We should note here that the Corvette team is at a disadvantage during refueling. Due to the poorer fuel mileage of the environmentally friendly cellulosic E85 used in the C6.R, it takes more fuel to cover the same distance as a car running on gasoline. The ALMS has attempted to address this disparity by allowing E85-fueled cars like the Corvette to carry 110 liters of fuel, as opposed to the mandated 90 liters for gas cars. However, the refueling rigs used by the Corvette team (and mandated by the ALMS) are incapable of dispensing 110 liters of E85 as quickly as the other teams can deliver 90 liters of gas. The result is that it takes the Corvette team longer to accomplish a complete refueling procedure. And since ALMS rules dictate that the crew cannot touch the car for a tire change until refueling is complete, the Corvettes' pit stops are effectively legislated to be longer. This unfair advantage allowed the Risi Ferrari to take over the class lead during the first pit session at Mosport.
Other than that, the cars picked up where they left off, circulating the Canadian circuit in tight formation. Though Beretta was finally able to pass Ferrari driver Pierre Kaffer, he couldn't put any meaningful distance between the two cars. Magnussen, meanwhile, was trying to figure out how to put his Corvette back into the mix. Mosport offers some pretty quick twists and bends, along with a back straight amenable to extended applications of full throttle. So while there are plenty of opportunities to pass, the problem is finding a logical place to do it without pushing another car off the track. Magnussen could only be patient and wait for an opening.
Because the ALMS field is made up of three different classes of cars, constant passing is the rule of the day. At one point, the No. 37 LMP1 prototype came up on the dueling pair of Kaffer and Beretta and passed them both. Unfortunately the move pushed Beretta off the racing line and into the "marbles" (spent rubber piled up on the outside of the racing surface), causing him to lose traction and skid off course. This bobble gave Kaffer a perfect opening to regain the lead, with Magnussen tucking in right behind him.
Coming in for the last pit stop, the Corvette only needed about 10 liters of fuel, allowing for an abbreviated refueling exercise. This allowed the Dan Binks-led crew to get Magnussen back out ahead of the Ferrari. Kaffer, trying to take advantage of his car's warm tires, tried hard to pass Magnussen, who was defending on cold rubber. Magnussen prevailed in a side-by-side, fender-rubbing Turn 3 struggle and squeaked out ahead of the Risi car.
The race fell to the checkers with Magnussen prevailing despite a few last-lap lunges by the Ferrari. Kaffer took Second, while Beretta filled out the podium with a well-driven-albeit slightly disappointing-Third. The Corvettes also picked up the Green Challenge win for the cars completing the most laps, at the fastest pace, while delivering the smallest carbon footprint.
As Magnussen crossed the finish line, the Corvette team erupted into joyous celebration at its first victory in GT2. The cars ran flawlessly, the drivers couldn't have piloted a better race, and the crews gave a command performance. Next up is Petit Le Mans-just the type of endurance battle the GM team has been training for-and winning at-for 10 years. Now that the rest of the GT2 field knows what to expect from the new Corvettes, things should be even more exciting.-GPJ