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Topic: SPOILERS: CORVETTE RACING AT LONG BEACH AND IMOLA

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SPOILERS: CORVETTE RACING AT LONG BEACH AND IMOLA (1/1)
 4/21/24 4:36pm
cor123
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Joined: 11/1/2010
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CORVETTE RACING AT LONG BEACH: Strong Drive Forward for AWA

Fidani, Bell advance nine spots to finish season-best sixth in wild GTD battle


LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 20, 2024) – AWA’s Orey Fidani and Matt Bell continued their upward momentum in the new Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.R with their best finish of the season – a sixth-place GT Daytona (GTD) finish Saturday in the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.


The pairing advanced from 15th in class at the start of the third round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship to knocking on the door of a top-five finish in a frantic and fraught 100-minute race around the Long Beach Street Circuit – the team’s first trip to the historic California circuit.


The gain of nine positions put a bow on a strong weekend for the AWA duo with Bell setting the fastest GTD time in Friday’s opening practice – the first for the first-year AWA and Corvette partnership.


Fidani began Saturday 15th in class and drove the first 40 minutes for his first career action at Long Beach. He gained a position at the start and two more by the race’s first full-course yellow with just 12 minutes running. Despite falling back a couple of spots, Fidani’s laptimes continued to drop once the race went green again.


The Corvette picked up another spot on the restart, and Fidani made AWA’s first pit stop just shy of the 40-minute mark. Bell rejoined in 14th and was immediately in the thick of a fight. He was hit from behind on his out-lap but managed to carry on and advance to 11th only a couple of laps later.


Heads-up driving by Bell got the AWA Corvette firmly into the top-10 as the final turn on the Long Beach circuit was blocked by traffic and stalled cars. He came to a stop momentarily but drove through the chaos and into ninth place. Bell picked up three more spots to sixth before the race’s third and final full-course yellow with 15 minutes remaining bunched up the GTD field.


The lead pack of six cars were single-file during the final eight minutes with the Corvette on the tail of the top-five. Bell and the Z06 GT3.R made solid gains through the corners and twisty parts of the circuit, which is notoriously difficult to make a pass. Nevertheless, the end result of sixth adds to the momentum heading into the team’s next race.


AWA and the Corvette Z06 GT3.R program – including the two GTD PRO entries from Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports – will compete next in the Motul Course de Monterey from WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday, May 12.


OREY FIDANI, NO. 13 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: "The race went really well based from where we started. The car was mega and easy to drive. We got up to sixth, and we'll take that. I'm really happy with the finish from where we started from."


MATT BELL, NO. 13 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: “I'm really happy with that result. Our first effort at Long Beach as a team and pulling a top-six out of the bag is pretty strong. It was a great effort by the team. We executed the pit stop really well and jumped some cars. Unfortunately on cold tires on the out-lap, I gave a couple of those up. There was some rough racing from competitors but fair in the end, and I managed to get them back later on. The Corvette was absolutely glued to the track. I think we were the best car around the corners. We were lacking just a little bit of straight-line speed to challenge those top-five guys. But I'm really proud of the effort this week. It's definitely our cleanest and best week in the AWA Corvette era. A big thanks to the team, big thanks to Corvette, General Motors and Pratt Miller. We'll keep rolling into Laguna Seca."


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CORVETTE RACING AT IMOLA: Points for Both TF Sport Corvettes

Weather main factor in seventh-, eighth-place finishes in wild Six Hours of Imola
 

IMOLA, Italy (April 21, 2024) – TF Sport’s two Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.Rs finished in points-paying positions Sunday with seventh- and eighth-place LMTGT3 finishes in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s Six Hours of Imola.


It marked the second race in the FIA WEC for the first-year Corvette GT3 car and first trip to Imola for the Corvette program. In the end, the results were positive: TF Sport was one of two teams in the class to have both its cars finish in the top-10, and Chevrolet was one of two manufacturers to have multiple entries finish eighth or better.


Charlie Eastwood, Tom Van Rompuy and Rui Andrade led the way for TF Sport with a seventh-place finish in the No. 81 Corvette Z06 GT3.R, one spot ahead of the No. 82 Corvette of Daniel Juncadella, Hiro Koizumi and Sebastien Baud.


The race featured seven full-course yellow periods – including two in the opening 40 minutes – and two safety car periods. There was chaos at the start with Van Rompuy getting the better of it by gaining four spots in his first two laps. He and Koizumi, who ran as high as ninth after starting 13th, drove nearly two hours at the start to firmly put both Corvettes inside the top-10 and eligible for points.


Andrade and Baud were up next, although they had the worst of changing weather conditions just past the halfway point. Both kept their Z06 GT3.Rs on track throughout their stints in the challenging conditions – other teams weren’t as fortunate – before TF Sport elected to be the first LMGT3 team to opt for wet-weather tires. The team made the switch with two hours to go as Eastwood and Juncadella got in their respective Corvettes. Unfortunately the high level of grip in the track meant laptimes didn’t significantly differ between those cars that changed to wet tires and those who stayed on warm slick tires.


The two Corvettes switched back to dry tires just outside the final hour but race traffic and a still-wet surface made challenging for the top-five too much to overcome.


TF Sport’s next race in the FIA WEC is the Six Hours of Spa on Saturday, May 11.


CHARLIE EASTWOOD, NO. 81 TF SPORT CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: “It was a very interesting race. Weather played a massive role in it. The TF guys did a great job in making the right calls. The track has such high grip that even when the guys were on slicks, they were still able to generate a lot of grip and temperature when we were on the wets. It balanced out basically the same although I probably had a nicer experience than they did. All in all, P7 in the end. Not what we want but it was a pretty solid race on our side. We know what we need to get closer to the front.”


TOM VAN ROMPUY, NO. 81 TF SPORT CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: "It was quite a hectic start of the race. A couple of GTs touched each other but I managed to surf through all the dangers and pick up three positions on the first lap. On the second lap, I think I found another position. We had a really good first and second stint with no issues. I really also tried to pay attention to track limits and tried to save a bit on the car in case we needed to fight later on. So we have a really good feeling."


RUI ANDRADE, NO. 81 TF SPORT CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R:  "It was definitely difficult to the end. As a driver getting out soon, you have to give the team good information. It was so difficult because half the track was completely wet and half the track was completely dry. Those were very stressful last few moments in trying to decide what was the right tire to be on. We decided to go on wets but it was definitely tricky either way."


DANI JUNCADELLA, NO. 82 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: “It was a bit of a wild race for sure. It’s a shame. We were looking very strong in the mixed conditions when the track was very difficult. I made up a lot of ground. We gambled on the strategy with an hour to go because we saw a car in the gravel and I pitted with 57 minutes left, and normally a stint is 45 minutes. So I had to cruise to the end and saved a lot of fuel to make it to the finish. It didn’t pay off this time, but it was good fun out there in these conditions. I enjoyed it and enjoyed driving the Corvette again.”


SEBASTIEN BAUD, NO. 82 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: "It was a crazy race. Our start with Hiro wasn't too bad and we ran in the top-10. I felt really good in the first stint and I was happy with the car because I was fast. In my second stint, I was on the same tires with a full tank. It was much more difficult to push and I lost a little more time compared to my first stint. The feeling was very different because the car wasn't the same driving with a full tank. Toward the end, we had a lot of rain in the last two corners but the first sector was dry. I had a little spin in the safety car queue but did not lose anything. But still it is not a mistake a good driver should make. I will continue to work with my engineer and my teammates to continue improving for the next race."


Ryan Smith
Judy Kouba Dominick



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