The two GT2 Chevrolet Corvettes will start the 12 Hours of Sebring fro fourth and fifth position in the GT2 field, after the pole sitting BMW was moved to the back of grid after failing scrutineering.
The race will be Corvette Racing's first Sebring in the GT2 class, after moving down from GT1 last season, marking the end, for now, of the class in the American Le Mans Series, but Doug Fehan's team still believe they can do more than their qualifying performance suggests.
The 25-minute qualifying session on Friday afternoon saw the pair of Corvettes eschew ALS conventional and spend the first ten minutes waiting in the pit lane.
“We waited for the traffic to clear, and it worked well for us,” said Jan Magnussen who qualified the no.3 car he shares with Johnny O'Connell and Antonio Garcia. “I had no traffic at all and a good spot on the track. The qualifying lap was the fastest lap we’ve done this week, but we still have some work to do to have a good race car.”
Teammate Oliver Gavin was not so lucky, finding himself caught up in slower cars for two of his flying laps. “I was following two cars that kicked up a lot of sand on the track,” he describes. “Every time I came through Turn 7 I lost a ton of time, and that was frustrating. We’re in the race at P6, and we have a lot of time in 12 hours to make up those places.”
But the signs are promising for Corvette, and daunting for their rivals in the class, widely accepted to be the most competitive in the ALMS.
“[The] morning was the best I’ve felt in the car,” Magnussen clained, looking back on Friday morning's practice session. “The track definitely changes with the temperature and we have to be careful not to chase the conditions. We haven’t made big changes during the week because we had an idea this is what it would be like today. I hope we’re right about tomorrow as well!”
“The track conditions are a little more stable now, but they are still tough to read,” adds Gavin, perhaps more doubtful than the Dane. “We’re hoping that the track is going to come to us on Saturday – we’ll see.”
“I think today’s GT2 qualifying was a preview of what we will be seeing all season long,” said program manager Doug Fehan. “Any one of the top 10 cars is capable of winning, and that’s what is going to make the 12 Hours of Sebring an exciting event.”
Photo credit: Richard Prince/GM Racing Photo