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24h Le Mans | Short preparation, intense race and chequered flag!
Monday, 20 June 2016 07:27

ProSpeed LeMans24h 2016 Corvette57 TeamLE MANS (FRA) - ProSpeed Competition and Team AAI saw the chequered flag of this 84th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans which in itself is an enormous performance. Looking back the team only received the brand new Corvette C7.R a mere two weeks ago, and following a good test day after the administrative controls and scrutineering headed off for the centre of Le Mans. Under the leadership of the four times winner in the Le Mans GT Class Johnny O’Connell, Mark Patterson (USA) and Oliver Bryant (GBR), jointly worked off their race weekend. It was a hellish weekend, with rotten weather, a gruelling competition, but on the other hand a fabulous joy at the finish. However once again the Belgian ProSpeed Competition have shown their potential in motorsport at the highest level.

ProSpeed LeMans24h 2016 Corvette57 2The race weekend kicked off with the scrutineering and the administrative controls on Monday morning, whereas the action on the track started off on Wednesday morning. This was to be the only dry moment throughout the entire practice and qualifying sessions that lasted until Thursday midnight. The Corvette bearing the colours of Team AAI and ProSpeed Competition had no problem in completing the timed laps and qualified for the race that would start on the Saturday at 15.00 hrs. But even then the water miseries were not over. For the first 45 minutes of the race Johnny O’Connell found himself lapping at the pace of the safety car, something unseen before in this legendary French race. Once released the highly experienced American brought the car up into third place in the LM GTE category, after which the two other drivers kept the car in the first half of the rankings. Unfortunately, Mark Patterson twice encountered another side of racing.
Notwithstanding regular stints, the American gentleman twice lost time in the sand trap on Saturday and later also on the Sunday morning, whereby some nineteen laps were lost. This was the difference between a top-5 and a ninth place at the finish of the 84th edition of the most gruelling race in the world.

Rudi Penders (ProSpeed Competition Team principal)

ProSpeed LeMans24h 2016 Corvette57 4“The result in itself is perhaps not something we had hoped for and at a given moment had expected. But then that’s part and parcel of racing. On the other hand, I can proudly look upon the team that actually faced an impossible assignment and still brought it to a perfect ending. The Corvette had only just arrived in Belgium when we needed to head off for Le Mans. There was actually far too little time and yet we still managed to complete a technically flawless run. In itself this is a victory for the entire team. After six seasons with Porsche, to bring a new car through to the finish in such a short span of time, is and remains a pretty strong show of hands.”

Mark Patterson (Driver – Team AAI #57 Corvette)

ProSpeed LeMans24h 2016 Corvette57 5“In truth, those errors are part and parcel of such a mythical race, it’s obviously a great pity, but on the other hand we fought back and finished in an exceptionally competitive field, because otherwise a top-5 would have been on the books. I take my hat off to my teammates and the entire team!”

 

 

Oliver Bryant (Driver – Team AAI #57 Corvette)

ProSpeed LeMans24h 2016 Corvette57 3“I quite simply experienced a brilliant week, from A to Z. As we say in English, the race was ‘amazing’. From start to finish it was pure enjoyment. Obviously had it not been for the race incidents a result in the top-5 could well have been achievable, but we are a team and sometimes you win as a team and sometimes you lose as a team. Everyone here performed one hundred percent throughout the entire week and there’s not much more to add to that.”

Johnny O’Connell (Driver - #57 Team AAI Corvette)

ProSpeed LeMans24h 2016 Corvette57 1It was perhaps the American who came out with the most concise remark on twitter: “The moment you know that you can no longer win, it becomes a question to give your utmost and go full out for your team!”

 

 

 

INFORMATION

Race 24 Hours of Le Mans – Round 3 
Championship FIA World Endurance Championship
Date June 18th & 19th 2016
Car #57 Corvette CR.7
Crew Johnny O’Connell (USA – 1963)
Mark Patterson (USA – 1980)
Oliver Bryant (GBR – 1980) 
Partners Duncan Taylor Artisanal – Jazz - Buddy Club – CCH - Asset Advantage
Team Partners Corvette Racing – Pagid – Facom – Air Liquide - Michelin


LM GTE Am class

Race results

1 Scuderia Corsa - Sweedler-Bell-Segal - Ferrari 458 Italia - 331 laps
2 AF Corse - Perrodo-Collard-Aguas - Ferrari 458 Italia - @ 2.54
3 AbuDhabi-Proton - AlQubaisi-Heinemeier-Long - Porsche 911 RSR +1 lap
4 Clearwater Racing - Mok-Sawa-Bell - Ferrari 458 Italia +2 laps
5 Gulf Racing - Wainwright-Carroll-Barker - Porsche 911 RSR +3 laps
6 Formula Racing - Laursen-Mac-Nielsen - Ferrari 458 Italia +12 laps
7 Aston Martin Racing - Howard-Griffin-Hirsch - Aston Martin V8 Vant. +13 laps
8 Larbre Competition - Yamagishi-Ragues-Belloc - Corvette C7.R +15 laps
9 Team AAI - C’Connell-Bryant-Patterson - Corvette C7.R +25 laps

13 entrants – 11 classified

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