BALTIMORE, Sept. 2, 2011 – A late start and a scant 75 minutes of practice meant that the learning curve for the American Le Mans Series Baltimore Grand Prix was a steep one. Jan Magnussen and Tommy Milner proved to be fast learners when they qualified Corvette Racing’s twin Compuware C6.Rs second and fourth respectively for Saturday’s two-hour street race through downtown Baltimore.
Magnussen was quickest in the abbreviated final practice session, and then turned his fastest lap at 1:31.950 (79.869 mph) in the No. 4 Corvette C6.R on his fifth qualifying lap on the 2.04-mile, 12-turn temporary street circuit. Milner turned a time of 1:32.224 (79.632 mph) on his fourth lap, the fifth quickest in GT. The No. 45 Porsche of Patrick Long, which was third on the provisional qualifying list, was subsequently excluded for “unjustifiable risk,” moving the No. 3 Corvette up to fourth on the GT grid. The No. 55 BMW M3 GT of Dirk Werner was the fastest qualifier in the category at 1:31.362 (80.384 mph).
“We didn’t have a lot of time to make changes or to find a good rhythm, so I’m very pleased with the work that the Corvette Racing engineers did,” Magnussen said. “All in all, I’m happy with the car. Now we have to work with the extra bit of data we have, and I think there is more speed to come. The walls get closer and closer the harder you push – that’s all part of it.
“There are some massive bumps out there, and the cars are taking a beating worse than Sebring,” Magnussen added. “It’s still good fun to drive this circuit, and you’re really feel that you’re racing in the heart of the city with the tall buildings all around. It’s cool, and I enjoy it.”
Milner agreed: “I’m really happy with the car here, no complaints. With so little track time, I’m sure we can make the car a little better here and there, but it’s good just to get some laps in and get comfortable with the track.
“I had a qualifying lap that would have been quicker, but I got into Turn 10 a little wide in the dirty part of the track and had a big, big moment. I was basically drifting through the turn!
“The track’s fun to drive and it will race well, too,” Milner predicted. “There are two good passing spots. It’s going to be tough to pass in GT because everyone is so close, but everything is slow enough that you can rub some fenders and make things happen. I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow.”
The two-hour Baltimore Grand Prix will start at 4:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, September 3. Live video coverage will be available on ESPN3.com in the U.S. and americanlemans.com for international users. ABC will televise the Baltimore Grand Prix on Sunday, September 4, at 4 p.m. ET.
Baltimore Grand Prix GT Qualifying (Top 10):
1. 55 Auberlen/Werner, BMW M3 GT, 1:31.362
2. 4 Gavin/Magnussen, Corvette C6.R, 1:31.950
3. 56 Mueller/Hand, BMW M3 GT, 1:32.010
4. 3 Beretta/Milner, Corvette C6.R, 1:32.224
5. 17 Henzler/Sellers, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 1:32.772
6. 01 Sharp/van Overbeek, Ferrari F458 Italia, 1:34.151
7. 99 Junqueira/Wilden, Jaguar XKR, 1:34.360
8. 48 Miller/Maasen, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 1:34.609
9. 98 Jones/Moran, Jaguar XKR, 1:35.911
10. 02 Brown/Cosmo, Ferrari F458 Italia, 1:38.674
© RIF | Corvette Racing