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C5-R Defeats Viper—Again!

Corvette Team Wins At Atlanta

Feb 1, 2001

Andy Pilgrim, driving the No. 4 factory Corvette, beat the ORECA Viper two laps from the end of the Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta. It was one of the closest GTS finishes in the series. Corvettes took First and Third Places in their class, prompting Ron Fellows to exclaim, “Texas was no fluke!” referring to the C5-R’s victory there over the Labor Day weekend.

Ron Fellows (No. 3) and Andy Pilgrim (No. 4) broke the existing GTS track record with times of 1:18.632 and 1:18.977, respectively. Fellows won the pole position and Pilgrim was second fastest, for an all-Corvette front row.

Forty cars took the green flag, and the two Corvettes jumped out into the GTS lead. The No. 4 Corvette took over the front spot and led for most of the first five hours of the ten-hour race. The No. 3 C5-R was close behind. At 6:15 p.m. the No. 4 Corvette developed a problem with a faulty wheel nut. This dropped the class-leading Corvette into Fourth, and moved the No. 3 Corvette to Third in class. During the next two hours, the Vipers and Corvettes swapped the lead.

During the last hour, No. 3 lost a cylinder, causing it to drop back. Finally, a yellow flag was thrown, which allowed No. 4 to close on the leading Viper.

The green flag fell with 14 laps remaining; the No. 4 Corvette, driven by Andy Pilgrim, closed a 15-second gap, which put him on the lead Viper’s bumper. Andy explains what happened: “With two laps to go it was now or never. I came out of Turn 12 with a good run on Archer down to Turn 1. Tommy moved into the middle of the course to block. I moved back to the left to fake him. As soon as we hit the brake zone, I dived the car back to the right and went underneath.”

Pilgrim took the GTS lead with the pass, and took the checkered flag. The No. 3 Corvette crossed the finish line 57 seconds behind the Second Place No. 92 Viper. It was inspiring to see all six Corvette drivers on the winner’s podium spraying champagne over the cheering Corvette crowd.

Corvette Racing’s next stops will be in picturesque Laguna Seca, California, and Las Vegas—stay tuned!

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