This order would endure to the end, with O'Connell and Jan Magnusson taking their third GT1 win of the year. Though both Vettes escaped significant damage, Oliver Gavin got into the side of Adrian Fernandez's Acura prototype with just 20 minutes remaining in the race. The acci-dent banged up the No. 4 car's driver's door and right rear quarter-panel. The No. 3, meanwhile, suffered a small tweak to the left side of the rear diffuser undertray. Fortunately, the damage to both cars was relatively insignificant, with repairs scheduled to be effected in Michigan before the C6.Rs left for France the next week.
The LMP2 prototypes of Porsche and Acura prevailed overall, taking the top six finishing spots. The favored Audis had problems with penalties and a significant shunt with the lone GT2 Ford, relegating them to 7th and 21st.
After the race, the Corvette team leapt into pack-up mode, with everyone pitching in to get the transporters on the road as soon as possible. With four Astons, two French-owned Corvette C6.Rs, a Saleen, and a Lamborghini waiting at Le Mans, the Corvette Racing squad would need all the prep time it could muster.
Corvette Racing Profile: Ross "Roscoe" Jeffrey
Ross Jeffrey has been around motor racing all of his adult life. He first came to the attention of Gary Pratt when Pratt was running a race-prep company known as Protofab. A chance meeting with Pratt and an offer to do anything, anytime for the company won the then-19-year-old Jeffrey the job. He started out sweeping floors and as the company "gofer." As his interest and experience grew, Jeffrey graduated to performing just about any task the team needed, from fabrication to mechanical work.
Jeffrey was then hired by Cars and Concepts, where he met current Corvette Racing honcho Doug Fehan. When Cars and Concepts folded, Fehan found a place for Jeffrey with the Roush Racing organization. Time spent with the racing trucks at Roush continued to hone Jeffrey's skills, leading Pratt to offer him a spot on the rapidly developing Corvette Racing program at Pratt & Miller Engineering in 1999.
Jeffrey-"Roscoe," to those who know him-is now something of a jack-of-all-trades at P&M headquarters. When the team travels, he's the outside tire changer for the No. 4 car during pit stops. He's easily identifiable, as his tall, slender frame allows him the liberty of expelling spent tires by shoving them backward between his legs, rather than pitching them to one side like the rest of the crewmen. "It's just faster that way," he says.
Jeffrey is perhaps most notable for inventing the now-famous racing-repair material informally known as "bear bond." In 1998, while working for Roush, Jeffrey realized that teams needed a material that could be used like duct tape to repair bodywork damage during a race. He wanted a product that was easy to apply, exceptionally strong, and adaptable to any shape. Eventually, he developed just such a material in a sheet configuration that could be cut to any dimension. After he figured out how to impregnate the material with any color a racing team might require, it was time for Jeffrey's wonder product to make its debut.
Bear bond proved to be a big hit, starting with NASCAR trucks and quickly spreading to other race applications. In fact, bear bond played an instrumental role in the Corvettes' loss to a Saleen at Sebring in 2001. When the Saleen needed body repairs during the race, the team used a sample piece of bear bond that Jeffrey had thoughtfully offered them. With bear bond holding the Saleen snugly together, the car was back in the race quickly enough to hold on and beat the Corvettes.
In his off hours, Jeffrey stays busy brewing up his sticky concoction in the barn of his 63-acre rural-Michigan home. Perhaps the only time he truly slows down is when he's locked in the No. 4 car's driver's seat to provide ballast during corner-weight exercises on the scales. So even when he's not on the move, this multitalented member of the Corvette racing family manages to stay productive.