Corvette Racing Notebook for the Grand Prix of Mosport, Sept. 2-4
BOWMANVILLE, Ont. - Like singer Aretha Franklin, Mosport International Raceway demands respect. That's R-E-S-P-E-C-T. It's the fastest track on the American Le Mans Series circuit, a course that takes a driver's breath away.
Ask Ron Fellows, the acknowledged master of Mosport. The Canadian ace began his racing career at the Ontario track nearly 30 years ago. He's still in awe of this 2.46-mile circuit.
"Mosport is one place where you never feel you have enough laps," Fellows said. "It has long, fast corners, and no place to go if you make a mistake. You give that track some respect.
"When we begin a race weekend at Mosport and my engineer asks what we need to go faster, I just tell him, 'More laps. The car's fine, but the driver has to get a little braver.'"
A test of both machine and mettle, Mosport offers unique rewards.
"There's not a driver in the paddock who doesn't like racing there," Fellows declared. "The corners are fast and you can sink your teeth into the place. Niki Lauda (three-time Formula 1 champion) said that Turns 4-5-6 are is the most challenging and difficult combination to get right among all the tracks in the world he'd raced on."
The Home of the Brave
So how does Mosport match up with the great European circuits?
"It's an old-style track that hasn't been sanitized with chicanes," said Oliver Gavin, who teamed with Olivier Beretta to win at Mosport last year. "It may not be the safest track, but it's so much fun to drive around that every driver gets out of the car with a huge grin on his face.
"Turn 2 is a big corner because you are approaching quickly in fifth gear, braking and turning as you're going over a crest," he explained. "It's quite daunting because when you go over the crest, the laws of physics take over and you become a passenger. Mosport is definitely one of those tracks give a driver a great reward for pushing that little bit harder."
Beretta agreed: "From now to the end of the season, we are running on good, fast tracks," he said. "Mosport is one of the best in the ALMS championship because there are big differences in elevation, fast corners and long straights. It will suit the Corvette C6.R very well."
If Mosport is a thrill for drivers, it's a Rubik's Cube for engineers.
"It's the fastest track in the ALMS series, and it has the greatest percentage of lap time over 90 mph with high g loads," reported Corvette Racing engineering manager Doug Louth. "Top speed at Mosport is not as fast as at Le Mans, but the average cornering speeds are higher. It's like running the Porsche Curves at Le Mans five times every lap.
"The surface is bumpy in some areas and has quite a lot of elevation changes that affect the ride height, so it all adds up to make a very challenging track to optimize the aerodynamics and vehicle dynamics."
Just the Facts
A victory by Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta in the preceding round at Road America clinched the GT1 manufacturers championship for Chevrolet and the team championship for Corvette Racing.
Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell lead Gavin and Beretta in the chase for the GT1 drivers championship by three points (130-127) with three races remaining.
Corvette Racing has scored six consecutive 1-2 finishes in ALMS competition, a streak that began at Road Atlanta in April. The No. 3 and No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.Rs have each posted three victories.
Gavin set the Mosport track record for the fastest GT1 qualifying lap (120.741 mph) and the fastest race lap (119.011 mph) one year ago in a Corvette C5-R en route to a victory with his teammate Beretta.
Fellows and O'Connell won at Mosport three straight years (2001-03).
Beretta has three Mosport victories: 1999-2000 with the ORECA team, and 2004 with Corvette Racing.
Corvette Racing delivered the first championship for the GM small-block V-8 in its 50th anniversary season. Since its debut in 1955, the small-block V-8 has become the world's most successful production-based racing engine. GM has produced approximately 90 million small-block V-8s, with a combined power output of 27 billion horsepower (comparable to the output of 15,000 nuclear powerplants).
The 7.0-liter small-blocks that power Corvette Racing's championship-winning C6.Rs inspired the 505-horsepower LS7 that powers the Corvette Z06 supercar. The 7.0-liter LS7 is the largest, most powerful production small-block V-8 GM has ever produced.
The Grand Prix of Mosport, the eighth round of the 2005 American Le Mans Series, is set for 3 p.m. EDT on Sunday, Sept. 4. The 2-hour, 45-minute race will be broadcast live on SPEED Channel from 3 to 6 p.m. EDT.