An unscheduled pit stop proved to be the decisive moment for the No. 4 Corvette C6-R. Gavin started on the pole for the two-hour, 45-minute race, and led the GT1 class through the first hour and 13 minutes.
On a restart following the first caution period, Gavin had to battle the Saleen S7R of Johnny Mowlem, with unexpected results.
"The Saleen made a banzai run past me on the restart, and as he came by, he gave me a smack on the side," Gavin recalled. "He left the door open going into Turn 1 and I dove up the inside and took the position. Unfortunately, I locked the brakes and flat-spotted the left front tire with that pass. I continued to race, but the performance was definitely down and we had to change the tire. I was fortunate when the next caution came out; it was an opportune time for us to pit."
Beretta replaced Gavin and the team changed four tires and refueled the car, knocking the No. 4 Corvette out of sequence with its sister car and dropped Beretta to fourth in the class standings. Nineteen minutes later, he was back in second.
The No. 3 Corvette C6-R pitted for a green-flag stop at the one-hour, 53-minute mark. O'Connell replaced Fellows and the team changed four tires and refueled.
Three minutes later, the No. 4 was in the pits for a third stop; a quick 18-seconds for gas gave Beretta a commanding lead.
"We only had to fill half a tank, and that's faster than doing a full stop with a change of tires," explained crew chief Ray Gongla. "That's where we gained position, and that made the difference. It just happened that the pit stops benefited the No. 4 Corvette today."
Racing nose-to-tail with his teammate in the closing laps, O'Connell cut Beretta's margin from 15 seconds to a heartbeat in the final 45 minutes. "I think the No. 3 car was the stronger of the two today, but sometimes things don't go your way," O'Connell conceded. "The fact that we could come back strong at the finish shows we had a great race car today. Anytime it's a 1-2 Corvette finish, it's a good result."
Fellows agrees. "We were running race laps only a second off our qualifying times, and that's just outstanding," said the Canadian. "The car was working really well after we made a tire pressure adjustment on the first pit stop. The C6-R is an absolute treat to drive around a race track like Road America. When you have a good car, there aren't many tracks that are as much fun as this one."
"Everybody at Corvette Racing has done a fantastic job with the new C6-R to win the Manufacturers Championship with three races to go," said Gavin. "Things have fallen into place for Olivier and me over the last few races, and we just want to keep that momentum going. It's going to be really close through the end of the year."
With the manufacturer and team championships now decided, the race for the GT1 Drivers Championship will be in the spotlight in the final three rounds of the 10-race series.
New Corvette Six-Speed Automatic Available for '06 Coupe and Convertible
The '06 Corvette coupe and convertible models are available with a new electronically-controlled six-speed paddle-shift transmission with automatic modes. The transmission has three driving modes-drive, sport, and paddle shift-and a wide, 6.04:1 overall ratio that enables a balance of stirring acceleration and excellent fuel economy.
The new electronically-controlled six-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission is one of the most technologically advanced transmissions in the industry, featuring clutch-to-clutch operation, manual control shift operation, and an integrated 32-bit electronic controller. The six forward gears have smaller "steps" between them to enhance the feeling of performance and smoothness. The smaller steps also enable a steep 4.02:1 First gear, which provides an improved-performance launch when compared with the previous four-speed automatic 3.06:1 First gear. There are two Overdrive gears: a 0.85:1 ratio in fifth gear and a 0.67:1 ratio in sixth. The final drive ratio of Corvette models equipped with the new transmission is 2.56:1.
Technological sophistication is exemplified by two electronically controlled automatic modes, drive and sport, in addition to manual paddle shift. The drive mode optimizes shifts for smoothness and the sport mode enables firmer shifts for better performance. With the paddle shift mode, gear changes are made with manual control paddles located on the steering wheel.
The performance and functions of the six-speed paddle shift transmission with automatic modes are guided by an integrated controller. The controller is inside the transmission, reducing complexity. A 300mm torque converter, rear bellhousing, driveline support, and revised-length driveshaft also support the transmission's integration into the Corvette.
Royal Purple-Corvette fever Trivia Quiz
This month, Corvette Fever is continuing the new Royal Purple-Corvette Fever Trivia Quiz. The Royal Purple Trivia question will be featured in each issue of Corvette Fever and at www.corvettefever.com. Readers can answer via e-mail or regular mail. Those who answer correctly will be part of a drawing for a $200 gift certificate from Royal Purple. The winner of the contest will be featured in the next issue of Corvette Fever.
Enter the Royal Purple Trivia Quiz by answering the question and filling out the required information online, or by sending the answer on a 3x5 card with your name, address, phone number, and date of birth. See Rules on page 89.
This month's Royal Purple-Corvette Fever Trivia Quiz question is:
What was the first model year the AM/FM radio became standard equipment in the Corvette?
Send your written entry form to:Royal Purple Trivia QuizCorvette Fever Magazine9036 Brittany WayTampa, FL 33619Or answer online at: www.corvettefever.com