Nigel S Dobbie's definitive book on Corvette racing

Sebring 2013

The right car won if for the wrong reasons.

The final season of the ALMS started with a Corvette victory yesterday but that doesn’t really tell the whole story. The #62 Risi Ferrari 458 took the pole position for the race but Oliver Gavin in the #4 Corvette took the lead at the first corner from second place on the grid and breezed off into the distance. All seemed to be set fair for the #4 car until the dashboard display for the gearbox and the gear shift lights decided to stop working. Two attempts to fix it dropped the car off of the lead lap but Tommy Milner managed to get around the #91 Viper that had taken the class lead. Then a full course caution closed the field up and with quicker pit work the #4 managed to move back to 4th place in the class and with Richard Westbrook storming around the car managed to re-take the class lead. Then after another full course caution Richard was assessed a 60 second penalty for avoidable contact with the Alex Job Racing Ferrari, leaving the vette again playing catch up. Olly Gavin took over the chase but when he handed the #4 Corvette back to Tommy Milner for the final time he was still over a minute behind the now class leading #62 Risi Ferrari. At the final pit stop Tommy took over 10 seconds out of Matteo Malucelli in the Ferrari and then set about the task of chasing down the Ferrari during the final hour of the race. Every lap Milner chipped away at the Ferraris lead and with 30 minutes left in the race it was down to 5 seconds. Eventually the pressure told and Malucelli made a mistake getting squeezed onto the grass by one of the Porsches and with that Milner was right on him, a few corners later on the same lap again the Ferrari ran wide and that was all the invite Tommy needed to take the GT Class lead. The final 13 minutes just needed a clean run to the chequered flag to take a well deserved 12 Hour victory for the #4 Corvette.
The result was the right result as the #4 Corvette was clearly the class of the field, twice shooting themselves in the foot cost them about 4 minutes more time in the pits than the #62 Ferrari so the right car won in the end. IF Bruni or Beretta had been in the #62 Ferrari for the final stint would they have lost the lead? A great debate for a night in the pub over a pint with friends.

The #3 Corvette had a troubled first race of the season with electrical problems, contact with another car and the resulting penalty then finally the gearbox decided to lunch itself. Worse still the car didn’t complete the required 70% of the winners laps meaning they scored no points.

Next race is Long Beach in April.

Nigel S. Dobbie

IBM Cognos Business Intelligence Expert during the week
Vette News Motorsport Journalist / Photographer on the weekend

Cell: 847-373-1608