Through the Esses - Corvette Coming To GT2 In 2008  Part 2  Lou Gigliotti
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© Andrew S. Hartwell

When the new Riley Technologies-built Chevrolet Corvette debuts in the ALMS GT2 class at the Sebring 12 Hours next March, it will be a birthing supervised by two of auto racings finest version of a midwife: Bill Riley and Lou Gigliotti. Riley's company is building two new cars and Gigliotti's LG Motorsports team will be campaigning them in search of a season championship.

It would seem the racing stork couldn't have dropped off this set of twins to better parents.

Riley Technologies has produced some of the most enduring and successful race cars ever made. We refer, of course, to the R&S MKIII World Sports Car and the MKXI Daytona Prototypes, and the many Trans-Am cars to come out of their shops. For 2008, all that engineering prowess will be working hand in hand with one of the most durable and talented racers and race teams to ever compete in a sportscar series. Gigliotti's LG Motorsports team has scored victory time and again - 22 times in all - in the ultra-competitive SPEED World Challenge Series. And when the team went Trans-Am racing for a few years, they managed to perform quite admirably then too.

In part one of this two part column, we talked with Bill Riley about the reasons he decided to build a GT2 world car'. We next talked with Lou Gigliotti, the veteran racer who had no problem giving us his reasons for entering the ALMS next season.

Next year we are just running in the ALMS. I have wanted to run in the ALMS for some time as I see it as a step up. It is always hard to find teammates that want to do that, and it is very hard to find a company like Riley that is interested in building a car specifically engineered to compete in a series like this.

As for the question of entering GT1 versus GT2, I think the base Corvette the way it is, and the way the rules are, allows for a much easier entry into GT2. Carbon fiber Brakes and all the other expensive modifications that they allow in the GT1 class, make it almost impossible to go that route as an independent. An independent team just could not race in GT1 and compete with the factory team.

"We were thinking we wanted to move out of the SPEED WC series for some time now. Let me first say that I admit I can be a pretty stubborn guy now and then. But one thing that I am always stubborn about is fairness. One of the things we didn't like about that series was the arbitrary weight penalty imposed on us last year. After just 2 wins out of the first 6 races in 06 we had a 190 pound weight penalty added to our Corvette. That just didn't make sense. So we are moving on and up.

"I ran 110 races in that series - going back to 1990 with a few years out to run in Trans-Am - with 22 wins and 26 poles. I'm confident I can say they weren't all by mistake!

"But I don't want to linger in the past, I want to move forward and I couldn't be more excited about running in the ALMS. I think they have honed their version of an equalization formula over years of running the 24 Hours of Le Mans and that should make it as fair as possible for every team out there.

When the twin LGM Corvettes begin the 2008 season, Gigliotti will be aboard the number 28 car and his partner, Doug Peterson will be in the number 49 mount. Co-drivers have not yet been finalized for the season. Gigliotti expects to firm up those deals in the near future.

Doug Peterson won the 2004 SCCA Formula Mazda championship at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs. He has won in SCCA and he raced in the pro Mazda series as well, but that series is designed for the 150 pound kids where Doug is a 200 pound adult. He just kind of outgrew that series and wanted to get into sportscars. He and I have been racing together for two years now. He was on the pole at Sebring this year. I qualified third so I told him I wanted to protest his car!

Doug owns a company called Three Dimensional Services, out of Detroit. He works with the big three automakers