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Corvette Racing at Mid-Ohio: Midterm Report and a Rivalry Renewed

A Look Back and a Look Ahead at the Midpoint of 2012 ALMS Season

LEXINGTON, Ohio, July 31, 2012 – With five races completed and five to go, Corvette Racing will be halfway home at its home track. Saturday's Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course signals the start of the second half of the 2012 American Le Mans Series. At the season's midpoint, Corvette Racing and Chevrolet stand atop the driver, team, and manufacturer championship standings. The fierce competition that has been the hallmark of the GT category is about to become more intense with the return of one of Corvette's longstanding rivals to ALMS competition.

In the first five races, Corvette Racing scored back-to-back wins with Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner in the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R in Long Beach and Laguna Seca. Third-place finishes in Sebring and Lime Rock put the pair in the championship lead after the first four rounds. Then a setback in Mosport, combined with the No. 3 Compuware Corvette's fourth runner-up finish in five starts, saw Corvette aces Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen take the lead in the championship chase by seven points over their teammates.

"When you look at Corvette Racing's record for the first half of the season, the results demonstrate the experience and knowledge the team has gained since the debut of the GT-spec Corvette C6.R at Mid-Ohio in 2009," said Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. "With the level of competition we face at every ALMS event, to have two victories, eight podium finishes, a one-two finish, and a pole is a very successful first half by any measure.

"Everyone on the team fully understands that it's not going to get any easier for the rest of the year," Fehan continued. "We're working continuously to improve every aspect of our performance. There is still a great deal of development to be done with the wide-body Corvette C6.R that we introduced this year. I expect that Corvette fans are going to see a great show for the rest of the season."

When Corvette Racing first entered international endurance racing in 1999, its chief competitor was Viper. That rivalry will be renewed at Mid-Ohio with Chrysler's return to ALMS competition.

"History has come full circle, and now it's once again Corvette versus Viper in ALMS – this time with world-class competitors such as Ferrari, Porsche, BMW, and Lotus in the mix," Fehan noted. "Chrysler's return makes a huge statement about the strength of the American Le Mans Series."

Corvette Racing has recorded three straight runner-up finishes in the GT class at Mid-Ohio – Magnussen and Johnny O'Connell in 2009, Gavin and Olivier Beretta in 2010, and Gavin/Magnussen in 2011. Last year's race ended with a red flag when a monsoon inundated the track; among the drivers who spun off in the deluge was Milner, who was running second when the torrential rain arrived.

"I've raced at Mid-Ohio since 2004, in open-wheel cars and GTs, so there's not much I don't know about the track," Milner said. "It's a place where you can make passes happen, and it usually produces an exciting race. The Corvettes were certainly competitive there last year, and with the improvements that have been made, I expect them to be even better this year."

"Mid-Ohio has been a good track for us in terms of pace and speed the last couple of years," Gavin explained. "Last year if the rain had turned up 45 minutes later, we likely would have won. Mid-Ohio is Corvette Racing's home race with lots of friends and family. The circuit seems to suit our car, and with the steps forward taken for this season, we hope to be as competitive as we've been the last couple of years. Every team is making steps every race, so nobody at Corvette Racing is taking anything for granted."

Garcia has raced previously at Mid-Ohio in the Grand-Am series, so Corvette Racing's new full-season driver will be up to speed quickly on the 2.25-mile, 13-turn road course.

"Mid-Ohio is one of the tracks I know, so I will just need to reconfigure my mind a little from a Daytona Prototype to a Corvette C6.R," Garcia laughed. "This will take a few laps at most – first some driver tuning, and then some car tuning!

"Mid-Ohio is like two different circuits," the Spaniard said. "The first part has long straights and fast corners, then the second half is very tight with a narrow racing line. It is definitely a track where you have to deal with traffic. From what I've learned so far this season, Mid-Ohio will suit the Corvette C6.R."

The two-hour, 45-minute Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge, the sixth round of the 2012 American Le Mans Series, will start at 1:05 p.m. ET on Saturday, August 4, and will be broadcast on ABC at 2 p.m. ET.

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Corvettes Qualify Fifth and Sixth for ALMS Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge

Garcia and Milner Qualify within Half-Second of Pole in Hotly Contested GT Class

LEXINGTON, Ohio, Aug. 3, 2012 – The heat was on at Mid-Ohio today during GT qualifying for Saturday's Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge, the sixth round of the American Le Mans Series. As the ambient temperature topped 94 degrees and the track temperature climbed to 110 degrees, Antonio Garcia qualified the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R fifth in the hotly contested class at 1:19.536 (102.213 mph). Tommy Milner was right behind his teammate, qualifying the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R sixth at 1:19.727 (101.958 mph).

Garcia was .238 seconds off GT pacesetter Joerg Mueller's 1:19.298 (102.510 mph) lap in the No. 55 BMW, and Milner was .429 seconds back. The eight fastest qualifiers ran quicker than last year's pole-winning time on the 2.25-mile, 13-turn Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

"I had a really good balance in qualifying, and if I'd put together a perfect lap my time would have improved," Garcia said. "There are four guys ahead of me who put it together better than I did.

"There was a lot of pressure in qualifying, and everyone was pushing very hard," he explained. "Because of all the different series running on the track, we seemed to struggle a little to make our tires work . That is something we will need to take into account tomorrow because the track will certainly change, and I hope it will develop in our favor. We know how our qualifying performance is; now we need to know how our race performance is."

Garcia turned his quickest time on his fifth flying lap, and Milner posted his best lap on his sixth circuit.

"I'm not disappointed with sixth, but I'm not super stoked," Milner said. "We made some big changes in the car in the last practice session, working on the race setup. Then at the end we tried to help the car for qualifying.

"Every session we're out there we learn a lot about this race track," he noted. "It's definitely a challenge when we have different series running and different rubber going down. This track especially can change from morning to afternoon and from day to day. When we go out for warm-up tomorrow morning, there will be a lot of IndyCar rubber on the track and we'll see how the car feels."

The two-hour, 45-minute Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge will start at will start at 1:05 p.m. ET on Saturday, August 4, and will be broadcast on ABC at 2 p.m. ET.

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge GT Qualifying (Top 10)

Pos./Car No./Drivers/Car/Time

1. 55 Mueller/Auberlen, BMW E92 M3, 1:19.298

2. 02 Brown/Cosmo, Ferrari F458 Italia, 1:19.329

3. 45 Bergmeister/Long, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 1:19.445

4. 01 Sharp/van Overbeek, Ferrari 458 Italia, 1:19.471

5. 3 Magnussen/Garcia, Corvette C6.R, 1:19.536

6. 4 Gavin/Milner, Corvette C6.R, 1:19.727

7. 56 Mueller/Hand, BMW E92 M3, 1:19.754

8. 48 Miller/Maassen, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 1:20.209

9. 17 Henzler/Sellers, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 1:21.222

10. Goossens/Kendall, SRT Viper GTSR, 1:22.158
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