When the Corvette Racing Team competes this Saturday in the Utah Grand Prix at Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City, Utah, it will be the final dress rehearsal for the team’s assault on the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The team will be focusing on an evaluation of Michelin tires and the new GM air conditioning system that they will use in France, so this race will be a good test before they leave.
Although they contrast geographically and culturally, Salt Lake City and Le Mans are both home to impressive racing facilities. And after three consecutive races in the tight confines of concrete-lined street circuits, Corvette Racing’s drivers are eager to return to the wide-open spaces of the 24-turn, 4.5-mile Miller Motorsports Park for the fifth round of the American Le Mans Series. The track is the longest road course in America, and its flat, smooth asphalt replicates the conditions that Corvette Racing will encounter on the immense 8.5-mile Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans on June 16-17.
"Parts of the track are very similar to Le Mans," observed GT1 co-champion Oliver Gavin, driver of the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R. "Miller Motorsports Park doesn’t have the same straight-line speed and heavy braking that we experience at Le Mans, but its racing surface is just as smooth and the circuit has elements that remind me of the Dunlop chicane and the Esses in Le Mans. I truly enjoyed driving the track … It has a good combination of bends. In fact, there are so many turns and so few reference points that at first you wonder which way the track goes. It’s one circuit where you really need a map on the steering wheel to remember which way to turn!"
The 2-hour, 45-minute race on the 4.5-mile road course will begin at 5 p.m. local time (7 p.m. EDT) and be featured live on XM Radio. It will be televised tape-delayed by CBS Sports on Sunday, May 20, from 1-3 p.m. EDT.