Corvette Beats Ford GT, Leads Both Classes in LeMans Practice
Over the past few weeks, it seems like the majority of the news pertaining to the upcoming 24 Hours of LeMans race centered around the return of the Ford GT, but when the cars hit the track this past weekend for the pre-race practice day, it was the Chevrolet Corvette that led the way. The Corvette Racing team turned in the 1st and 4th quickest lap in the GTE Pro class while the C7R of Larbre Competition turned in the best lap in the GTE Am class.
Larbre Leads GTE Am
The team at Larbre Competition has a new Chevrolet Corvette C7R for the 2016 24 Hours of LeMans race and at the mandatory practice session, the French Corvette team proved that they are ready to challenge the best from Ferrari, Aston Martin and Porsche. In fact, they proved that right now, they are better than the best from the three European supercar builders. Fill-in driver Nick Catsburg handling was able to get around the 8.4 mile track in just 3:57.999 – beating the 2nd place Ferrari by nearly a second. Ferrari 458 Italia race cars occupied the 2-5 spots in the class and the one other Corvette in the GTE Am class – the #57 Corvette of Team AAI – struggled all day, settling for the second-to-last spot in the class (and overall).
While this is only a practice session, the Larbre Corvette team is shown that they have a car that can win lead the class.
Corvette Racing Beats Ford GT
The bigger news from the LeMans Practice Day pertains to the battle in the quicker GTE Pro class, where the Corvette C7R team that won last year’s LeMans race will take on the four new Ford GT teams from Chip Ganassi Racing. The Corvette team is the favorite coming into the race, with a win in 2015 for the #64 car driven by Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Jordan Taylor, but the Ford GT teams are looking to relive their LeMans glory from the 1960s with their quartet of race cars.
Based on the mandatory practice session, Corvette Racing is still the team to beat while the Ford teams clearly have some work to do before next week’s race.
The #64 Corvette C7R that won the 2015 event was the 4th fastest in the LeMans practice session with Oliver Gavin turning in a best time of 3:55.837 and while his 54th lap was his quickest, Gavin ran 81 laps during the practice session – the most of any car in GTE Pro.
Leading the way for Corvette Racing and for the entire GTE Pro class was the #63 Corvette driven by Antonio Garcia. Gavin, who will be joined in the race next week by Jan Magnussen and Ricky Taylor, got around the 8.4 mile track in just 3:55.122, beating the 2nd place Porsche Motorsport 911 RSR by almost 3 tenths of a second. There was also a Porsche Motorsport entry in the 3rd spot, making for a 911 sandwich between the 1st and 4th quickest Corvettes.
While things went pretty well for Corvette Racing, the LeMans Practice Day wasn’t as good for the Ganassi Racing Ford GT teams. Of the four cars in the field, the #69 Ford GT of Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook (both former Corvette Racing drivers) was the quickest – running a 3:56.039 and sitting 6th quickest in the GTE Pro field. The #66 Ford GT was 8th fastest, the #67 car was 12th and the #68 car was 13th fastest in the field of 14.
Click here for a look at the full results list from the LeMans Practice Day.
Image: Corvette Racing FB Page