• Apr 21, 2009

Click above for a high-res mega gallery of the Corvette Racing GT1 program

Here's to you, Corvette Racing. The car has evolved, the livery has changed, drivers have come and gone, competitors have challenged and fallen away, and even the type of fuel is new, but one thing remains the same -- a winning formula. Starting with a second-place finish at its inaugural race at the 1999 24 Hours of Daytona, Corvette Racing went on to become one of the most dominant teams in motorsports history. The easily recognizable yellow paint scheme and the deep sound of the V8 have made the Corvettes a fan favorite, as have drivers like Ron Fellows, Johnny O'Connell, Oliver Gavin, and Olivier Beretta. Continue reading more about Corvette Racing's successes in ALMS and at Le Mans after the break, along with our positively massive gallery below.



Photos copyright ©2009 Drew Phillips / Weblogs, Inc

The first win for the C5-R came at the Texas Motor Speedway in 2000 with Ron Fellow and Andy Pilgrim behind the wheel, beginning a slew of victories that essentially left the GT1 category barren of any teams wanting to compete against the Corvettes. The C5-R went on to capture an overall win at Daytona (2001), three 1-2 finishes in the GTS class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (2001, 2002, 2004), and four consecutive manufacturers' championships. Corvette Racing had a perfect season in 2004, winning every race and capturing every pole position without ever breaking down or replacing an engine or transmission -- not so much as a flat tire.



A new era began in 2005 with the introduction of the C6.R. It may have been a new car, but with six seasons of competition under their belt, the Corvettes immediately continued their class dominance (renamed to GT1) by winning all but one race of the ALMS season as well as finishing 1-2 at Le Mans. Four years later, Corvette Racing have racked up an impressive resume: eight straight team and manufacturer championships, seven straight drivers' titles, five class victories at Le Mans, and seven class victories at Sebring. After their last win at the Long Beach Grand Prix this past weekend, the total of class wins in ALMS comes to 70 and 76 worldwide.



Alas, Corvette Racing's success has been their undoing. Its dominant form left them with nobody to compete in the last two years, with the closest challengers from the Aston Martin factory team managing to win five of ten races in 2006. Still, with Aston Martin's departure of the GT1 class in 2008, Corvette Racing has grown tired of racing themselves and announced that they would be moving to the GT2 class later in the season to hunt down the likes of Porsche, Ferrari, BMW, and Panoz. So while the victory in Long Beach may have been unexciting in one aspect, it was still a memorable since it would be the last time we would see the Corvette C6.R on track here in the United States.



While Corvette Racing's tenure in the GT1 class might be at an end, they still have one more test ahead of them before launching their GT2 campaign in August. The very last race for the C6.R will be at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, and it's the one place that Corvette Racing still have something to prove. Aston Martin have taken the top spot in GT1 the last two years, and the Corvette team is determined to reclaim its supremacy. "We still have unfinished business in Le Mans," said Oliver Gavin after the Long Beach race. If the C6.R does come out on top, it will be a fitting end to an impressive race car and an even more impressive racing program in GT1.



As our own tribute to Corvette Racing's success in GT1 in ALMS, we've put together a huge mega gallery of our Corvette Racing photographs that we've taken over the last several years. Included in the gallery are photos from the C6.R's first race (Sebring, 2005), it's last race (Long Beach, 2009), Petit Le Mans, and Laguna Seca. We've even added a few photos of the C5-R's last factory-backed ALMS race at Laguna Seca in 2004. So once again, here's to you Corvette Racing!



Photos copyright ©2009 Drew Phillips / Weblogs, Inc


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 20 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I live corvette
      • 5 Years Ago
      That was one hell of a run.
        • 5 Years Ago
        My hats of to all the people at Pratt & Miller for the dedication they have put into these amazing cars, and their fans. You could not meet nicer people. I will miss seeing, and hearing the GT1 Corvettes next year at Sebring. Here's to GT2, and renewed fight to the top!
      HotRodzNKustoms
      • 5 Years Ago
      I do hope Corvette Racing can continue their winning ways in GT2. Not many cars are so dominating that they virtually destroy a class. Which is not necessarily a good thing but is a testament to the strength of the team and car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Corvette team has never had much competiton, most of the time rag tag racers. The amount of $$$$$ spent should have been put to better use at GM. Buyers in the US don't care about this. The Need BUYER are the ones purchasing Cars. If you don't thniks so just look at the TV #'s and on site attendance for these events.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Rather see them in GT2 anyways. Will create more interest and intrigue. It will be tough for them against the RSR and the Ferrari. As usual, Corvette will have a huge displacement advantage, but will suffer from smaller restrictors at the very least. Good luck!
      • 5 Years Ago
      for the C6 - the version of yellow is referred to as "Velocity Yellow" :)

      • 5 Years Ago
      Way to go Corvette, on being a factory backed team that is willing to let you run the full season with no other factory teams besides Jag every once in awhile. It's kinda like how GM gave the CTS-V a factory backed race team to compete with guys who are paying for their stuff out of pocket. But we know how GM does with really for real competition ie., Cadillac LMP
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes, because the factory effort from the Oreca Vipers wouldn't count. Or the Aston Martins, or the semi-backed Saleen teams. Heck, the C6.R private cars are holding their ground quite well in Europe still (being at least a year old cars running with new European entries). They have proven fast, bulletproof, and entertaining to watch in person. Likewise, the CTS-V teams had to contend with factory efforts from Porsche, Audi, and Volvo when they were competing.

        Give credit where it is due. They scared formidable competitors out of the class for quite some time, much like Audi did with the R8's.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Not trying to bash the car, I know its a great race car, but it was pretty easy to win all those years, the Astons were barely a challenge
      • 5 Years Ago
      This car C5R and C6R, was very likely the finest GT race car ever built. It easily dominated the Prodrive Ferrari's and Astons and anything that dared show up. And those guys spent more than Pratt &Millers budget. It killed the Saleen S7R's, and the Maserati MC12 's cars that as racers cost 10 times as much !!! Many of the GT2 cars had budgets equal to there's or greater. Anyone who belittles this accomplishment in anyway is a moron. These cars finished often in the top 5 overall !!!! A DNF was unheard of when Ferraris, Porsches, Saleens, Maserati's regularly dropped out. The organization represented the USA all over the world with class. The cars and team supported our armed forces and did so much good for our image too.
      Nothing is wrong with being the lowkey successful goodguys.
      It's the American way.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I truly hope (and don't believe) Corvette racing doesn't become history as every year I look forward to hearing their deep-throated resonance while working the turns of Miller Motor Sports Park.

      If it means the Corvette is on the cutting block for GM to survive, good riddance to GM. If you don't have the ability to keep your biggest brand alive you should not be in existence.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm glad I was able to see the GT1 Vettes run at Petite LeMans last year. Hearing that rumble was special.

      At the end of the race I was walking back to the parking area and Miller was loading up what must have been a show car. They fired it up and the noise was incredible. You could feel the vibration in your chest.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I love you guys.
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