13, LMP), 220

16. (23) Nic Jonsson, Buford, GA; Tracy Krohn, Houston, TX; Ferrari 430 GT (14, GT), 220

17. (24) Jeroen Bleekemolen, Monte Carlo; Sebastiaan Bleekemolen, Haarlem; Tim Pappas, Boston, MA; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (1, GTC), 219

18. (26) Andy Lally, New York, NY; Rene Villeneuve, Woodland Hills, CA; Henri Richard, Los Altos Hills, CA; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (2, GTC), 218

19. (25) Juan Gonzalez; Butch Leitzinger, Rebersburg, PA; Rudy Junco Jr., Monterrey; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (3, GTC), 217

20. (33) Ricardo Gonzalez, Mexico; Luis Diaz, Mexico City; Rudy Junco Jr., Monterrey; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (4, GTC), 217

21. (28) Bryce Miller, Summit, NJ; John McMullen, Spring Lake, NJ; Luke Hines, Essex; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (5, GTC), 216

22. (27) Shane Lewis, Jupiter, FL; Lawson Aschenbach, West Palm Beach, FL; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (6, GTC), 216

23. (21) David Murry, Atlanta, GA; Andrea Robertson, Ray, MI; David Robertson, Ray, MI; Doran Design Ford GT (7, GT), 215

24. (30) Seth Neiman, Burlingame, CA; Timo Bernhard, Dittweiler; Darren Law, Phoenix, AZ; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (8, GT), 213

25. (32) Bill Sweedler, Westport, CT; Romeo Kapudija, Lincolnwood, IL; Jan-Dirk Lueders, Barrington Hills, IL; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (9, GTC), 212

26. (31) Galen Bieker, Burbank, CA; Kris Wilson, Huntington Beach, CA; Robert Rodriguez, Zephyr Cove, NY; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (10, GTC), 212

27. (34) Doug Baron, Pacific Palisades, CA; Loren Beggs, Montclair, CA; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (11, GTC), 211

28. (18) Guy Cosmo, West Palm Beach, FL; Ed Brown, Las Vegas, NV; Ferrari 430 GT (12, GT), 194

29. (22) Marc Goossens, Huntersville, NC; Ryan Dalziel, Orlando, FL; Jaguar XKRS (13, GT), 191

30. (4) Pierre Ehret, Tegernsee; Bryan Willman, Kirkland, WA; Tony Burgess, Toronto; Lola B06 10/AER (14, LMP), 170

31. (5) Paul Drayson, London; Jonny Cocker, Guisborough; Emanuele Pirro, Monte Carlo; Lola B09 60/Judd (15, LMP), 108, Gearbox

32. (6) Tom Papadopoulos, Long Island, NY; Ryan Lewis, Indianapolis, IN; Johnny Mowlem, London; Oreca FLM09 (15, LMPC), 107

33. (29) James Sofronas, Newport Beach, CA; Terry Borcheller, Vero Beach, FL; Bret Curtis, Valencia, CA; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (16, GTC), 83

34. (3) Clint Field, Dublin, OH; Nikolas Konstant, Los Angeles, CA; Jon Field, Dublin, OH; Lola B06/10 AER (17, LMP), 38

35. (10) Scott Tucker, Leawood, KS; Andy Wallace, England; Burt Frisselle, Kihei, HI; Oreca FLM09 (16, LMPC), 8

Edit: Added the Corvette-only blurb:

Laguna Seca: Corvette Racing race report

Racing series: ALMS

Date 2010-05-22

Corvettes Finish Third and Sixth in Six-Hour Laguna Seca ALMS Race

Gavin and Beretta on Podium in Final Rehearsal for Le Mans, O'Connell and Magnussen Win Michelin Green X Challenge

MONTEREY, Calif., May 22, 2010 -- Billed as the warm-up for the upcoming 24 Hours of Le Mans, the six-hour American Le Mans Series Monterey was contested on an unseasonably cold day in central California. With track temperatures in the low 50s, getting a grip on the roller coaster 2.238-mile Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca circuit was the chief challenge.

After a fast and furious battle in the GT class, Corvette Racing's No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R driven by Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta finished third. The No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R of Jan Magnussen and Johnny O'Connell finished sixth and won the Michelin Green X Challenge in the GT category. The No. 45 Porsche driven by Patrick Long and Joerg Bergmeister won the class with a 0.365-second margin of victory over the Mueller/Hand BMW.

Both Corvettes ran at the front in the hard-fought GT division. Starting third on the GT grid, the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R lost track position to its rivals on its fourth pit stop, but Gavin charged from seventh to first during his second stint. After the final round of fuel stops, Gavin was in third and within striking distance of the leader -- but two late-race cautions stymied his attempts to move up in the finishing order.

"I wish that last caution hadn't come because I think we had them," Gavin said. "We had the speed but that last caution just killed any chance. It was great fun racing against the Porsche and the BMW -- there was a bit of bumping, but it was all fair. In the back of my mind was always the thought that this car needs to go Le Mans in a few days, and any damage today could have a direct effect on how we perform there. I wanted to make sure that it would be ready to leave for France next Thursday.

"It was great to be fighting for the victory," Gavin continued. "We still need to find that last little bit, but it will come. We got some good points today and I'm pleased about that. This championship is going to be about grabbing podiums and points whenever you can because it's full-out racing."

The No. 3 Corvette took the lead after the first round of pit stops, but was penalized for a pit-lane infraction after its second stop. The stop-and-go penalty dropped the car to seventh, but Magnussen was on a mission. He took the GT class lead at 4:18 and was fifth overall after a heated battle of the brands between Corvette, Ferrari, Porsche, and BMW. A punctured right-front tire in the final 20 minutes and subsequent penalty consigned the No. 3 to sixth at the checkered flag.

"It was really good racing, but it's a shame when it goes that way towards the end and you feel all your hard work is for nothing," Magnussen said. "It was just one of those days where it looked like we had a great shot at winning it in the beginning, and then things got in the way."

The No. 3 Corvette won the Michelin Green X Challenge in the GT class by going the farthest, the fastest, with the least environmental impact. "Our focus at Corvette Racing is multi-faceted -- to design and build top-quality race cars that are fast and that demonstrate leading-edge green technology," said Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. "Capturing another Michelin Green X Challenge title for Chevrolet and GM is a huge accomplishment."

Corvette Racing's next event is the 24 Hours of Le Mans at the Circuit de La Sarthe in Le Mans, France.

-source: gm racing

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Desertdawg

Well to say CBS screwed up a great race by making it into a show would be harsh, there was some good insider stuff that was worth watching but give me hours on hours of cars running around over what I watched today anytime... Looks like Corvette Racing has some work todo..... 24 hours at Lemons is next, come on boys let's get'em!!!

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