2009 Corvette Racing Season
After confirming in 2008 that Corvette Racing would be joining the GT2 category, the team ran a limited season in 2009.
The team started the season using the GT1 cars as they had decided that they wanted to win the fight against Prodrive for the most GT1 Le Mans wins. Corvette Racing took the GT1 class win at Le Mans in 2005 and 2006, with Prodrive taking victories in 2007 and 2008, making the score an even two a piece. For the first two races of the season, Corvette Racing used chassis C6R-007 and C6R-008 from last year. The #3 C6.R went on to the GT1 class at the Sebring 12 Hours. The next round at St. Petersburg was skipped by the team and the final ALMS for the GT1 Corvette would be Long Beach. The decision to run at Long Beach was made due to being the local race of their main sponsor Compuware. Round four at Utah’s Miller Motorsport Park was skipped by the team making the final race for the GT1 Corvette the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours.
Prodrive had decided to make an attempt for an overall win at Le Mans in the LMP1 class. They worked in conjunction with Lola to build the Lola Aston Martin DBR1-2 B09/60, which used a tuned version of the 6.0L V12 from the Aston Martin DBR9 GT1 car. This made the challenge for Corvette Racing in GT1 a lot easier with only three other teams to compete against: Luc Alphand Aventures with a pair of ex Corvette Racing C6.Rs, Jetalliance Racing GmbH with an Aston Martin DBR9 and JLOC with a Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT. It was looking like a Corvette podium sweep at Le Mans until the leading #64 C6.R suffered transmission failure with a few hours remaining, handing the win to the #63 car. Johnny O’Connell crossed the finish line whilst doing a rolling burnout before pulling the car into parc ferme. As he climbed out the GT1 C6.R for the final time, he took off his helmet and stroked the roof of the car, thanking it for an amazing journey.
Back in the US, Pratt & Miller had been busy building the GT2 car. With the GT1 C6.R being modelled from the Z06, Pratt & Miller decided to use the new ZR1 as the GT2 platform. The GT2 rules made for a closer production based race cars so the ZR1 with its new stiffer magnesium chassis made for a more competitive frame. During testing the team had been impressed by the increase in mechanical grip from the stiffer chassis. With the GT2 class restricting the aero package compared to GT1, the increase in mechanical grip made up for the loss of downforce. The 7.0L V8 had to be decreased to 6.0L to meet the rules, which reduced the power output to just below 500hp. Finally the carbon ceramic brake rotors were not permitted in GT2, which enforced steel rotors only. The difference made the GT2 C6.R an average of 4.8 seconds a lap slower than the GT1 equivalent.
The competition in GT2 was stacked with factory efforts from Ferrari, Porsche and BMW and two privateer teams featuring a Panoz Esperante GTLM and a Ford GT-R Mk 7. Corvette Racing would compete at the remaining five rounds of the 2009 ALMS season with the first race for Corvette Racing in GT2 being round six at Mid-Ohio. Immediately the new car showed its pace accomplishing second place behind the Flying Lizard Porsche. The next race at Road America, Corvette Racing would go on to accomplish another podium with the #3 car finishing third in class. It would only take three races for the new GT2 C6.R to take its first victory, which came at round eight at Mosport.
The season would end at Laguna Seca in dramatic fashion. Jan Magnussen in the #3 C6.R was battling for first place in class behind the #45 Flying Lizard Porsche 911 driven by Jorg Bergmeister. With 10 minutes remaining of a four hour race, Magnussen was on the rear of the Porsche. Magnussen made a couple of attempts into turn one to overtake Bergmeister, but was forced wide off the track by the Porsche. Eventually Magnussen went for an aggressive overtake along the front straight by overtaking the Porsche using the exit of pitlane. After the overtake Magnussen started to build a large gap from the Porsche, however the officials deemed the overtake illegal forcing Magnussen to allow the #45 pass back into the lead. Magnussen had only a couple of minutes to make another attempt. Coming into the final turn on the last lap, Magnussen bumped the rear of the Porsche, which upset the balance of the #45. Magnussen pulled to the inside of the turn to be side by side with the Porsche. The two cars drag raced to the finish line but Bergmeister decided to turned into the Corvette making heavy contact, which forced Magnussen up against the pit wall. The banging continued with the Corvette slightly ahead of the Porsche until Bergmeister braked and turned hard into the right rear of the Corvette. The contact put Magnussen into a spin forcing the Corvette into a head on collision with the opposite wall. The Corvette crashed hard just before the finish line as the Porsche passed in the background to take the victory. The C6.R slid across the finish line in second place and was heavily damaged. Magnussen broke his tailbone in the accident and despite the dangerous driving of Jorg Bergmeister, the result stood giving Flying Lizard Motorsports the GT2 class win.
2009 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|
|57th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring||March 21 2009||12 Hours||Sebring International Raceway||3||1||6||2||Johnny O'Connell / Jan Magnussen / Antonio Garcia||349||1:57.154||American Le Mans Series||GT1|
|57th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring||March 21 2009||12 Hours||Sebring International Raceway||4||2||7||1||Oliver Gavin / Olivier Berrretta / Marcel Fässler||348||1:56.905||American Le Mans Series||GT1|
|35th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach||April 18 2009||100 Minutes||Long Beach Street Circuit||4||1||6||1||Oliver Gavin / Olivier Berretta||73||1:18.847||American Le Mans Series||GT1|
|35th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach||April 18 2009||100 Minutes||Long Beach Street Circuit||3||2||21||2||Johnny O'Connell / Jan Magnussen||42||1:18.896||American Le Mans Series||GT1|
|24 Heures Du Mans||June 13 -14 2009||24 Hours||Circuit de la Sarthe||63||1||15||1||Johnny O'Connell / Jan Magnussen / Antonio Garcia||342||3:54.076||ACO||GT1|
|24 Heures Du Mans||June 13 -14 2009||24 Hours||Circuit de la Sarthe||64||DNF, Transmission||DNF, Transmission||2||Oliver Gavin / Olivier Berretta / Marcel Fässler||311||3:53.416||ACO||GT1|
|Acura Sports Car Challenge of Mid-Ohio||August 8 2009||2 Hours 45 Minutes||Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course||3||2||8||3||Johnny O'Connell / Jan Magnussen||108||1:22.327||American Le Mans Series||GT2|
|Acura Sports Car Challenge of Mid-Ohio||August 8 2009||2 Hours 45 Minutes||Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course||4||4||10||6||Oliver Gavin / Olivier Berretta||107||1:22.564||American Le Mans Series||GT2|
|Time Warner Cable Road Race Showcase featuring the American Le Mans Series||August 16 2009||2 Hours 45 Minutes||Road America||3||3||11||4||Johnny O'Connell / Jan Magnussen||68||2:09.723||American Le Mans Series||GT2|
|Time Warner Cable Road Race Showcase featuring the American Le Mans Series||August 16 2009||2 Hours 45 Minutes||Road America||4||6||14||5||Oliver Gavin / Olivier Berretta||67||2:09.764||American Le Mans Series||GT2|
|Mobil 1 Presents The Grand Prix of Mosport||August 30 2009||2 Hours 45 Minutes||Mosport International Raceway||3||1||6||5||Johnny O'Connell||117||1:18.753||American Le Mans Series||GT2|
|Mobil 1 Presents The Grand Prix of Mosport||August 30 2009||2 Hours 45 Minutes||Mosport International Raceway||4||3||8||4||Oliver Gavin / Olivier Berretta||116||1:18.778||American Le Mans Series||GT2|
|12th Annual Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda 6||September 26 2009||1000 Miles or 10 Hours||Road Atlanta||4||4||11||3||Oliver Gavin / Olivier Berretta / Marcel Fässler||169||1:21.785||American Le Mans Series||GT2|
|12th Annual Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda 6||September 26 2009||1000 Miles or 10 Hours||Road Atlanta||3||6||14||7||Johnny O'Connell / Jan Magnussen / Antonio Garcia||168||1:21.594||American Le Mans Series||GT2|
|Monterey Sports Car Championship Laguna Seca||October 10 2009||4 Hours||Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca||3||2||7||1||Johnny O'Connell / Jan Magnussen||155||1:23.963||American Le Mans Series||GT2|
|Monterey Sports Car Championship Laguna Seca||October 10 2009||4 Hours||Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca||4||10||17||3||Oliver Gavin / Olivier Berretta||143||1:24.302||American Le Mans Series||GT2|
#3 Chevrolet Corvette C6.R Drivers 2009 (#63 used for Le Mans)
Johnny O’Connell joined Corvette Racing in 2009 for his ninth year with the team. He remained paired with Jan Magnussen and together, they accomplished Corvette Racing’s first victory in the GT2 category.
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 fourth year and remained paired with Johnny O’Connell. The duo would give the new GT2 C6.R its first podium in its first race and went on to collect its first win in only its third race. Magnussen was involved in a big crash on the final lap of the season finale at Laguna Seca after he was spun out by Jorg Bergmeister.
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
Antonio Garcia (Sebring, Le Mans and Petit Le Mans)
Antonio Garcia made his Corvette Racing debut in 2009 as the third driver for the three endurances races the team entered that season. Garcia immediately impressed by helping the team take the class victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Garcia is regarded as one of the best GT drivers in the world. He has claimed multiple victories at the biggest endurance races in world such as Le Mans, Sebring and Daytona. Garcia won back-to-back IMSA titles in 2017 and 2018 and has never finished lower than third in points dating back to his first full season with Corvette Racing in 2012.
- Birthdate: June 5th, 1980
- Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
- Residence: Barcelona, Spain
- Family: wife and two children
- Corvette Racing: 2009 – Present
Notable Career Highlights
- 2013 ALMS GT Champion
- 2017 and 2018 IMSA GTLM WeatherTech Champion
- 24 Hours of Le Mans winner – 2008-09 (GT1), 2011 (GTE Pro)
- Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona winner – 2009 (overall), 2015 (GTLM)
- Sebring 12 Hours winner – 2009 (GT1), 2015 (GTLM), 2017 (GTLM)
#4 Chevrolet Corvette C6.R Drivers 2009 (#64 used for Le Mans)
Oliver Gavin made his seventh year start with Corvette Racing in 2009. He remained partnered with Olivier Berretta for the fifth year in a row and together collected the final ALMS GT1 victory at Long Beach.
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)
2009 started Olivier Berretta’s sixth year start with Corvette Racing. He remained partnered with Oliver Gavin for the fifth consecutive year.
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)
Marcel Fässler (Sebring Le Mans and Petit Le Mans)
Marcel Fässler made his debut with Corvette Racing in 2009 in the role of the third driver, competing in the endurance races only.
Unfortunately at the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours the podium was taken away from him in the last few hours of the race due to transmission failure. This was not Fässler’s first time behind the wheel of a Corvette race car as previously he had competed in the FIA GT Championship 24 Hours of Spa taking victory in the Carsport C6.R in 2008 and then Fässler raced a full season for Phoenix alongside Jean-Denis Deletraz in the C6.R taking one victory at Bucharest and five pole positions. Fässler redeemed himself at Le Mans later in 2010 when he finished second and then won the race overall with Audi in an R18 in 2011, 2012 and again in 2014.
Fässler rejoined Corvette Racing as the third driver in 2016 as part of the #4 Corvette C7.R for the longer races in the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship, winning the Rolex 24 Hours with team mates Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner in his first every visit to Daytona.
- Birthdate: May 27th, 1976
- Birthplace: Einsiedeln, Switzerland
- Residence: Gross, Switzerland
- Family: Wife Isabel
- Corvette Racing: 2009, 2016 – 2020
Notable Career Highlights
- Runner-up German Formula 3 Championship – 1999
- DTM race winner – 2003
- Runner-up FIA GT 24 Hours of Spa – 2006
- Winner FIA GT 24 Hours of Spa – 2007 (Overall)
- Runner-up 24 Hours of Le Mans – 2010 (Overall)
- Winner 24 Hours of Le Mans – 2011, 2012 and 2014 (Overall)
- Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona class winner – 2016 (GTLM)