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SEBRING, Fla., March 16, 2012 – Corvette Racing kicked off Corvette’s 60th year by posting the quickest lap times in the American Le Mans Series GT class for Saturday’s 60th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Running concurrently with the inaugural race of the FIA World Endurance Championship, the two Compuware Corvette C6.Rs driven by Jan Magnussen and Oliver Gavin were third and fourth respectively in combined ALMS/WEC GT qualifying.
The new wide-body Corvette C6.Rs are making their competition debut in the season-opening round of the ALMS, turning qualifying lap times 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 circuit at 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. Gianmaria Bruni recorded the fastest time in the WEC GT category at 1:58.427 (113.690 mph) in AF Corse’s Ferrari 458 Italia. The 12 quickest qualifiers in the combined GT category eclipsed the class qualifying record set in 2010 at 2:01.150.
“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.
“With the WEC here with ALMS, there is only going to be one winner,” the Dane declared. “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.”
Running on low fuel, Magnussen ran of E85 on his cool-down lap, while Gavin made it back to his pit box on fumes.
“We definitely got the most of what we had today with both cars, and Oliver did a fantastic job,” Magnussen noted. “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 60th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 17, with live video on ESPN3.com. ABC will televise the race at 12:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday, March 18.
Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring GT Qualifying
(Combined ALMS/WEC Top 10):
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