The 2010 ALMS season proved a mixed bag for Corvette Racing, with the team working out various teething problems to finish Fourth overall in the GT category. Across the Atlantic in Europe, another Corvette battle has been raging, albeit with very different results. The FIA's GT3 European Championship provides a venue for up-and-coming drivers in race cars that are close to production specifications. Manufacturers such as Ferrari, BMW, Porsche, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Ford, and Audi all provide behind-the-scenes support to teams that run their vehicles. Notice that Corvette is not among this prestigious lineup. Instead, Callaway Competition in Leingarten, Germany, is approved by the FIA to build Corvettes for the series. As a private tuner, the company does not receive any official support from GM.
Twelve races are held each year at various European racetracks (two per weekend). The 2010 season started in Silverstone, England, and ended at Zolder, Belgium. In a previous story ("Back on Top," Feb. '11), we covered the first six of these races. In that report Callaway Competition left the sixth race in Brno with the lead in the FIA's Drivers and Team Championship battles. This month, we'll recap the team's results over the second half of the season.
Paul Ricard, France—Rounds 7 and 8
The 5.8km (3.6mi) Paul Ricard circuit is located 30 km (19 mi) east of Toulon in southern France. Paul Ricard is an FIA test track for Formula 1 competitors and is known for extremely fast lap times.
Round 7: Daniel Keliwitz captured the pole in his No. 101 Callaway Corvette, beating the second place No. 16 Graff Racing Vette by 1.2 seconds. Keliwitz made an excellent start and held the lead until turning the car over to Christian Hohenadel on lap 11. Hohenadel took the checkered flag 6.652 seconds ahead of the Second Place No. 16 Graff car to gain 25 Drivers Championship points.
Round 8: Hohenadel qualified the No. 101 Corvette fourth for Round 8. When the dust settled at the start, the No. 16 Graff Racing Corvette was third, and the No. 101 car had dropped to seventh. After the mandatory pit stops, the No. 16 Corvette was first, the No. 61 ProSpeed Porsche 911 second, the No. 76 BMW Z4 third, and the No. 101—with Keliwitz driving—was fourth. Keliwitz proceeded to methodically pick off the cars in front of him, grab the lead four laps from the finish, and take the victory to gain another 25 Drivers points.
Algarve, Portugal—Rounds 9 and 10
The 4.7km (2.94mi) Algarve circuit is filled with tight, twisty turns and numerous elevation changes. With their two Paul Ricard victories, the Corvettes were slapped with "Balance of Performance" adjustments, as per FIA rules. They started the season with a base weight of 1,270 kg (2,794 pounds), along with 60 kg (132 pounds) of ballast, bringing total weight to 1,330 kg (2,926 pounds). The engine, meanwhile, was fitted with a 52mm inlet restrictor. Prior to Algarve, all Corvettes were given an extra 20 kg (44 pounds) of ballast and fitted with a 49mm engine restrictor. The No. 101 Corvette received an additional 40 kg (88 pounds) of "success weight" because of its Paul Ricard victories, pushing the car to a portly 1,390 kg (3,058 pounds).