2008 Corvette Racing Season
The 2008 season was the final full season for Corvette Racing in the GT1 category. Competition within the GT1 class in the American Le Mans Series had almost completely diminished the previous year in 2007. For the 2008 ALMS season, Corvette Racing faced only one other GT1 opponent. The Aston Martin DBR9 ran by Bell Motorsports, which competed at six of the 11 rounds of the 2008 ALMS season.
Corvette Racing spent a majority of the 2008 season battling each other. This created a very entertaining scene at the sixth round of the ALMS season at Mid-Ohio. Both Corvettes would pit at the same time with the #3 C6.R pit box being located in front of the #4 C6.R. The #4 car would finish its pitstop slightly before the #3 therefore as #4 pulled out and started to pass its teammate, the #3 car pulled out creating a collision between the two cars. The two C6.Rs despite being teammates drove down the remainder of pit lane bumping and banging doors. The #4 car would force its way past the #3 car at pit exit and due to the battle both cars had missed the red light at the pit exit. Due to both cars running the red light they were each given a drive through penalty.
For the 2008 Le Mans 24 Hours Prodrive with their Aston Martin DBR9s in the new Gulf livery would be the main competition for Corvette Racing . With the Le Mans score between the two manufactures being two GT1 wins to Corvette and one GT1 win to Aston Martin an intense battle would ensue. The close fight between the two teams would last for the whole 24 hours. The #63 C6.R was catching the #009 DBR9 at a rapid pace but ran out of time handing the win to the Prodrive. The GT1 Le Mans score was now even with two wins a piece.
Corvette Racing accomplished their eighth straight ALMS Manufactures Championship. This would be the last championship win for Corvette Racing for three years until the team won the 2012 ALMS season. The three year streak of Oliver Gavin and Olivier Berretta winning the ALMS GT1 Drivers Championship ended in 2008 with the #3 duo of Johnny O’Connell and Jan Magnussen taking the honors.
2008 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|
|Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring||March 15 2008||12 Hours||Sebring International Raceway||3||1||8||1||Johnny O'Connell / Jan Magnussen / Ron Fellows||328||1:57.839||American Le Mans Series||GT1|
|Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring||March 15 2008||12 Hours||Sebring International Raceway||4||2||10||2||Oliver Gavin / Olivier Berretta / Max Papis||320||1:57.087||American Le Mans Series||GT1|
|Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg||April 5 2008||1 Hour 55 Minutes||St. Petersburg Temporary Street Circuit||4||1||8||1||Oliver Gavin / Olivier Berretta||79||1:09.770||American Le Mans Series||GT1|
|Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg||April 5 2008||1 Hour 55 Minutes||St. Petersburg Temporary Street Circuit||3||2||9||2||Johnny O'Connell / Jan Magnussen||79||1:09.935||American Le Mans Series||GT1|
|Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach||March 19 2008||100 Minutes||Long Beach Street Circuit||3||1||11||1||Johnny O'Connell / Jan Magnussen||70||1:17.802||American Le Mans Series||GT1|
|Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach||March 19 2008||100 Minutes||Long Beach Street Circuit||4||2||12||2||Oliver Gavin / Olivier Berretta||70||1:17.415||American Le Mans Series||GT1|
|Larry H Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix||May 18 2008||2 Hours 45 Minutes||Miller Motorsports Park||3||1||10||2||Johnny O'Connell / Jan Magnussen||88||1:43.434||American Le Mans Series||GT1|
|Larry H Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix||May 18 2008||2 Hours 45 Minutes||Miller Motorsports Park||4||2||11||1||Oliver Gavin / Olivier Berretta||88||1:43.674||American Le Mans Series||GT1|
|24 Heures Du Mans||June 14 – 15 2008||24 Hours||Circuit de la Sarthe||63||2||14||1||Johnny O'Connell / Jan Magnussen / Ron Fellows||344||3:50.650||ACO||GT1|
|24 Heures Du Mans||June 14 – 15 2008||24 Hours||Circuit de la Sarthe||64||3||15||3||Oliver Gavin / Olivier Berretta / Max Papis||341||3:49.707||ACO||GT1|
|American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix||July 12 2008||2 Hours 45 Minutes||Lime Rock Park||3||1||8||2||Johnny O'Connell / Jan Magnussen||157||53.714||American Le Mans Series||GT1|
|American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix||July 12 2008||2 Hours 45 Minutes||Lime Rock Park||4||2||16||1||Oliver Gavin / Olivier Berretta||146||53.367||American Le Mans Series||GT1|
|Acura Sports Car Challenge of Mid-Ohio||July 19 2008||2 Hours 45 Minutes||Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course||3||1||21||1||Johnny O'Connell / Jan Magnussen||98||1:18.269||American Le Mans Series||GT1|
|Acura Sports Car Challenge of Mid-Ohio||July 19 2008||2 Hours 45 Minutes||Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course||4||2||22||2||Oliver Gavin / Olivier Berretta||98||1:18.068||American Le Mans Series||GT1|
|The Generac 500||August 9 2008||4 Hours||Road America||3||1||10||2||Johnny O'Connell / Jan Magnussen||97||2:02.528||American Le Mans Series||GT1|
|The Generac 500||August 9 2008||4 Hours||Road America||4||3||28||1||Oliver Gavin / Olivier Berretta||50||2:01.974||American Le Mans Series||GT1|
|Mobil 1 presents The Grand Prix of Mosport||August 28 2008||2 Hours 45 Minutes||Mosport International Raceway||3||1||12||1||Johnny O'Connell / Jan Magnussen||117||1:14.933||American Le Mans Series||GT1|
|Mobil 1 presents The Grand Prix of Mosport||August 28 2008||2 Hours 45 Minutes||Mosport International Raceway||4||2||13||2||Oliver Gavin / Olivier Berretta||116||1:14.570||American Le Mans Series||GT1|
|Detroit Sports Car Challenge||August 30 2008||2 Hours 45 Minutes||Belle Isle Street Circuit||4||1||9||2||Oliver Gavin / Olivier Berretta||100||1:22.099||American Le Mans Series||GT1|
|Detroit Sports Car Challenge||August 30 2008||2 Hours 45 Minutes||Belle Isle Street Circuit||3||2||10||1||Johnny O'Connell / Jan Magnussen||100||1:22.270||American Le Mans Series||GT1|
|11th annual Petit Le Mans powered by the Totally New Mazda 6||October 4 2008||1000 Miles or 10 Hours||Road Atlanta||3||1||10||1||Johnny O'Connell / Jan Magnussen / Ron Fellows||365||1:17.053||American Le Mans Series||GT1|
|11th annual Petit Le Mans powered by the Totally New Mazda 6||October 4 2008||1000 Miles or 10 Hours||Road Atlanta||4||2||11||2||Oliver Gavin / Olivier Berretta / Max Papis||359||1:17.095||American Le Mans Series||GT1|
|Monterey Sports Car Championships Leguna Seca||October 18 2008||4 Hours||Mazda Raceway Leguna Seca||4||1||12||2||Oliver Gavin / Olivier Berretta||139||1:19.789||American Le Mans Series||GT1|
|Monterey Sports Car Championships Leguna Seca||October 18 2008||4 Hours||Mazda Raceway Leguna Seca||3||2||13||1||Johnny O'Connell||139||1:19.760||American Le Mans Series||GT1|
#3 Chevrolet Corvette C6.R Drivers 2008 (#63 used for Le Mans)
For the 2008 season Johnny O’Connell would remain partnered with Jan Magnussen. O’Connell and Magnussen would go on to win the 2008 ALMS GT1 Drivers Championship breaking the three year streak of the #4 crew.
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)
Jan Magnussen joined Corvette Racing for his third year and second year paired with Johnny O’Connell as a full time driver. Magnussen with co-driver O’Connell accomplished the 2008 ALMS GT1 Drivers Championship, which handed Corvette Racing their eighth ALMS Manufactures Championship.
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
Ron Fellows (Sebring, Le Mans and Petit Le Mans)
Ron Fellows announced in 2007 that it would be his final year with Corvette Racing. However he returned to the team in 2008 in the third driver role as he wanted one last shot at Le Mans. Despite doing a great job at Le Mans of catching the GT1 leading Aston Martin, Fellows would unfortunately run out of time and finish second in class.
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
#4 Chevrolet Corvette C6.R Drivers 2008 (#64 used for Le Mans)
The 2008 season would mark the sixth year for Oliver Gavin with Corvette Racing. He remained paired up with Olivier Berretta for the fourth consecutive year. Gavin was looking to keep his three year streak of winning the GT1 Drivers Championship alive but ran into multiple unfortunate events throughout the season.
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)
Olivier Berretta made his fifth year appearance as a full time Corvette Racing factory driver for the 2008 season. He remained paired with co-driver Oliver Gavin for the fourth consecutive year.
Berretta and Gavin would take three GT1 class wins during the 2008 ALMS championship handing their teammates the drivers championship.
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)
Max Papis (Sebring, Le Mans and Petit Le Mans)
Max Papis made his second year start as the the third driver for the #4 Corvette Racing crew. This would be his fifth year in total with Corvette Racing since he joined the team in 2004.
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)