FIA GT3 Corvettes - Back On Top

Corvettes Rule First Half Of FIA GT3 Season

Walt Thurn Jan 6, 2011 0 Comment(s)
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After a successful outing in 2009, Callaway Competition, located in Leingarten, Germany, spent the winter further improving its Z06.R GT3 Corvette. The company made three important changes to enhance that car's handling, including revising the rear-suspension attachment points, adding larger front tires, and installing a new antilock braking system. The revisions improved the rear-suspension geometry and almost eliminated the Corvette's tendency to understeer. All of the changes were approved by the FIA for the 2010 season.

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A total of five Corvettes are competing in the 12-race GT3 series in 2010. Two (Nos. 100 and 101) are from Callaway, one (No. 18) is from Toni Seiler Racing in Switzerland, and two (Nos. 16 and 17) are from Graff Racing in France. Seven manufacturers are represented in the series, including Corvette, Porsche, Ford, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Audi, and BMW.

Silverstone, England
The first race of the season was held in April at the Silverstone circuit. The 5.9km (3.69-mile) track is located 18 miles northeast of Oxford. Silverstone is fast and usually favors the Corvettes' speed.

Round 1
Corvettes qualified second, fifth, seventh, and thirteenth for Round 1. The No. 101 Callaway entry lost a water hose on the 10th lap of the 28-lap race and was withdrawn. The No. 16 Graff Racing Corvette took the lead but ran out of fuel on the last lap, giving the win to a Porsche, followed by the No. 18 Seiler Racing Vette.

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Round 2
In race two the No. 18 Toni Seiler Corvette captured the pole position, and the No. 101 Callaway Competition Corvette was third fastest. The start followed a brief rainstorm, and the drying track caused Dino Lunardi, the No. 18 car's driver, to spin and make contact with the second-place-qualifying Porsche. This pushed Lunardi well down in the order and forced the Porsche into the pit to replace a punctured tire. Christian Hohenadel in the No. 101 Corvette took the lead, but co-driver Daniel Keliwitz received a stop-and-go penalty when he crossed the white line after the mandatory pit stop. Keliwitz drove a brilliant race after his penalty and stormed through the field to take a convincing win over the Second Place Hexis Aston Martin.

Brno, Czech Republic
The next race was held in late May in Brno, Czech Republic. The circuit is 5.45 km (3.55 miles) long and has 14 very technical turns. The track sits in a hilly, forested area 10 km (6 miles) northwest of the city of Brno.

Round 3
Saturday brought precipitation, prompting the FIA to call a rain race and allowing teams to mount wet-weather tires with no penalty. Keliwitz jumped into second place in the No. 101 Corvette and quickly caught the leading No. 24 Lamborghini driven by Phillip Geipel. Geipel tried to keep the Corvette from passing, but Keliwitz found the room and took the lead. The No. 16 Graff Racing Corvette, driven by Joakim Lambotte, also caught the Lambor-ghini and passed it on lap seven. Lambotte was the first to pit and change drivers. Mike Parisy, the reigning French GT3 driving champion took over and put the No. 16 car into the lead. Christian Hohenadel returned to the race in second place driving the No. 101 Corvette. Albert von Thurn und Taxis was third in his Lamborghini but was given a stop-and-go for a pit-stop infraction. This moved the Seiler Racing No. 18 Corvette into third position. Corvettes finished First, Second, Third, and Fifth, a first for the marque in the GT3 series.

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Round 4
Sunday's race started under scattered clouds with a slight threat of rain. Hohenadel started second in the No. 101 Corvette beside the No. 87 Ferrari 430 of Diego Alessi. Mike Parisy's No. 16 Corvette jumped into second place at the start. Hohenadel was almost taken out when a Ford GT hit him in the passenger door. The Ford then crashed into a Porsche, putting both out of the race. When racing resumed the Ferrari led the Parisy Corvette by inches. Parisy kept the Vette's nose tightly tucked under the rear of the Ferrari lap after lap. It was an exciting display of driving skill by both drivers. Meanwhile, Hohenadel retreated to the rear with an apparent engine problem. When the pit window opened on lap 10, he pitted immediately for a driver change and repairs. The crew replaced two burnt plug wires, and Keliwitz returned to the race in 17th position driving like a man possessed.

On lap 24 the Corvette passed the BMW M6 to move into third. At the checkered flag it was Corvette (No. 16), Lamborghini (No. 24), and Corvette (No. 101). Vette fans had a lot to celebrate with First and Third Place finishes for the amazing Z06.Rs. Callaway Competition took the lead in the driver and team championships.




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