For Release: April 17, 2003, 9 a.m. ET
New C5-R Corvette Ready for 24 Hours of Le Mans: Latest Version of American Icon Boasts a Patriotic Livery and Major Technological Advancements
DETROIT - Fresh from a dominating victory at The 12 Hours of Sebring in March, the General Motors Chevrolet Corvette Racing team returns to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June with two all-new race cars to defend their GTS title. Already the most successful Corvette in history, the C5-R is the two-time defending GTS class champion at the legendary Le Sarthe circuit and in the American Le Mans Series.
"We have worked hard to improve our Corvette C5-Rs and this latest version is our best yet," said Doug Fehan, GM's program manager for Corvette Racing. "First and foremost is our new engine intake system, which we found in our race at Sebring to be very good on power with improved driveability and fuel efficiency. We're also running a new sequential gearbox and an updated transaxle, which will give us greater flexibility to tailor our driveline to Le Mans and other circuits throughout the year."
A new red, white and blue livery for both cars will provide a patriotic canvas for the team's new car numbers, #50 and #53, which celebrate the marque's reign of 50 years since 1953 as America's sports car icon.
"There's nothing like driving a Chevrolet to victory," said Johnny O'Connell, driver of the #53 Corvette C5-R and winner of The 12 Hours of Sebring in March. "And there will be nothing sweeter than claiming a victory at Le Mans in our new red, white and blue Corvette!"
With 24 straight hours of racing against tough competition from three Ferrari 550 Maranellos, two Saleen S7Rs and others in the GTS class, Corvette Racing will rely on their time-tested machinery, efficient pit work and an experienced driver lineup in hopes of capturing three Le Mans victories in a row. This year's driver lineup:
The new C5-Rs will make their international debut at Le Mans Open Test weekend in early May, which is a precursor to the 24-hour race in June.
General Motors (NYSE: GM), the world's largest vehicle manufacturer, designs, builds and markets cars and trucks worldwide, and has been the global automotive sales leader since 1931. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.