2004 Corvette Racing Season
The 2004 season was the most successful season for Corvette Racing as of recent. One of the C5-Rs finished first in every event the team entered for that year. It would mark the last season for the C5-R ran by Corvette Racing as Pratt & Miller had been developing the new C6.R ready for the 2005 season.
Part of what made the 2004 season so triumphant was the updates made to the C5-R. Corvette Racing was really frustrated about the Prodrive Ferrari being so dominant at Le Mans the previous year, therefore Pratt & Miller made many modifications.
The first change was the team opted to switch out the Goodyears for Michelins due to the result of Le Mans last year. Corvette Racing had to change their Goodyears at each pitstop, whilst the Prodrive Ferrari built an easy lead over the Corvette due to being able to double stint their Michelins. The Michelins also provided more grip over the Goodyear tire , making the decision an easy one.
In the powertrain department another major change took place. The Hewland H-pattern transmission had been switched out for an Xtrac six-speed sequential. This allowed for much faster and accurate gear changes as the sequential style shifting made it almost impossible to make a driver error, and no clutch pedal was required to be used on the upshifts. The Prodrive Ferrari was also able to get an extra lap of fuel economy over the Corvette, therefore Katech modified the engine management of the LS1.R to produce more torque at the sacrifice of horsepower. This resulted in shifting at a lower RPM allowing for an improvement in fuel economy. The motor underwent changes with the engine blocks running without cylinder liners. A Nicom (Nickel and Silicon) coating, was electroplated into the cylinder walls by U.S. Chrome, which created an engine block with structurally much greater strength.
The bodywork of the C5-R remained similar to the previous year however canards had been added to the outer edges of the front fascia, which helped direct the air more cleanly over the car. Revisions to the chassis made the C5-R over 50 kgs (110 lbs) lighter. Weight saving came from replacing the glass windshield with a polycarbonate windshield that saved 14 kgs (31 lbs) alone. The battery had been replaced with a lighter one that saved an additional 6 kgs (13 lbs).
The result was the C5-R with the new package made the Corvette six seconds a lap faster at Le Mans over their qualifying time from the previous year. This led to Corvette Racing sweeping the GTS class podium at Le Mans with a 1-2 finish relegating the best Prodrive Ferrari to third place finish.
The driver lineup saw some changes in 2004 with Andy Pilgrim, Kelly Collins and Franck Fréon being replaced by Jan Magnussen, Olivier Berretta and Max Papis. This left Ron Fellows as the sole remaining driver on the Corvette Racing roster from the original driver lineup of the team in 1999.
2004 Corvette Racing Schedule & Results
|Race||Race Date||Race Distance (time)||Track||Car Number||Class Position||Overall Position||Start Position||Drivers||Laps Completed||Fastest Lap||Series||Class|
|52nd Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring||March 20 2004||12 Hours||Sebring International Raceway||3||1||4||2||Ron Fellows / Johnny O'Connell / Max Papis||329||1:58.009||American Le Mans Series||GTS|
|52nd Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring||March 20 2004||12 Hours||Sebring International Raceway||4||6||39||1||Oliver Gavin / Olivier Berretta / Jan Magnussen||83||1:57.167||American Le Mans Series||GTS|
|24 Heures du Mans||June 12 2004 – June 13 2004||24 Hours||Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans (France)||64||1||6||2||Oliver Gavin / Olivier Berretta / Jan Magnussen||345||3:53.598||ACO||GTS|
|24 Heures du Mans||June 12 2004 – June 13 2004||24 Hours||Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans (France)||63||2||8||3||Ron Fellows / Johnny O'Connell / Max Papis||334||3:54.162||ACO||GTS|
|American Le Mans Series at Mid-Ohio||June 27 2004||2 Hours 45 Minutes||Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course||3||1||3||2||Ron Fellows / Johnny O'Connell||118||1:20.524||American Le Mans Series||GTS|
|American Le Mans Series at Mid-Ohio||June 27 2004||2 Hours 45 Minutes||Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course||4||2||4||1||Oliver Gavin / Olivier Berretta||118||1:19.896||American Le Mans Series||GTS|
|New England Grand Prix||July 5 2004||2 Hours 45 Minutes||Lime Rock Park||4||1||4||1||Oliver Gavin / Olivier Berretta||160||52.256||American Le Mans Series||GTS|
|New England Grand Prix||July 5 2004||2 Hours 45 Minutes||Lime Rock Park||3||2||5||2||Ron Fellows / Johnny O'Connell||160||52.442||American Le Mans Series||GTS|
|2 Hours and 45 Minutes at Sonoma||July 18 2004||2 Hours 45 Minutes||Infineon Raceway||3||1||4||2||Ron Fellows / Johnny O'Connell||102||1:30.335||American Le Mans Series||GTS|
|2 Hours and 45 Minutes at Sonoma||July 18 2004||2 Hours 45 Minutes||Infineon Raceway||4||3||18||1||Oliver Gavin / Olivier Berretta||86||1:30.167||American Le Mans Series||GTS|
|American Le Mans Series Portland Grand Prix||July 25 2004||2 Hours 45 Minutes||Portland International Raceway||3||1||3||2||Ron Fellows / Johnny O'Connell||135||1:10.598||American Le Mans Series||GTS|
|American Le Mans Series Portland Grand Prix||July 25 2004||2 Hours 45 Minutes||Portland International Raceway||4||2||4||1||Oliver Gavin / Olivier Berretta||133||1:10.122||American Le Mans Series||GTS|
|The Toronto Grand Prix of Mosport||August 8 2004||2 Hours 45 Minutes||Mosport International Raceway (Canada)||4||1||4||1||Oliver Gavin / Olivier Berretta||129||1:14.383||American Le Mans Series||GTS|
|The Toronto Grand Prix of Mosport||August 8 2004||2 Hours 45 Minutes||Mosport International Raceway (Canada)||3||2||5||2||Ron Fellows / Johnny O'Connell||129||1:14.543||American Le Mans Series||GTS|
|Road America 500 presented by The Chicago Tribune||August 22 2004||2 Hours 45 Minutes||Road America, Elkhart Lake||4||1||3||1||Oliver Gavin / Olivier Berretta||77||2:02.176||American Le Mans Series||GTS|
|Road America 500 presented by The Chicago Tribune||August 22 2004||2 Hours 45 Minutes||Road America, Elkhart Lake||3||2||4||2||Ron Fellows / Johnny O'Connell||77||2:02.543||American Le Mans Series||GTS|
|Chevy Presents Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta||September 25 2004||1000 Miles or 10 Hours||Road Atlanta Motor Sports Center||4||1||4||1||Oliver Gavin / Olivier Berretta / Jan Magnussen||376||1:19.293||American Le Mans Series||GTS|
|Chevy Presents Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta||September 25 2004||1000 Miles or 10 Hours||Road Atlanta Motor Sports Center||3||2||5||2||Ron Fellows / Johnny O'Connell / Max Papis||375||1:19.718||American Le Mans Series||GTS|
|Audi Sports Car Championships Laguna Seca||October 16 2004||4 Hours||Mazda Raceway Leguna Seca||3||1||4||2||Ron Fellows / Johnny O'Connell||160||1:22.829||American Le Mans Series||GTS|
|Audi Sports Car Championships Laguna Seca||October 16 2004||4 Hours||Mazda Raceway Leguna Seca||4||2||5||1||Oliver Gavin / Olivier Berretta||160||1:22.867||American Le Mans Series||GTS|
#3 Chevrolet Corvette C5-R Drivers 2004 (#63 used for Le Mans)
2004 would mark Ron Fellows’ sixth full season with Corvette Racing, making him the sole remaining driver from the original driver lineup from 1999. He along with teammate Johnny O’Connell would capture their third straight ALMS GTS Drivers Championship, which also gave Corvette Racing their fourth straight ALMS Manufactures Championship.
Fellows was a fundamental part to the development and success of Corvette Racing. He was one of the original test drivers along with Andy Pilgrim during the two year testing and development period for the Corvette C5-R. Fellows would bring Corvette Racing’s first victory in September 2000 at Texas Motor Speedway and later in 2001 would help give Corvette Racing their first victories at Rolex 24 at Daytona and Le Mans 24 Hours.
Fellows drove for Corvette Racing for nine years winning the drivers championship three times and helping Corvette Racing win eight championships. In 2007 Chevrolet introduced a limited edition Corvette Z06 “Ron Fellows Championship Edition” to celebrate Fellows success with Corvette Racing.
He retired from Corvette Racing after the 2008 season and started the Ron Fellows racing school located in Nevada. In 2011 with partners Carlo Fidani and Allan Boughton, Fellows formed Canadian Motorsport Ventures Ltd., which purchased Mosport International Raceway and renamed it Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
- Birthdate: September 28th, 1959
- Birthplace: Windsor, Ontario, Canada
- Residence: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
- Family: Wife Lynda, children Lindsay, Sam, Patrick
- Corvette Racing: 1999-2008
Notable Career Highlights
- Three time ALMS Drivers Champion – 2002, 2003, 2004
- Two time Le Mans 24 Hours Class Winner – 2001, 2002
- Overall winner in Rolex 24 at Daytona – 2001
- Four-time ALMS Most Popular Driver award – 2004-2007
- 19 SCCA Trans Am wins
- Five NASCAR wins
Johnny O’Connell would make his fourth year start with Corvette Racing in 2004. O’Connell along with his teammate Ron Fellows won their third straight ALMS GTS Drivers Championship, helping Corvette Racing capture their fourth straight ALMS Manufactures Championship.
O’Connell is recognized as one of North America’s most talented race drivers. He began his racing career in single-seaters competing professionally in the Formula Atlantic series in 1987 where he won five races, the championship and Rookie of the Year. O’Connell moved to sports car racing where he would scored a class victory in the 1993 12 Hours of Sebring, an overall win in 1994 and another class victory in 1995 all driving a Nissan 300ZX Turbo for Clayton Cunningham Racing. At his first outing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1994 he achieved a class victory.
O’Connell joined the Indycar series in 1996 where he competed in 4 races including the Indianapolis 500. In 1997 O’Connell made a return to sports car racing driving a Panoz GTR-1 in the IMSA GT race at Pikes Peak where he finished third. O’Connell competed in five races in a Hawk C-8 Chevrolet in the IMSA championship for the Mandeville Auto Tech team the same year before returning to full time sports car racing with Panoz Motorsports in 1998.
O’Connell joined Corvette Racing in 2001, scoring an overall victory at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in his first race for the team. In the same year he was part of the #63 crew helping Corvette Racing achieve their first class victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Whilst part of Corvette Racing he helped the team capture eight straight manufacturers titles and shared the drivers championship for the GTS class with teammate Ron Fellows in 2002, 2003 and 2004. In 2008, O’Connell and teammate Jan Magnussen dominated the GT1 class in the C6.R, scoring eight wins and the class championship. O’Connell is the all-time leader in Sebring victories with his eight career wins in 2009.
- Birthdate: July 24th, 1962
- Birthplace: Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
- Residence: Flowery Branch, Ga.
- Family: Son Canaan, daughter Kelly
- Corvette Racing: 2001 -2010
Notable Career Highlights
- Formula West Champion and Rookie of the Year 1987
- 12 Hours of Sebring GTS class winner 1993, 1994 and 1995
- Rolex 24 at Daytona Overall winner 2001
- ALMS GTS Drivers Champion 2002, 2003 and 2004
- ALMS GT1 Drivers Champion 2008
- Won class in 12 Hours of Sebring for record eighth time in 2009
- Four class victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans – 1994 (IMSA GTS), 2001, 2002 (GTS), 2009 (GT1)
Max Papis (Sebring, Le Mans and Petit Le Mans)
Max Papis made his Corvette Racing debut in 2004 as the third driver of the #3 crew for the three endurance races the team entered that season.
After a successful start of his racing career in Italy, Papis started to race in the International Formula 3000 and began testing Formula 1 cars for Lotus and Honda. The Arrows Formula 1 team signed Papis for seven grands prix in 1995, where he recorded his best finish of seventh at his home circuit of Monza.
The following year Papis made his debut in sports cars and selected CART events. Papis finished as a runner-up in the IMSA World Sports Car championship, where he accomplished three victories. He generated more success in the CART series whilst he developed his skills in sports car events such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Rolex 24 at Daytona, where he achieved an overall win in 2002.
In addition to driving for Corvette Racing in the endurance events, Papis competed in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. In 2008, he drove a Pontiac GXP.R ran by Autohaus in the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona. He went on to drive the same year a Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS for Rusty Wallace Racing in the three NASCAR Nationwide Series road course events.
When not racing professionally, Papis operates a sports marketing company, manages a kart racing team, and keeps active with an intense physical fitness program.
Birthdate: October 3rd, 1969
Birthplace: Como, Italy
Residence: Miami, FL
Family: Wife Tatiana, sons Marco and Matteo
Corvette Racing: 2004-2008
Notable Career Highlights
- Second in the German Formula 3 championship 1993
- Formula 1 driver for Arrows in 1995
- Three wins in the 1996 IMSA World Sports Car Series
- Overall winner of the Rolex 24 at Daytona – 2000, 2002
- 12 Hours of Sebring class winner – 2004 (GTS), 2005, 2007 (GT1)
- Petit Le Mans class winner – 2007 (GT1)
#4 Chevrolet Corvette C5-R Drivers 2004 (#64 used for Le Mans)
Oliver Gavin made his second full year drive with Corvette Racing in 2004 where he accomplished five wins and nine podiums.
Oliver Gavin would become the most successful and longest-serving driver in Corvette Racing history. With 51 victories and five championships as part of the program, Gavin would rank as one of the most accomplished drivers in IMSA history. His Corvette Racing record included wins at Le Mans, Sebring, Daytona and Petit Le Mans. Gavin would win two championships with co-driver Tommy Milner (2012 and 2016) and would become the longest-running driver pairing in IMSA history at the time of the start of the 2020 season.
- Birthdate: September 29th, 1972
- Birthplace: Huntington, England
- Residence: Yardley Hastings, England
- Family: Wife Helen; children Lily, Isaac, Fergus
- Corvette Racing: 2002-2020
Notable Career Highlights
- 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTLM Champion
- Four-time ALMS champion – 2005-07 (GTS/GT1), 2012 (GT)
- Five class wins in 24 Hours of Le Mans – 2002, 2004-06 (GTS/GT1), 2015 (GTLM Pro)
- Six class wins at 12 Hours of Sebring – 2001-02 (GTS), 2006-07 (GT1), 2013 (GT), 2016 (GTLM)
- Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona winner – 2016 (GTLM)
Beretta began his racing career in the 1989 French Formula 3 series. The following year he would finish third in the championship and accomplished a podium at the Monaco Grand Prix support race. Berretta started test driving for the Larrousse Grand Prix team in 1994 and would compete in 10 grand prix, where he finished three times in the top 10, with a career-best seventh in the German Grand Prix.
In 1996 Berretta became involved in the development of the Chrysler Viper of Team Oreca. He would finish third in the FIA GT drivers championship the following year. Beretta would win the 1998 FIA GT drivers championship with teammate Pedro Lamy, where they accomplished eight wins out of 10 races.
In 1999, Berretta would win the FIA GT Championship, the ALMS GTS class championship and the Le Mans 24 hours GTS class, scoring 13 of the 16 race wins for Team Oreca. The following year in 1999 Berretta would win the Rolex 24 at Daytona overall, a class victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring, a class win at Le Mans and a ALMS class championship.
Once joining Corvette Racing in 2004, Berretta scored five victories, including class wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Petit Le Mans.
After leaving Corvette Racing, Berretta became a factory Ferrari driver for various privateer Ferrari customers.
- Birthdate: November 23rd, 1969
- Birthplace: Monte Carlo, Monaco
- Residence: Monte Carlo, Monaco
- Family: Son Riccardo
- Corvette Racing: 2004-2011
Notable Career Highlights
- Drove for Larrousse Formula 1 team – 1994
- FIA GT2 Champion – 1998, 1999
- Overall winner of the 2000 Rolex 24 at Daytona
- ALMS Drivers Champion – 1999, 2000 (GTS), 2005, 2006, 2007 (GT1)
- 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner – 1999, 2000, 2004 (GTS), 2005, 2006 (GT1)
Jan Magnussen (Sebring, Le Mans and Petit Le Mans)
Magnussen made his Corvette Racing debut in 2004 as the third driver for the three endurance races the team entered that year.
Magnussen started his racing career in 1990 racing single-seaters. In 1994 Magnussen won the British Formula 3 Championship with Paul Stewart Racing breaking Ayrton Senna’s record of most wins in a single season, capturing 14 wins out of 18 races.
Magnussen would become a Formula 1 test driver for McLaren before competing in DTM and International Touring Car Championship between 1995 and 1996, where he finished second in the 1996 ITC Championship. Magnussen would become a full time Formula 1 driver for the Stewart Grand Prix team in 1997, where he would accomplish a career best sixth place finish at the Montreal Grand Prix in 1998.
Magnussen joined Panoz Motorsports in 1999 to compete in the ALMS where he captured six wins. He would become part of the Corvette- Ferrari rivalry in 2003, driving the Prodrive Ferrari and would join Corvette Racing the following year.
A legend in Denmark, his aggressive racing style and take-no-prisoners mentality made him very popular with the fans. Magnussen became a full time driver with Corvette Racing in 2007 and throughout his time with the team he accomplished 35 wins. In 2008 Magnussen became the ALMS GT1 Driver Champion with teammate Johnny O’connell and would win the IMSA GT Drivers Championship with Antonio Garcia in 2013.
- Birthdate: July 4th, 1973
- Birthplace: Roskilde, Denmark
- Residence: Roskilde, Denmark
- Family: Wife Christina, sons Kevin and Luca, daughter Millie
- Corvette Racing: 2004-2019
Notable Career Highlights
- Two time ALMS Driver Champion – 2008 (GT1), 2013 (GT)
- Two time IMSA WeatherTech GTLM Champion – 2017, 2018
- Four time 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner – 2004 (GTS), 2005, 2006, 2009 (GT1)
- Rolex 24 at Daytona GTLM class winner – 2015
- Five time 12 Hours of Sebring class winner – 2006, 2008, 2009 (GT1), 2015, 2017 (GTLM)
- ALMS “Most Popular Driver” – 2001, 2003, 2011, 2013