Chevrolet kick off 50 years since the Corvette ran its first race in Le Mans with a send off to the current Corvette team and a special appearance by a one off Z06, at the six hour ALMS race at Laguna Seca Raceway this weekend.
Marking the 50th anniversary celebration of Corvette's first appearance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, fans at Laguna Seca Raceway will be given not only a chance to send-off the current Corvette team to Le Mans but a preview of a one off Z06 built to commemorate Corvette's milestone event.
The Corvette has come along way since its humble beginnings racing through the streets of Pebble Beach. It was only in 1957 before Laguna Seca Raceway was built by enthusiasts to enjoy the cars.
The event at Laguna Seca, which made Corvette racers Dick Thompson and Bob Bondurant household names, will feature a special Corvette Legends of Le Man display with appearances by drivers Dick Thompson and Dick Guldstrand.
Crovette Racing Program Manager Doug Fehan concedes the legacy of the Corvette would not have been successful if it was not for the strong foundations built for Corvette by legends like Dick Thompson and Zora Arkus-Duntov.
"They set the bar high, and they accomplished so much with so little. Today we have the full resources of Chevrolet and GM behind Corvette Racing, but these pioneers are the ones who truly began Corvette's performance heritage. Corvette Racing is continuing to build on that foundation for those who will come after us," says Fehan.
While the team is focused on preparing for Le Mans, drivers and crew acknowledge the importance of the six-hour race in the ALMS championship battle, not just from a historical but also a data perspective.
"We're going to Laguna Seca with two clearly defined targets. To race hard in pursuit of our first ALMS victory in 2010, and to hone the entire team for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. There is not a tremendous amount of technical information that will carry over from Laguna Seca to Le Mans…however it will be valuable to gather more data under actual race conditions for six hours. The GT version of the Corvette C6.R is still a relatively new package, so we are still on the learning curve,” says Fehan.
American four time Corvette Racing Le Mans winner, Johnny O'Connell believes the chances of Corvette Racing winning at Laguna Seca this weekend comes down to the strength of Corvette’s engineering staff and crew.
"The No. 3 Compuware Corvette has been in position to win at Laguna Seca over the last few years, but we've always had some bad breaks. Jan and I feel that track still owes us a win. We're looking at this event as an important part of our ALMS season. We want to run strong and get points," says O'Connell.
Corvette Racing's next event is the American Le Mans Series Monterey at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Saturday, May 22 with the race being streamed live online at americanlemans.com.