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Aston finally in ALMS! It's on at Sebring!


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From Backstretch Motorsports:

Bell Motorsports to Field Aston Martin in GT1 for the 2008 American Le Mans Series

Jim Bell, one of the elite names in the history of sports car racing, announced Monday a shared venture with prominent businessman Michael Fux to launch a GT1 program with an Aston Martin DBR9 in the American Le Mans Series. The move will see Miami-based Bell Motorsports going head-to-head against stalwart Corvette Racing, which has won seven consecutive class championships.

The debut of the Bell Motorsports DBR9 at the Series' fourth annual Winter Test in Sebring revitalizes a rivalry that saw Corvette edge Aston Martin for the GT1 championship in 2006 in the last race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

The Bell Motorsports Aston Martin DBR9 will make its competition debut March 15 at the 56th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida. Aston Martin has won six times in the American Le Mans Series with a debut win for the DBR9 at Sebring in 2005.

"To be able to announce Aston Martin's return to GT1 in the American Le Mans Series is special enough," said Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the American Le Mans Series, "but for that effort to involve Jim Bell and new partner Michael Fux truly makes this news particularly satisfying. Jim has been involved with the American Le Mans Series since the inaugural Petit Le Mans and has a proven record of success in many forms of motorsport. The combination of Jim's experience and the potent Aston Martin DBR9 will no doubt keep Corvette Racing on its toes all season."

Bell, a 30-year veteran in sports car racing, has been involved with the American Le Mans Series since its inaugural event ... and even prior to that at Petit Le Mans in 1998. He has provided engineering oversight for a number of prominent GT and prototype teams in the Series. Most recently, Bell served as lead engineer and crew chief in support of Tim Pappas' Team Transport Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in the 2007 American Le Mans Series.

He also was the lead engineer for Jeff Giangrande's ACEMCO Motorsports team with both the Saleen S7R and Ferrari 360 Modena. The ACEMCO Saleen was the biggest threat to Corvette during the 2005 American Le Mans Series and also competed against efforts from Maserati, Dodge and Aston Martin. Bell's history in sports car racing dates back to 1977 and includes numerous wins in IMSA competition working with such drivers as Terry Borcheller, Emerson and Christian Fittipaldi, Klaus Ludwig, Bobby Rahal, Lyn St. James and Danny Sullivan. He was chief engineer for Bill and Don Whittington and Klaus Ludwig during the 1979 season and assisted in the trio's overall win in the Kremer Porsche 935 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

"Aston Martin always has made a premium race car and automobile," said Bell, team principal, "and there is no better place to showcase a premium brand than in the American Le Mans Series. Having been involved with the Series since its inception, I know it will be an extraordinary challenge but it's one we all relish and look forward to. We enjoyed competing in the American Le Mans Series with the ACEMCO Saleen S7R against Corvette Racing in 2005 and at Le Mans in 2006. I think we have developed a mutual, competitive respect for one another, and having the chance to rekindle that in 2008 makes me proud and eager with anticipation."

Michael Fux is a semi-retired businessman whose career expands more than 40 years in the founding, developing and launching of successful companies in the home furnishing industry. He is currently the CEO of Lifestyle Innovations, a distributor and marketer of oso*fresh food storage containers, which he founded in 2005. The company's mission is to create innovative products that have a long term benefit for both the user and the environment. Lifestyle Innovations' efforts are in conjunction with the retail trades ever-growing need to offer more environmentally friendly products.

Prior to this position, Mr. Fux served as President and CEO of Sleep Innovations, Inc., a manufacturer and marketer of memory foam mattresses, mattress toppers and pillows, a firm which he founded in 1996. Mr. Fux sold the company in 2005. Mr. Fux retains a seat on the Board of Directors.

He also is an avid car collector and race enthusiast who counts several high-performance exotic automobiles in his collection including a Bugatti Veyron, Ferrari Enzo and Ferrari FXX. Fux has had his eye on becoming involved in motorsports for some time and, like Bell, believes the American Le Mans Series is the ideal platform.

"I am delighted to collaborate with Jim Bell on this effort," Fux said. "I could not think a better person with whom to partner. Jim's experience and success is legendary within sports car racing, and Aston Martin certainly has had more than its fair share of racing success around the globe. We're eager to get started, and the Sebring Winter Test is just the first step."

"Michael's enthusiasm for this project just reinforces the dedication we have in putting a highly competitive race team and car on the track," Bell added. "We hope we can make things interesting this year for the Corvettes and especially fans. They have clamored for competition, and we intend to give it our best shot."

Among the drivers participating in the Sebring test for Bell Motorsports include Antonio Garcia, who drove an Aston Martin in GT1 at Sebring last year for Team Modena, open-wheel standout Jaime Camara and Chapman Ducote. Full-season drivers and other program specifics and partners will be announced at a later date.

Updated news, timing information, photos, audio and video from the Winter Test will be available at americanlemans.com throughout the week.

The 2008 season opens with the 56th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida on Saturday, March 15. The race will start at 10 a.m. ET and will be broadcast live by SPEED, which will begin its coverage at 9:30 a.m. MotorsTV, Fox Latin America, 7TV in Russia and Greenlight Television will provide international coverage as well. American Le Mans Radio and IMSA's Live Timing & Scoring will be available at americanlemans.com.

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Now there's some competition...it's not a factory backed ride, but it's something!

And it's green and British! :banannasword:

Here's the current entry list for Sebring: Linkski

:cool GT2 actually looks pretty hot, there's a Ford GT in there, but not pictured correctly....and curiously no Lou Gigliotti-GT2 'vettes. Maybe they won't be ready for Sebring? Man, what was all that hype about? Lou G. and Riley-prepped GT2 C6's were supposed to be out there crushing Ferrari's ego and Porsche's pride.

They better show up. :toetap

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, Lou G. finally resurfaced. But with only one GT2 'vette in the works....Linkski

With almost no track time to work out any bugs, I don't know about his chances at Sebring... :willy

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  • 2 weeks later...

The ole Canuck has re-upped with Corvette Racing for the three endurance races, filling out the roster of Corvette Racing drivers for 2008:

Date 2008-02-20


Chevrolet's Championship-Winning Team Returns for American Le Mans Series and 24 Hours of Le Mans

DETROIT, Feb. 20, 2008 -- Corvette Racing's roster of championship-winning drivers will return in 2008 to race the Chevrolet factory team's twin Compuware Corvette C6.R race cars in the 12-race American Le Mans Series and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Johnny O'Connell and Jan Magnussen will drive the No. 3 Corvette C6.R, joined by Ron Fellows for three endurance races (Sebring, Le Mans and Petit Le Mans). Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta will drive the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R, teamed with Max Papis in long-distance events.

"Continuity and consistency are two of the cornerstones of Corvette Racing's success, and that is reflected in our longstanding relationships with these championship-winning drivers," said Steve Wesoloski, GM Racing Road Racing Group manager. "They thoroughly understand the team's overall objectives, and they are total professionals both on and off the race track. We're very proud to have these six drivers as part of the Corvette Racing family."

Corvette Racing's six drivers have a combined total of 135 ALMS victories, 13 ALMS championships, and 17 class victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. They've been successful in series that span the spectrum of motorsports from karts to Formula 1.

Ron Fellows, the charter member of the Corvette Racing fraternity, has been part of the team since initial testing began in 1997. A four-time winner of the ALMS Most Popular Driver award, the Canadian star will attend selected ALMS races as a consultant and Corvette ambassador when he is not racing. Fellows also intends to compete in selected NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series road races.

"It's been very special to be a part of Corvette Racing since Day One," Fellows said. "People around the world now recognize and respect the Corvette brand as a result of the success in top-level racing that the team has achieved over the years. It's also been very gratifying to see how the race program has been integrated with the production Corvette, first with the sixth-generation Corvette and the Z06, and now with the Corvette ZR1."

Like every member of the Corvette Racing team, Fellows has his eyes firmly fixed on the GT1 prize at the 24 Hours of Le Mans: "Le Mans is our Super Bowl," he said. "It's such an important race, and competing there is something I'm not ready to give up yet."

Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta are seeking their fourth consecutive GT1 drivers championship in 2008, and the teammates are aiming to win their fourth Le Mans title in five years.

"No one is complacent at Corvette Racing," Gavin said. "We all know that our jobs are highly sought after, and I begin each season with the thought that we are starting with a clean sheet of paper and I have to prove myself again. Our teammates in the No. 3 Corvette C6.R will be racing the wheels off to beat us, and we'll be doing the same to beat them as well as the Aston Martin. There are very sharp people in the team who are constantly analyzing every performance, making sure that everyone is at the top of their game.

"Continuity in the lineup means that you know how your teammates think and respond to situations," Gavin explained. "This familiarity allows each of us to get the job done in the most efficient way, and that's usually what produces the best result."

Corvette Racing will make its season debut in the opening round of the 12-race ALMS series, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, on March 15, 2008.

Corvette Racing Drivers

Olivier Beretta, Compuware Corvette No. 4

Birthdate: Nov. 23, 1969

Residence: Monte Carlo, Monaco

Notes: Five-time ALMS GTS/GT1 champion, five class wins in 24 Hours of Le Mans, holds ALMS records for most career wins (37) and most career poles (20), two FIA championships, overall victory in 2000 Rolex 24 at Daytona

Ron Fellows, Compuware Corvette No. 3

Birthdate: Sept. 28, 1959

Residence: Mississauga, Ont., Canada

Notes: Four-time ALMS Most Popular Driver award (2004-07), three-time ALMS champion, two 24 Hours of Le Mans class wins, 19 SCCA Trans-Am wins, five NASCAR wins (two NCTS, three NNS)

Oliver Gavin, Compuware Corvette No. 4

Birthdate: Sept. 29, 1972

Residence: Yardley Hastings, England

Notes: Three-time ALMS GT1 champion, 28 career ALMS class victories, four class wins in 24 Hours of Le Mans

Jan Magnussen, Compuware Corvette No. 3

Birthdate: July 4, 1973

Residence: Roskilde, Denmark

Notes: Three class wins in 24 Hours of Le Mans, 14 career ALMS wins, former Formula 1 driver, twice voted "Most Popular Driver" in ALMS, 2005 Danish Racing Driver of the Year

Johnny O'Connell, Compuware Corvette No. 3

Birthdate: July 24, 1962

Residence: Flowery Branch, Ga.

Notes: Two-time ALMS GT1 champion, 28 career ALMS wins, six Sebring 12-hour class victories, holds ALMS records for most starts (84), most podium finishes (63), most top-five finishes (76) and most top-10 finishes (82)

Max Papis, Compuware Corvette No. 4

Birthdate: Oct. 3, 1969

Residence: Mooresville, N.C.

Notes: Daytona 24-hour winner, two Sebring 12-hour victories, three CART wins, 2004 Grand-Am Daytona Prototype champion

-credit: cr/gm racing

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Also just found out the C6R's new 2008 'paint scheme' with Blackout headlights. Black BBS wheels. The famous BlackTail reborn. The new "Jake-Scrape" Stripe and black rockers. I likey!



Get used to that last view Aston! :banannasword:

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  • 3 weeks later...

:banannasword: Countdown to Sebring! Set your tiVos and vcrs this Saturday, it's on Speed.

Lou's GT2 'vette is finally ready, and wearing flames and Kumhos: Linkski


The notes from the first Sebring practice sessions are in: Linkster

:phil evil: Looks like it might be a long day for that beater Aston...already 3 seconds a lap off the GT1 Corvette pace...but we already knew that would happen, huh? :banannasword:

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Oh yeah now thats a killer paint job, I can't wait to see that thing screeming around the track... :rockon2:

Poor Aston, I hope they don't get beat to bad, I want them to come back again next year for another wooping!!!!

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Oh yeah now thats a killer paint job, I can't wait to see that thing screeming around the track... :rockon2:

Poor Aston, I hope they don't get beat to bad, I want them to come back again next year for another wooping!!!!

My question is, why won't anyone else step-up to the plate.

Cuz they are...CHICKENS!!!!

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Oh yeah now thats a killer paint job, I can't wait to see that thing screeming around the track... :rockon2:

:banannasword:Abra cadabra: Sebring - Dash Cam aboard Lou's GT2 during tire test :edward:

:partygrnhat: Talk about morning wood! The SOUND! I watched this vid twice, the second time with the sound cranked ALL THE WAY UP. Sssscchhwwwwiiiiinnggg! :partygrnhat:

He's within 1.5 seconds of the quickest cars in class, I hope he can reel them in.... :burnout2

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Way cool vid Dean. Check out his shifting action. Serioulsy short throw moving through those gears. The shift lever barely move. :thumbs

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Just watched it, man oh man is that sweet......... I love the bark of the motor on the downshifts!

Sean, he is using a ratcheting shifter, pull back to upshift, push forward to downshift. No gates to find, or miss.

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Allrighty, the grid is set. Sebring Qualifying :banannasword:

The Jan-ster in the #3 led GT1, by close to 4 seconds over the Aston! :banannadance:

Something crazy jumbled the session, so some practice session times were also figured in, but Lou sits seventh in the GT2 grid. :rockon2:

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