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2000 Mazda Raceway Finish a Preview of 2006?

Rob

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<img src="/images/design/front/c6r2.jpg" width="175" height="133" border="1" hspace="5" vspace="5" align="left" alt="Aston Martin chasing the Corvette C6R" />Braselton, Ga. – They are teammates now but were rivals in the past. Corvette Racing's Ron Fellows and Olivier Beretta have been part of the GT1 championship picture in the American Le Mans Series since its formation in 1999. Especially thrilling were the battles between the Corvette C5-Rs and the red ORECA Vipers in the early years of the Series.

It never got closer than at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2000. Beretta and Karl Wendlinger finished just 0.001 seconds ahead of Fellows and Andy Pilgrim for the closest finish ever in American Le Mans Series history.

"The Vipers were in the same situation that we are in now," Fellows said. "They were the dominant team, and we were new and trying to make our mark. We outqualified them a few times but were rarely able to beat them."

This year's Corvette-Aston Martin duel at Lime Rock Park came close to matching the record margin of victory. Stephane Sarrazin beat Johnny O'Connell across the finish line by 0.033 seconds for Aston Martin Racing's first GT1 win of 2006. Prodrive (with its Ferraris) and Corvette Racing have split the last four meetings at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

The points battle heading into next weekend's final round of 2006 is as close as ever. Beretta and Oliver Gavin lead Aston Martin's Tomas Enge by 11 points in the drivers championship. Corvette Racing leads Aston Martin Racing by 7 points in the team standings, with the manufacturer's race having the same margin in favor of Corvette.

The final round of the 2006 American Le Mans Series is the Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca at 2:45 p.m. PDT on Saturday, October 21. SPEED will broadcast the race from 8 p.m. to midnight EDT on the same day. American Le Mans Radio will have live coverage, and IMSA Live Timing & Scoring will be available at americanlemans.com.
 
D

Dirtfarmer

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Found out last night that we get to go to Laguna Seca next weekend to see the finish of the ALMS season. :D Getting the tickets today, if there are any left.

Looking forward to what should be a very exciting race.

:_rock
 
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Rob

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Chevrolet Team Aims for Sixth Straight GT1 Manufacturers' Title at Laguna Seca

After nine hard-fought races that spanned the length and breadth of North America, it all comes down to this: four intense hours at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca that will decide the American Le Mans Series GT1 manufacturers, team and drivers championships.

The Monterey Sports Car Championships will pit America's premier sports car team against the best of Great Britain. Going into the decisive 10th round of the ALMS road racing series, Corvette Racing leads Aston Martin Racing in the points standings in every category. But with 23 championship points on the line and the imperative to complete at least 70 percent of the race distance to earn points, the titles hang in the balance.

"Winning a sixth straight GT1 manufacturers championship for Chevrolet is our primary focus," said Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. "That means finishing first or second.

"Last year's race at Laguna Seca was a four-hour battle, and I fully expect a repeat of what we've seen there in the past," Fehan continued. "We'll go into this race the same way we've attacked every other race this year – doing our homework, running our track simulations, and engineering the best possible setup before we unload the Corvette C6.R race cars."

The sanctioning body has announced the seventh "performance balancing" adjustment of the season for Laguna Seca, and consequently the Corvette C6.Rs and the Aston Martin DBR9s will both race in compliance with the ACO weight regulations at 1150 kg (2535 pounds). However, the Corvettes are still handicapped with a 1.1-mm smaller engine restrictor than specified by the ACO regulations, a penalty of approximately 35 horsepower.

Corvette Racing's reigning GT1 co-champions Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta have an 11-point advantage over Aston Martin's Tomas Enge in the drivers' standings. That's an insurmountable margin – providing the pair completes the required 70 percent of the overall winner's total laps.

"The idea is to go there and win the race," said Gavin. "We don't want to just drive around for fourth place; we want to be going for the best result we possibly can. When you drive a race car at anything less than on the limit, you tend to make mistakes. I'm very wary of that. It's important to stay focused on winning the manufacturers championship for Chevrolet, and in doing that Olivier and I can then clinch the drivers championship.

"Winning the GT1 championship for the second year in a row would mean a lot because we're up against stiff competition from Aston Martin and from our own teammates," Gavin noted. "The championship would be even more satisfying than last year because it's been harder fought. Every one of the cars has been in a potential winning position in every round. Winning four ALMS races set up our championship run – and when Olivier and I couldn't win, we've learned to look at the big picture instead of getting caught up in any single event."

Although Fellows and O'Connell are no longer in contention for this year's GT1 crown, their No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R will certainly figure in the championship fight.

"The championship race is so tight that we are definitely going to have to bring our A game," said O'Connell. "Ron and I have had some bad luck this year that hurt us in the drivers championship, but now we're only thinking about the manufacturers' title. There's no reason for us to finish second; we want to win."

That task will be more difficult because of new pavement and reconfigured turns at the central California road course – variables that could play to Corvette Racing's strengths.

"Like the races at new ALMS venues in Houston and Salt Lake City, this will be a race where engineering resources are key," said GM Racing road racing group manager Steve Wesoloski. "While we have years of experience at Laguna Seca, it's a completely new surface this year and we're not sure what the level of grip is going to be. That puts a premium on prerace preparation, and we expect to be in good shape for the season-ending event."

Just the Facts

The crew of the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R will defend their Klein Tools
Pit Crew Challenge championship in the final round of the season-long competition at Laguna Seca at 11:30 a.m. PDT on Friday, Oct. 20. The Dan Binks-led Corvette team will face crews from Petersen/White Lightning Racing, BMW Team PTG and Aston Martin Racing in the championship round of the $100,000 competition.

A third-place finish by Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta in Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on Sept. 30 gave the pair an 11-point lead (157-146) over Aston Martin driver Tomas Enge in the drivers championship with one race remaining.
Chevrolet and Corvette Racing lead Aston Martin Racing by 7 points (170-163) in the 2006 GT1 manufacturers and team championships. Chevrolet has won the GT1 title five consecutive years.

Corvette Racing has two consecutive GT1 class wins at Laguna Seca with two different lineups: Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell won in 2004, and Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta won in 2005.

Beretta also won at Laguna Seca in 1999 and 2000 driving a Dodge Viper GTS-R with Karl Wendlinger.

Gavin holds the record for the fastest GT1 race lap at Laguna Seca at 1:21.108 (99.334 mph), a mark he set in October 2005.

The Monterey Sports Car Championships, the season finale of the 10-race American Le Mans Series, is scheduled to start at 2:45 p.m. PDT (5:45 p.m. EDT) on Saturday, Oct. 21. The four-hour race will be televised on SPEED Channel from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. EDT. American Le Mans Radio will have live coverage at www.americanlemans.com, which also will feature IMSA live timing and scoring.

Source: http://www.paddocktalk.com/news/html/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=43247
 
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Rob

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Posted on Sat, Oct. 14, 2006
Laguna Seca ending 50th season

David Coffin Pit Stop

Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca concludes its 50th season of racing next weekend (Oct. 20-22) with the Monterey Sports Car Championships featuring the season finale of the American Le Mans Series.

At ALMS events, four classes of cars are on track at the same time, all competing for overall honors as well as placement within the individual classes. Of the eight titles (four teams and four drivers) in the series, five will be up for grabs at the Laguna Seca event, round 10 of perhaps the most competitive ALMS season in its history.

The four-hour primetime season finale (from 2:45 to 6:45 p.m. Oct. 21) in this year's race to the championship will determine the champion driver(s) in LMP2, GT1 and GT2 and the team champion in GT1 and GT2.

Within LMP2, Penske Racing's Sascha Maassen holds a four-point lead over teammate Lucas Luhr (both drivers compete in separate Porsche RS Spyders) and a 15-point advantage over the Intersport Racing tandem of Clint Field and Liz Halliday.

Corvette Racing teammates Olivier Beretta and Oliver Gavin share the top spot in GT1 and enjoy an 11-point lead over Aston Martin Racing's Tomas Enge. In the GT1 team championship battle, Corvette Racing has a seven-point margin over Aston Martin Racing.

San Francisco resident Johannes van Overbeek has a four-point advantage over Jorg Bergmeister in the GT2 driver championship standings. Van Overbeek competes for Sonoma-based Flying Lizard Motorsports, which trails Risi Competizione by six points in the GT2 team championship race. Behind those two teams rests Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing, which sits 10 points out of first.

Earlier this season, Bergmeister won the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series championship and he and Peterson Motorsports/White Lightning Racing teammate Patrick Long at times did long-distance competition in their quest to bring the team a second-straight GT2 title.

Audi teammates Allan McNish and Dindo Capello have already secured the LMP1 driver co-championship. Among the team competition, Audi Sport North America is the LMP1 champion and Penske Racing is the LMP2 champ.

Marlboro Team Penske earlier won the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series championship with Sam Hornish Jr. grabbing his third series title on a tie-breaker with Ganassi Racing's Dan Weldon, the 2005 champ. Hornish and Weldon both had 475 points but Hornish got the nod with more wins. They were only two points ahead of Penske's Helio Castroneves.

Ticket information for the Monterey Sports Car Championships is available by calling 1-800-327-SECA (7322) or logging on to laguna-seca.com.

Source: http://www.montereyherald.com/mld/montereyherald/sports/15758900.htm
 
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Rob

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Laguna Seca: Corvette Racing qualifying report

Laguna Seca: Corvette Racing qualifying report

<TABLE class=smalltext cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD>Date </TD><TD>2006-10-20</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>[FONT=verdana,arial,helvetica]
<!-- -->Corvette Racing Qualifies Second and Third in GT1 for ALMS Season Finale

O'Connell Leads Chevrolet's Charge for Sixth Manufacturers Championship

MONTEREY, Calif., Oct. 20, 2006 - Corvette Racing's yellow Compuware Corvette C6.Rs were sandwiched between a pair of green Aston Martins as qualifying for Saturday's American Le Mans Series season finale was completed today at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Johnny O'Connell will lead the charge for Chevrolet's sixth consecutive GT1 manufacturers championship after qualifying his No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R second in the GT1 class at 1:21.229 (99.18 mph). Olivier Beretta was third quickest at 1:21.351 (99.03 mph) in the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R. Stephan Sarrazin set the quickest time in the division at 1:21.012 (99.45 mph) in the No. 009 Aston Martin DBR9, while Tomas Enge was fourth at 1:21.515 (98.83 mph) in the No. 007 Aston Martin DBR9.

"In qualifying we had just a little too much understeer and I couldn't carry the speed I needed across the middle of the turns," O'Connell said. "Overall I'm very pleased; everyone at Corvette Racing has done a good job, we've improved the car a lot since we arrived, and the Michelin tires are working well on the new track surface.

"It's going to be a really good fight," O'Connell predicted. "It's going to come down to the team that doesn't make any errors and runs a clean race."
The twin Corvettes turned six flying laps during the scheduled 20-minute qualifying session. O'Connell recorded his quickest time on his third time around the 2.238-mile road course, while Beretta logged his fastest time on his fifth lap. In contrast, Sarrazin took the pole on his second lap and then returned to the pits. Enge went on the track with less than four minutes remaining after being delayed with a reported electrical problem; he turned only one hot lap to finalize the GT1 grid.

"We've got very consistent cars for the race, and I believe we can run competitive lap times," observed Steve Wesoloski, GM Racing road racing group manager. "The question is: How hard are the Aston Martins pushing? When they only do two laps in qualifying and they're faster than us, it's apparent that the performances may not quite be balanced yet.

"The Corvette drivers are pleased with their cars," Wesoloski reported. "We did a lot of tuning with tires and shocks to get adjusted to the new grip level of the track. Overall Corvette Racing is in good shape for the race."

A Corvette must finish first or second to secure Chevy's sixth GT1 manufacturers' title in Saturday's four-hour timed race. Teammates Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta can lock up their second straight drivers championship by completing 70 percent of the laps.

"The main target is to put one of the two yellow Corvettes in at least second place," said Beretta. "We need and we deserve the manufacturers championship because of all the handicaps we have had to overcome this year."

The race will start at 2:45 p.m. PDT in daylight and conclude at 6:45 p.m. in darkness. The changing track conditions promise to be a challenge for the ALMS teams and drivers.

"It's going to be difficult," O'Connell conceded. "At this time of year the visibility can be a problem when the sun is low on the horizon. As the sun falls, it gets more and more difficult to pick up the edge of the track because a lot of dirt gets carried onto the track. It's also going to be challenging for teams to adjust to the difference in track temperature and its effect on the tires."

"Fortunately the organizers had the foresight to have a practice session yesterday at the same time that the race will end," Wesoloski added. "We got a good read on how quickly the track temperature comes down, and that should help us to select the right tires to use at that critical time of the race."

-credit: gm racing
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