2008 Detroit Grand Prix - Corvettes Invade The Island

Corvette Fever Takes A Closer Look At The '08 Detroit Grand Prix

John M. Banach Feb 22, 2009 0 Comment(s)
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Both Corvettes immediately pulled in simultaneously for a pit stop. The team strategy for the leading Corvette No. 3 was for tires, fuel, and driver change. Corvette No. 4 chose to keep Beretta behind the wheel for another stint while changing to fresh tires and adding fuel. In this case, the race between the pit crews was won by the Corvette No. 4 team. Beretta came out of the pits ahead of Corvette No. 3, which was now being driven by Johnny O'Connell. Corvette No. 4 was now leading the race in the GT1 class. At this point, only seconds separated the two Corvettes.

With an hour remaining in this two-hour and 45-minute race, both Corvettes came in together for what would be their final scheduled pit stop. This time fuel, tires, and driver change was the plan for both cars. Again, the pit crew for the No. 4 car prevailed. Oliver Gavin was now charged with the task of bringing Corvette No. 4 home to victory. Jan Magnussen, now taking over driving duties for O'Connell in the No. 3 car, was on a mission. The Dane was in the process of reeling in the sister No. 4 car when misfortune struck.

With approximately 20 minutes remaining in the race, the No. 21 GT2 Panoz spun, hit the wall, and left debris behind Turn 7. This brought out the safety car, which, by chance, separated the two Corvettes. Corvette No. 4 ended up in front of the safety car, while the No. 3 car was trapped behind. This allowed Gavin to gain a full lap on Magnussen-a disadvantage that would prove too difficult to overcome with such evenly matched cars. Ironically, the exact same situation happened to Beretta in last year's race in which Magnussen took the win. When the checkered flag dropped for the '08 Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, it was Gavin and Beretta with Corvette No. 4 in Victory Circle. Corvette No. 3 finished as runner-up, followed by Aston Martin No. 007 in Third Place.

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Driver Johnny O'Connell

Corvette Racing Program Manager Doug Fehan summed up the race: "It was an awesome event, and once again it came down to pit stops. The fans saw flawless execution, with the No. 4 Corvette just a little quicker than the No. 3 Corvette on that first stop. It's a great day for Oliver, Olivier, and the No. 4 crew. They haven't had many breaks go their way this year, and eventually it had to change. You can't hold great people down, and in the true spirit of Corvette Racing, they never gave up."

In closing, Corvette Racing is now firmly embedded within the prestigious history of the Detroit Grand Prix. Over the years, this event has included some of the world's highest forms of motor sport. The '08 Detroit Grand Prix was a huge success for competitors and fans alike. Not only was it an event to remember, but one to look forward to in the coming years. Labor Day Weekend at the Detroit Grand Prix is now a continuing Corvette tradition in the making.




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