pretty good e;ort. “There was a similar time frame with the GT1 car,” he explains, “and it took two years before we garnered our first victory at Le Mans. That’s legitimately how long it takes to develop a competitive vehicle. We have a new chassis, a new engine and new aerodynamics, and have gone up against rivals with a lot of experience and proven cars.” There were, according to Fehan, eight cars from four marques – Chevrolet, BMW, Ferrari and Porsche – that could have won GTE at Le Mans. “I wouldn’t want to talk down some of the amazing battles we had in the past, but we were generally racing only two cars,” he says, remembering Corvette’s GT1 battles with Prodrive-run Ferrari 550 Maranellos and then the same team’s Aston Martin DBR9s,
CHEVY’S GTE GLORY / LE MANS 24 HOURS /
“so the depth of the field definitely adds
to the sense of achievement.”
Chevrolet led from the front at Le Mans
this year, though not with the winning
car. The faster of the two ’Vettes driven
by Oliver Gavin, Jan Magnussen and
team newcomer Richard Westbrook got
a break after the first safety car at the
end of the opening hour and led until the
17th hour. It went wrong as Magnussen,
in avoiding a slower car, lost control and
slid into a wall and out of the race.
The winning Chevy didn’t have the
same pace, was delayed by two punctures
and Beretta became ill after su;ering
carbon monoxide poisoning during a stint
behind the safety car. It was heading for
second when the Gianmaria Bruni/Toni
Vilander/Giancarlo Fisichella-driven AF
Corse Ferrari 458 Italia su;ered a misfire.
“When your leading car goes out and
your other car battles back, the victory
is all the sweeter,” observes Fehan. “We
never give up.”
Scan this QR code with your mobile device to view RACER.com’s comprehensive coverage of the 24 Hours.
LES PILOTES DES
Here’s how your fellow
Americans fared in the
2011 24 Heures du Mans.
Highest finishing U.S. driver
was Scott Tucker in the
No. 33 Level 5 Motorsports
Lola-HPD B11/60 he shared with Joao
Barbosa and Christophe Bouchut. They
were 10th overall and third in LMP2,
seven laps behind the class winner.
Tommy Milner was part of the
GTE PRO class-winning No. 73
Corvette Racing C6.R crew (see main
story), finishing 11th overall, with
314 laps in the books.
Joey Hand, one third of the No. 56
BMW Motorsport M3 lineup, took
15th overall and third in GTE PRO,
just one lap shy of the winning ’Vette.
Patrick Long took 18th overall
and sixth in GTE PRO in the No. 80
Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche
911 GT3-RSR, four laps off the
The all-American crew of David
and Andrea Robertson and David
Murry and brought their No. 68
Robertson Racing Ford GT-Doran
home 26th overall and third in the
GTE AM class, some 17 laps off the
Another all-U.S. trio – Darren
Law, Seth Neiman and Spencer
Pumpelly – retired the second, GTE
AM-contending Flying Lizard No. 81
Porsche 911 after 211 laps with
Two-time Daytona 500-winner
Michael Waltrip and his partner in
the MWR NASCAR team, Robert
Kauffman, retired the GTE PRO class
AF Corse Ferrari 458 with differential
problems after 178 laps.
Bryce Miller in the No. 88 Team
Felbermayr-Proton GTE PRO Porsche
911 GT3-RSR ended his day early,
courtesy of accident damage, with
169 laps in the books.
Finally, Leh Keen and the No. 89
Hankook-Team Farnbacher Ferrari 458
retired in GTE PRO after 137 laps.
Engine failure was the showstopper.
Gavin/Magnussen/Westbrook led Chevy’s charge
in a very strong field of GTE PRO rivals, but the car
crashed in the 17th hour. Thereafter, it was up to the
No. 73 car (ABOVE) of Beretta, Milner and Garcia to
uphold Corvette Racing’s illustrious Le Mans history.
(INSET LEFT) GM North America president Mark
Reuss with his victorious drivers on the podium.
Scott Tucker: top American with
10th for Level 5 Motorsports.