Bogey No More
Bogey No More
Rail birds claim that there are horses for courses and it seems nearly every golfer, sports team, driver or team has a bogey course, track, stadium or arena – a place where things just don’t seem to click.
Since Corvette Racing’s switch to the ALMS GT class, for them that place has been Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The team’s Engineering Director, Doug Louth, noted last year that Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca had been the team’s toughest event.
Things took a dramatic change in 2012 as the Michigan-based squad laid down an impressive 1-2 finish to take a big step toward claiming the 2012 ALMS manufacturer, team and driver championships.
In 2012, Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner arrived in Monterey on a roll, having bagged their first win at Long Beach. They took a solid win, and with Jan Magnussen storming from fifth to second place after taking the hand-off from Antonio Garcia at the last pit stop, Corvette banished the bogey.
Louth credited changes from the previous year, including the work by Michelin and the Corvette team engineers to arrive at a baseline setup that allowed the team to run well in every session and adapt to the changing conditions.
Running the proven combination that took them to four race wins and the championships in 2012, Gavin/Milner and Corvette opened defense of their ALMS championships with a win at the Twelve Hours of Sebring.
But it is BMW Team RLL and drivers Bill Auberlen and Maxime Martin who arrive with a fresh win in their pockets, as the new BMW Z4 GTE rolled to a 1-2 finish at Long Beach.
The introduction of the new BMW Z4 GTEs and a switch to MICHELIN® tires means the cars and RLL Team are still early in the development process as they arrive at the notoriously fickle Monterey circuit.
The new BMWs are already in the winner’s circle. The SRT Vipers have led each of the last three ALMS events. Risi Competizione Ferrari returns along with the Falken and Miller Racing Porsches, and new entries include the CORE autosport Porsche and the West/AJR Ferrari. That means Corvette will be hard pressed to match last year’s result.
But, the platform Corvette Racing developed last year remains and so does the confidence that comes with winning at your most difficult circuit. Those lessons are not forgotten, and just as boxers are told they must beat the champ to become the champ, the battle lines are drawn.