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Gavin Beretta Chevy Corvette GT1 Win ALMS & Other News - Inside Track

What's Happening Around Town

Sep 1, 2007
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Gavin And Beretta Win Gt1 In Salt Lake City Alms....
Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta scored their fourth win in five starts this season, taking the GT1 class honors in the American Le Mans Series Utah Grand Prix at Miller Motorsports Park. The two Ollies completed 61 laps of the 4.5-mile circuit in their No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R, finishing 26.550 seconds ahead of Jan Magnussen and Johnny O'Connell in the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R. The two Corvettes finished eighth and ninth overall.

Gavin started at the back of the pack after the team elected to change tires that had been flat-spotted in a spin during qualifying. Per ALMS rules, the pole-winning Corvette was relegated to the 25th starting position after the tire change. But Gavin dispatched the entire GT2 field on the first lap, gaining nine positions. By the third lap, he was 3.5 seconds behind the No. 3 Corvette, which had started 12th.

"There was quite a melee in the first corner with cars going off the track, and I was trying to be very careful because the last thing I wanted to do was damage the car," Gavin says. "I managed to pick off cars one by one. Then I caught up behind one of the prototypes, which was a problem because we were much quicker in the corners, but their car was like a dragster in the straights. Finally he went wide in Turn 15, and I managed to get past him."

A full course caution at 11:50 into the race reduced the margin between the two Corvettes to 0.6 seconds. Then after the first round of pit stops at the 40-minute mark, the No. 4 Corvette emerged with the lead. Gavin says, "As I came in for the pit stop, Ray Gongla, my crewchief, said on the radio, 'Make it count!' I pushed and pushed, the crew did a fantastic pit stop, and we managed to get out just in front of Jan. I have to say that our engineer, Steve Cole, and the team gave us a brilliant race car today."

While Beretta savored his record-setting 32nd career ALMS victory, he was focused on the team's next race-the 24 Hours of Le Mans. "It was a very important day for us because it was the last practice before Le Mans," says Beretta. "We had to finish with the car in one piece because it will fly to France in a few days. We want the mechanics to be well rested because they've done a fantastic job since the start of the season. We went through three street races without any accidents, and now we've completed a successful Michelin tire test. We are ready to go to the big one now."

Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan agreed. "It was a perfectly executed race today, and we learned a tremendous amount," he says. "I think we've made a very good tire selection for Le Mans; the last compound we had on looked really good, so we're excited about that. We'll be as prepared as possible." Magnussen had to contend with a transmission problem in his two stints in the No. 3 Corvette C6.R. "In the first stint I had some trouble with the gearbox on shifts," he says. "That problem got better in the second stint, but I couldn't count on it not coming back so it was hard for me to push. Still, we did have a good test of the tires, and that will be useful for us going into Le Mans."

Magnussen's teammate, Johnny O'Connell, also has his eyes on the Le Mans prize. "The next stop is Le Mans, and we're hoping for good fortune there," he says. "We've certainly done our homework in these last races."

Zip Products Corvette Trivia Challenge
This is the first installment of the new Corvette Fever/Zip Products Corvette Trivia Challenge. The Zip Products Corvette Trivia Challenge question will be featured in this issue of Corvette Fever and at You will be able to answer via e-mail or regular mail. The online poll will start at 12:01 a.m. on 8-21-07 and expire at 11:59 p.m. on 9-4-07. Those who answer correctly will be part of a drawing for a $200 gift certificate from Zip Products. The winner of the contest will also be featured in the next issue of Corvette Fever. Enter the Zip Products Corvette Trivia Challenge 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 87.

Send your written entry form to:
Zip Products
Corvette Trivia Challenge
Corvette Fever magazine
9036 Brittany Way
Tampa, FL 33619

Or answer online at

This month's Zip Products
Corvette Trivia Challenge question is:The Corvette Mulsanne concept car, based on a production coupe, had what unusual features at one time or another?* Ghost flames* ZL1 engine* Non-flip-up headlamps* Roof periscope* LT1 engine* Side-mount exhausts* All the above

Corvette Racing To Reunite Fellows And Pilgrim For Grand Prix Of Mosport
Corvette Racing will enter a third Corvette C6.R, driven by Ron Fellows and Andy Pilgrim, in the Grand Prix of Mosport to be held at Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario, on August 26, 2007. Former teammates, Fellows and Pilgrim, will be reunited for the ninth round of the American Le Mans Series at the famed Canadian track near Fellows' home in Mississauga, Ontario. "I'm excited, and I know that Andy's excited," says Fellows. "It should be good fun. Andy and I are both a part of Corvette Racing history, and this will be a real treat."

Fellows and Pilgrim raced together at Mosport in August 2000, finishing second on a track that went from wet to dry in the closing laps. One month later, the pair won at Texas Motor Speedway, scoring the first of Corvette Racing's 55 victories.

"I'm thrilled to be running with Ron in Canada," Pilgrim says. "Mosport is a very special place for Ron, and I'm excited about the prospect of being his teammate there. It's always great to race with Ron, and it's even better to be doing it at his home track. Mosport is extremely fast, and it's an eye-opening experience to race a GT1 Corvette there."

The third Corvette C6.R will run in Arctic White paint that celebrates the limited-edition Ron Fellows ALMS GT1 Champion Corvette Z06. "The team wanted to salute Ron and his many friends and fans at Mosport," says GM Racing Road Racing Group manager Steve Wesoloski. "Andy Pilgrim is the perfect choice as Ron's teammate at this special event. They scored the first win for Corvette Racing, and they're teammates in several races with Team Cadillac. Andy's very active with the Corvette Museum and is very popular at Corvette events. This is an opportunity to spotlight two great Corvette racers."

Both drivers have vivid memories of their first race together on the fast 2.459-mile Canadian circuit. "The race at Mosport was the first time I'd driven with Ron, and we almost pulled off the first win for Corvette," Pilgrim says. "We had a good effort, but lost the lead late in the race with rain tires on a drying track. It was a disappointing result, but we made up for it with a victory at the next race in Texas."

"I'd convinced GM Racing that if we went to Mosport, I'd guarantee a win," Fellows says. "That was pretty bold on my part, but we had it covered until the track dried up while our car was on rain tires. The change in weather was terribly unlucky, but it made for a great race."

Pilgrim and Fellows will be doing double-duty at Mosport, driving their Corvette C6.R in the ALMS race and Cadillac CTS-V race cars in the SCCA World Challenge GT event.

Fiskens Co-Sponsors Lemans Legend Race
Fiskens, founded by sports car racer Gregor Fisken and internationally recognized as a leading dealer of fine historic automobiles, is co-sponsoring the Le Mans Legend Race this year, which takes place prior to the famous 24 Hour race. Organized by Motor Racing Legends, creators of the Fiskens-backed Woodcote Trophy, the Le Mans Legend Race will see a huge grid of 61 of the greatest sports racing cars of all time battling it out across seven classes in the hour-long race.

Eligible cars cover a period of 12 years (1956-'68) and the variety of genuine Le Mans and Le Mans-type cars is unsurpassed. Highlights include a trio of Ford GT40s, ex-Formula 3000 racer Kurt Mollekens in Marc Devis' Alfa Romeo Tipo 33/2, and historic ace Peter Hardman in a Ferrari P3, all of whom will fight it out for overall honors. Modern racers Gavin Pickering (Jaguar D-type) and former Touring Car and Formula 3 driver Michael Bentwood (Aston Martin DB4 GT) will have their own battle in class 2, while British GT drivers Oliver Bryant (AC Cobra) and Matt Harris (Lotus XI) will make their Le Mans debuts, the latter sharing with Fiskens' own Joe Twyman.

Fiskens' sales manager Will Stone revealed he is delighted the company was able to support such a prestigious event as the Le Mans Legend Race. "Le Mans is always a special occasion, somewhat of a pilgrimage for everyone at Fiskens. After the success of last year's inaugural Woodcote Trophy season with Duncan Wiltshire of Motor Racing Legends, it is a great opportunity for us to get involved with the Le Mans support race. They have put together an excellent field of cars, exactly the kind we get excited about."

Motor Racing Legends Chairman Duncan Wiltshire is delighted to have Fiskens' support. He says, "We are thrilled to have Fiskens involved in a truly fantastic event. This year proved harder than ever before to select the 61 cars to race from the 100-plus top-quality entries we received. However, the final entries reflect the real icons from one of the most emotive eras of endurance sportscar racing. Motor Racing Legends has always enjoyed a superb relationship with Fiskens through their sponsorship of the Woodcote Trophy and are thrilled to be working with them once more."

Vintage Mam Corvettes Take To The Track At Walter Mitty Challenge
Mid America Motorworks (MAM) recently announced their sponsorship of "Corvettes at the Mitty" in the Sports Cars of America Corral at the '07 Classic Motorsports Walter Mitty Challenge. The Walter Mitty Challenge is the largest historic racing event on the east coast at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia.

The year 2007 was the thirtieth year of the Walter Mitty Challenge, and the spirit of the race series was embodied in the classic Corvettes displayed by Mid America Motorworks. Chief MAM Cheerleader Mike Yager, recently named one of the top 50 automotive collectors in the nation by Sports Car Market magazine, chose three rare Corvettes from his personal collection to share with fans at the Walter Mitty Challenge. These priceless vehicles include the No. 69 SCCA National Championship '62 Corvette, the No. 4 Le Mans '68 Corvette, and the No. 8 Elliot Forbes-Robinson '69 Corvette.

Walter Mitty Challenge attendees were impressed by the pedigree of Yager's vehicles. For example, the No. 4 '68 Corvette came in Seventh in its class at Le Mans in 1972, and finished fifteenth overall out of 55. Only 18 cars were able to finish the arduous race. Driven by David Heinz and Bob Johnson, it took 23 years for Corvette to return and run as strong at Le Mans. Then there is the No. 8 Elliot Forbes-Robinson '69 Corvette. One of four "lightweight" L-88 Corvettes built by Chevrolet, the No. 8 car was originally owned and campaigned by Herb Caplan. Between 1969 and 1971, Caplan won 46 races out of 49 starts. Caplan sold the Corvette in 1971, and it was eventually purchased by Phyllis Stiles. Stiles had limited success with the car until 1978, when she secured the services of well-known driver Elliot Forbes-Robinson. Forbes-Robinson raced the No.8 to a SCCA A-Production National Championship at Road Atlanta.

The legendary racer Elliot Forbes-Robinson was reunited with his No. 8 L-88 Corvette at the race, and he drove the L-88 in a special touring lap. Mike Yager led the Mid America Motorworks all-Corvette parade lap in the '68 Le Mans Corvette.

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