The 2017 24 Hours of LeMans endurance race will be held this weekend and all throughout this week, the teams have been in France, practicing and qualifying for the legendary race. For those Corvette Racing fans keeping tabs at home, things started off great in practice, but they began heading downhill when the FIA handed out a Balance of Performance adjustment to the #63 and #64 Corvette C7R teams and as a result, qualifying did not go well.
Fortunately for those Corvette lovers or anyone pulling for one of the Chevrolet teams to take a class win at LeMans, things look considerably better for the Corvette in the GTEAm class.
For the second year in a row, Corvette Racing was the fastest car in the GTEPro class during the first official practice session for the 24 Hours of LeMans endurance race. For the second year in a row, the two Corvette Racing team cars were hit with Balance of Performance adjustments and for the second year in a row, the Corvette C7Rs running GTEPro went from the top half of the field in practice to the bottom half of the field for qualifying.
Earlier this week we brought you the news of how the #64 Corvette C7R of Corvette Racing set the fastest practice lap time at the first on-track session for the 2017 24 Hours of LeMans. Shortly after setting the 1st and 4th best lap times in the class, the Corvette Racing teams were hit with a Balance of Performance adjustment in the form of a smaller engine air restrictor plate, which reduces the engines ability to make power. Although the lap times were fairly well clustered together during practice, the Corvette were penalized and as a result, they slipped to the lower half of the qualifying order for LeMans.
After running 1st in practice, the best position that the #64 Corvette C7R could muster in qualifying was 10th best in class. The entire GTEPro class was quicker in qualifying than they were in practice, but the #64 Corvette went from being 2.9 tenths of a second ahead of 2nd place in practice to being 1.2 seconds behind the leader in the class in qualifying – settling for a disappointing 10th starting position for the race.
The #63 Corvette C7R ran 4th in practice, 3.6 tenths of a second behind the top time, but in qualifying, the best that half of Corvette Racing could do was 6th, more than a half a second off of the class pole-setting pace.
Hopefully the teams can work around the power loss to turn in a better performance in the race than they did in qualifying, as we watch the Balance of Performance rule once again create an uphill battle for Corvette Racing.
The qualifying order for the GTEPro class at LeMans is as follows:
1-#97 Aston Martin Vantage
2-#51 Ferrari 488 GTE
3-#95 Aston Martin Vantage
4-#71 Ferrari 488 GTE
5-#69 Ford GT
6-#63 Chevrolet Corvette C7R
7-#93 Porsche 911 RSR
8-#66 Ford GT
9-#67 Ford GT
10-#64 Chevrolet Corvette C7R
11-#82 Ferrari 488 GTE
12-#68 Ford GT
13-#91 Porsche 911 RSR
The preparation for the 2017 24 Hours of LeMans race has gone much better for the #50 Corvette C7R of Larbre Competition in the GTEAm class. After running 2nd quickest in practice, just 5 hundredths behind the #98 Aston Martin, the Corvette team snatched the class pole position away, beating that same Aston by nearly a half a second in qualifying.
The race itself begins tomorrow (Saturday June 17th) at am EST.
Image: Corvette Racing