As the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) jumps from its longest race of the year, Sebring, to the shortest, Corvette Racing hopes to change its own fortunes following the pitlane accident that knocked them out of contention for the win last month.
“We have dissected and analyzed the entire pit stop process, and where there were shortcomings we’ve addressed them,” said Corvette Racing Program Manager Doug Fehan of the Sebring accident, which saw drivers Emmanuel Collard and Jan Magnussen collide. “The team has put in place procedures that should prevent that from ever happening again.”
From the temporary airfield track at Sebring the series crosses American to another legendary temporary venue at Long Beach, California for a 100-minute race round the 11-turn 1.99 layout.
The short race, for what is essentially an endurance category presents its own problem, with team's limited to only two hours practice on top of qualifying. However, Corvette expecting to complete the race with only one mid-race pitstop including the mandatory driver change.
That, of course, sees the Corvette team trimmed back to their usual two drivers – Johnny O'Connell and Jan Magnussen in the no.3 car with Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta in the sister no.4 car.
“I think everybody on the team is going to be very motivated after what turned out to be a very disappointing Sebring race for us,” O’Connell explains. “The limited track time means that every aspect of preparation has to be done quickly and professionally. With Corvette Racing’s engineering capabilities, I’m confident we can get our car in its operating window quickly.”
“On a street course like Long Beach, a driver has to be smart but also a little aggressive to get a good result,” he continued. “The short stints are going to put the emphasis on sharp pit stop strategy and quick driver changes. You can’t afford to lose time behind a slower car, but you also have to remember that any mistake on a street circuit is usually highly detrimental to success.”
The race starts at 4:40pm local time Saturday (00:40am Sunday UK time).