Christian Hohenadel (left)...
Christian Hohenadel (left) and Daniel Keliwitz secured the 2010 FIA GT3 Drivers Championship with Second and First Place finishes in Algarve, Portugal. Photo by DPPI
Amazingly, Keliwitz put his overweight No. 101 Corvette on the pole by 0.153 seconds ahead of an Audi R8. Graff Racing brought one car (No. 16) and qualified eighth. The other Callaway entry, No. 100, was 21st on the grid. Two Porsches passed Keliwitz at the start, pushing the Corvette down to third position. Keliwitz maintained that spot until the 11th lap, when he overtook the No. 61 Porsche for second place. On lap 18 Keliwitz pitted and handed No. 101 over to Hohenadel. Hohenadel returned in second and held this position through the finish, crossing the line 5.849 seconds behind the No. 61 Porsche. This added another 18 Drivers Championship points to the Callaway team's total. At this point, the No. 16 Graff Racing Corvette drivers were the only team with a mathematical chance of overtaking the Callaway drivers in the championship battle.
Round 10: An Audi R8 and a Ford GT captured the first two starting spots for Round 10. Hohenadel was eighth, and the No. 100 Callaway Corvette, driven by Marius Ritskes and Dennis Retera, was ninth. The No. 16 Graff Vette of Mike Parisy and Joakim Lambotte was 16th. The Callaway team knew tires were going to be a problem because of the hot Algarve weather. The team decided to be conservative, and Hohenadel cruised around the track in eighth until he pitted on lap 16. After taking over, Keliwitz pushed the car to third position on lap 25. Shortly after that, the No. 16 Graff car slid into the gravel trap and was out of the race. If the No. 101 Corvette finished third or higher, the 2010 Drivers Championship would be secure. Instead, the team decided to go for the victory. On lap 28 Keliwitz passed the No. 61 Porsche to take the lead, which he held to the finish. The other Callaway Corvette finished in Eighth position. The jubilant Callaway team celebrated winning the Drivers Championship, but the Team Championship battle was still up for grabs with two races remaining.
Zolder, Belgium—Rounds 11 and 12
The historic Zolder racetrack is located one hour east of the city of Antwerp. The 4.011km (2.492mi) track opened in 1925 and is very hard on brakes. Following its excellent performance at Algarve, the No. 101 Corvette continued to carry its 40 kg (88 pounds) of ballast.
Round 11: Hohenadel qualified fifth, 0.729 seconds behind the pole-position Ford GT. The extra weight was playing havoc with the Corvette's brakes. After a clean start, Hohenadel moved to third position behind the leading Ford and an Audi R8. On lap eight the No. 100 Corvette spun into the gravel trap and was out of the race. The No. 101 car pitted on lap 17, but Keliwitz was blocked by an Audi while trying to leave his pit stall. This lost the team several valuable seconds. Keliwitz returned in sixth, but was losing ground because of overheated brakes and tires. He crossed the line in Ninth—not good enough to secure the Team Championship. The rival Pro-Speed Porsches finished Second and Sixth, which tightened the championship battle.
Round 12: Keliwitz started in ninth position and moved up to eighth shortly after the green flag fell. He pitted on lap 16, and co-driver Hohenadel returned to the race in sixth position. By lap 29 of the 37-lap race, Hohenadel had put the No. 101 car into third. A Third Place finish would have secured the Team Championship for Callaway Competition, but on the next lap, the car's right front brake disc exploded, putting it out of the race. The ProSpeed 911s finished First and Fifth, which put the Porsche team 10 points ahead of Callaway and gave the Germans the Team Championship. It wasn't the dual-title finish the Corvette contingent had hoped for, but rest assured they'll be back next year with another competitive GT3 effort.