Corvette Racing preps for Le Mans

At the heart of everything Corvette Racing does is Le Mans. In a little more than a month, the factory team will go for its sixth GT1 victory in the world's most prestigious race since 2001. In preparation for the twice- around-the-clock race, Corvette tested at Road Atlanta last week for two days.

The two-car squad also has entered its two Corvette C6.Rs for the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix presented by the Grand and Little America Hotels. For the first time, the American Le Mans Series will compete on the 3.048-mile, 15-turn perimeter circuit at Miller Motorsports Park.

"It wasn't the elevation changes at Road Atlanta as much as the speed of the corners," said Johnny O'Connell, who has won two times in three races with Jan Magnussen so far in 2008. "I don't know if (Miller Motorsports Park) is more relevant with the new layout. It's the last time to really run the car hard before we go to Le Mans. In some ways it's a bit of an inconvenience. We race the cars, load them up and their home for one or two days before they're shipped to Le Mans. You'd like a little more time for the guys to work on the cars and do what they need to do. But I do love the track. It's one of the best anywhere and I enjoy competing there."

O'Connell and Jan Magnussen enter the American Le Mans Series' fourth round with two victories in three starts (including the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with Ron Fellows) and hold the lead in the GT1 championship standings. The trio finished second in a rain-soaked Le Mans last year.

"We've had some success early in the year and that does make you feel a little more confident going to a place like Le Mans," O'Connell added. "But Le Mans is its own event and we saw last year with the No. 4 car that anything can happen."

The next round of the American Le Mans Series is the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix presented by the Grand and Little America Hotels on Sunday, May 18 from Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah. The green flag is scheduled for 1 p.m. MT with live television coverage on SPEED. Live radio coverage will be available on XM Satellite Radio Channel 144 and American Le Mans Radio at, which also will feature IMSA's Live Timing & Scoring.

-credit: alms