LE MANS, France, June 11, 2012 - Corvette Racing comes into the 80th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans as the defending champion in the GTE Pro category. Last year the No. 73 Compuware Corvette C6.R driven by Tommy Milner, Antonio Garcia, and Olivier Beretta scored a come-from-behind victory to capture Corvette Racing's seventh class title in the world's biggest sports car race.
Ranked by National Geographic as the world's top sporting event ( http://on.natgeo.com/Mn2hyg), the 24 Hours of Le Mans is a contest of skill, speed, and stamina that overshadows the Olympic Games, World Cup Soccer, and the Super Bowl according to this prestigious publication. Now Corvette Racing, the most successful team in the history of the American Le Mans Series, is ready to take on the challenge of the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the 13th consecutive year. With updated Corvette C6.R race cars and a revised driver roster, Corvette Racing is primed for the long-running battle at the Circuit de la Sarthe. The competition will again be formidable in the GTE Pro category with factory-supported teams representing Ferrari, Porsche, and Aston Martin.
The twin Corvette C6.Rs have been updated in accordance with the ACO rulebook since the team's last appearance at Le Mans. They are two inches wider than the preceding version, with corresponding changes in bodywork and suspension to complement the increased track width. The rear wing is mounted 75mm higher than last year and the Michelin tires have been optimized for the Corvette chassis. The 5.5-liter Chevrolet small-block V-8s are equipped with intake air restrictors that are .4mm larger than in 2011.
"The engineering team ran extensive computer simulations to evaluate the effects of a wider body," said Corvette Racing team manager Gary Pratt. "There is a fine balance between the aerodynamic drag produced by a larger frontal area and the handling improvements that come with a wider track. We expected that the wider body would be better at many of the circuits in the U.S., and the simulations indicated that it would be an improvement at Le Mans as well.
"Although Le Mans is a big, high-speed track, a significant percentage of the lap is spent cornering and braking," Pratt explained. "With the chicanes on the Mulsanne Straight and fast corners like the Porsche Curves, the