One year on from their debut in the GT2 class of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Corvette Racing qualified third and fourth in the GT class at Mid-Ohio.
The no.3 car will fittingly start from third in class, Oliver Gavin lapping the 2.25 mile Sportscar Course in 1:20.019, while the sister C.6R, carrying no.4 will start one place behind, Jan Magnussen setting his fastest lap (1:20.189) on his seventh flying the lap.
The Dane's role in the 20-minute qualifying session was almost ended by contact with one of the GT Challenge class Porsches also running on track, the Corvette man forced onto the grass at the apex of a corner, the Porsche driver allowing Gavin through only seconds before. Though there was little visible damage to the Corvette, Magnussen revealed the extent of the damage from the incident.
“We might have been closer to the front than where we ended up, but the traffic was really messing it up for everybody,” he said. “I had contact in Turn 8 and the Michelin tire was pushed away from its rim, but it held pressure. That’s how I did my fastest time, so it wasn’t 100 percent optimum.”
Gavin, who shared the no.3 car with Olivier Beretta, had a quieter session, setting his best lap early on, initially holding provisional pole until the closing minutes.
“It really feels great to be back in the game, and to be in position to battle with the competition,” he described. “I think the testing we’ve done here earlier this week has paid off, and we’ve made some good progress. All of the engineers and mechanics have been working hard, and we’ve got a car that we can race with.”
“I think this circuit does suit our Corvettes, but I would say that everyone has improved compared to last year,” he said. “This is the most competitive GT class ever, and everyone is rising to the challenge. The development is continuous, whether it’s coming from Corvette or our rivals, and every team is trying their hardest to get that little edge.”
Gavin's time was eclipsed by the two Risi Competizione Ferraris, Toni Vilander taking Pole with a lap time of 1:19.682 in the red no.61 F430.
“Corvette Racing has stepped up a notch here, but so has Risi,” Gavin noted. “I thought that my time might be good enough for the pole, but the Ferraris kind of suckered us and then landed a big right hook!”