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2003


2003 THREE-TIME

2 0 0 3 CHAMP IONS Contents A Tough Challenge Brings Out Our Best . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Winning Start – Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Shooting for a Three-Peat – Le Mans Test Day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Both on the Podium … Not at the Top – 24 Hours of Le Mans . . . . . . . . . 12 Corvettes Roar Back – Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Superb at Sonoma – Infineon Grand Prix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Almost Like Clockwork – Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Cliffhanger – Toronto Grand Prix of Mosport . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 One Lap Too Many – Road America 500 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Mystery Unsolved – Fry’s Electronics Sports Car Championships . . . . . 30 The Walls Won – Grand Prix Americas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Three-Time Champions – Petit Le Mans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Tribute to Herb Fishel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Pratt & Miller: People and Technology Creating Winners . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Good Times, Fun Memories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 The Photographers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Robin’s Page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Thanks To Our Sponsors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Photos courtesy of Peter and Gayle Brock, John Brooks, Richard Dole, Gregory Johnson, Robert Mochernuk, David Noels, Robin Pratt, Richard Prince. Printed with permission. Three-Time Champions, copyright © 2003 Pratt & Miller Engineering & Fabrication, Inc. All rights reserved. Pratt & Miller Engineering & Fabrication, Inc. 29600 William K Smith Drive, New Hudson, MI 48165 Phone: 248-446-9800 Fax: 248-446-9020 www.prattmiller.com


A TOUGH CHALLENGE BRINGS OUT OUR BEST hings are moving fast; it’s a dynamic, exciting time at Pratt & Miller Engineering. Our Corvette team has won three consecutive GTS Team and Manufacturer championships in the American Le Mans Series. All of us can be tremendously proud of this accomplishment. It has taken a lot of hard work … nothing new there, and that won’t change. The competition is fierce, and looks like it will keep coming on strong. But we’re the kind of people who love a tough challenge; it brings out the best in us, so bring it on. Our three championship years have seen the company go through a lot of growth — more than we expected just a couple of years ago. We have really “blossomed” with new facilities, new capabilities, and new programs, such as the Cadillac CTS-VR development and our Corvette customer project for the Selleslagh Racing team in Belgium. Our expansion and success are due to the outstanding work by all the people in this book, including our engineers in the Mooresville, N.C., operation. They don’t get much of the limelight, but they have made a huge addition to our engineering capability. The growth will continue, because we have a dedicated group of people, a great track record and a lot to offer our customers. That said, we also really appreciate the confidence that GM and our other customers have in us and in our ability to get the job done right. Finally, a Pratt & Miller salute to Herb Fishel. There is a tribute to this giant of motorsports later in this book. But Herb, we just want to say, you may be retired, but don’t be a stranger. — Jim Miller and Gary Pratt

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SEBRING

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Sebring International Raceway 3.7 miles, 5.95 km Sebring, Florida

MOBIL 1 12 HOURS OF SEBRING March. 15, 2003 Qualifying: 1st GTS: #4 Corvette C5-R, Oliver Gavin, 111.910 mph (record) 2nd GTS: #3 Corvette C5-R, Johnny O’Connell, 111.504 mph Race: 1st GTS: #3 Corvette C5-R, Ron Fellows, Johnny O’Connell, Franck Freon, 332 laps 3rd GTS: #4 Corvette C5-R, Oliver Gavin, Kelly Collins, Andy Pilgrim, 283 laps

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Winning Start CORVETTES FIRST AND THIRD AT SEBRING

n the 51st running of the 12 Hours of Sebring, there looked to be a battleroyal shaping up between the Pratt & Miller Corvettes and a pair of Prodrive Ferrari 550 Maranellos. In the preliminary practice sessions, these four cars swapped fast times around so often it was hard to tell who might have the hot setup.

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CORVETTE SPEED When it came to qualifying, however, the Corvettes showed they had found some extra speed over the winter, relegating the Prodrive cars to third and fourth in the GTS starting order. Oliver Gavin took pole position in the number4 Corvette, with Johnny O’Connell second in the number-3 car. Both cars were under Ron Fellows’ three-year-old qualifying record, and Gavin’s pole time (1m59.024s) bettered the old mark by a little over half a second. “I enjoy this track because it seems to reward you when you start pushing hard,” said Gavin after his record-setting run “Over the winter Pratt & Miller has been working hard on performance gains, and also making the cars even more bullet-proof. I think today is proof that the work has paid off. Even so, the Prodrive cars are going to be extremely difficult to beat.”


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2003 2003 T H R E E - T I M E

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THE TEAM

TC Jim Miller

TC Gary Pratt

TC Dan Binks

TC Ray Gongla

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SEBRING

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CLOSE FIGHT, BUT NOT FOR LONG The race started at 10:30 Saturday morning, and in the early going the expected Corvette-Ferrari battle was fierce. The lead switched back and forth several times during the first two driving stints. But at about the two-hour mark the first crack appeared in the Ferraris’ reliability armor, when one of the cars made a long stop for a cooling problem. About a half-hour later the other Prodrive car spent considerable time in the pits while its crew worked on the brakes. The Prodrive team never recovered those setbacks, which elevated the number-3 Corvette to second in GTS. For the next eight hours the Corvettes ran first and second, holding a lead of several laps over their closest pursuers. Eventually one of the Ferraris worked its way back to third place, but four laps back was a close as it got before retiring with mechanical problems with a little over three hours to go. The other Prodrive car inherited third, but it was considerably farther behind. LOOKING GOOD, UNTIL… Just when things were looking hopeful for a Corvette 1-2 finish, there was a demonstration of how quickly and unexpectedly fortunes can turn. The drive shaft broke on the number-4 car. “We were leading and things were looking pretty good,” Gavin explained. “Then, just at the end of the front straight, it started vibrating for a second and then I heard a loud bang! The Sebring track is very hard on race cars, but I never expected a drive shaft would cause us to retire. It’s just frustrating after leading for so long.”

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2003 2003 T H R E E - T I M E

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2003 2003 T H R E E - T I M E

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THE TEAM

TC Ron Fellows

TC Johnny O’Connell

TC Oliver Gavin

TC Kelly Collins

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SEBRING

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With the number-4 Corvette sidelined, Fellows, O’Connell and Freon took the lead and eventually the remaining Prodrive Ferrari moved into second place. There were very few caution periods and attrition was high on the tough old Sebring track. Even though they were not running for most of the last two hours, Gavin, Collins and Pilgrim still wound up third in GTS. “This is a tough track and the key is durability,” commented Fellows after his second consecutive Sebring win. “Our guys prepared great cars and it was just unfortunate what happened to Oliver. I was behind him when he pulled off and they told us over the radio what the problem was. After that you tend to shift a little easier and back down the pace a bit.”

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The number-3 Corvette completed 15 more laps than in its 2002 victory run, and finished one position higher in the overall order (eighth). It was O’Connell’s fifth career win at Sebring, and he has developed a special liking for the historic circuit. “Once you win at a track you fall in love with it,” Johnny said. “This is a place where the car finds where it wants to run. You have to get your ego out of the lap time, get your head into winning, and run the car where it wants to run. “We are part of a great team; we were quick and consistent, and we had a trouble-free run,” O’Connell added. “The racing gods smiled on us again.”


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2003 2003 T H R E E - T I M E

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THE TEAM

TC Franck Freon

TC Andy Pilgrim

TC Doug Louth

TC Lynn Bishop

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Shooting For A Three-Peat

TOUR T E S T / I TA LY MANS LE

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2003 2003 T H R E E - T I M E

24 HOURS OF LE MANS TEST DAY LE MANS, FRANCE MAY 4, 2003 orvette Racing returned to the Sarthe circuit in north-west France, on a mission to win the team’s third consecutive 24 Hours of Le Mans. They brought two new Corvette C5-Rs, accompanied by crews and drivers now seasoned and experienced in the French classic. “The drivers liked the new cars,” said Gary Pratt, team manager. “They were especially happy with the handling and braking. We made some gains in straight-line speed, but we’re not up to the Ferraris yet. We’ve had pretty good luck and good dependability the past two years, but there’s no guarantee we’ll have it this time. We just have to come well prepared and do the best we possibly can.”

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800 MILES IN 8 HOURS Dan Binks, crew chief of the number-53 Corvette driven by Ron Fellows, Johnny O’Connell and Franck Freon, said their car put in a smooth, solid session, covering some 800 miles during the eight hours the track was open. “We got in a lot of scientific testing,” said Binks, “and also were able to work on some small comfort things that will help the drivers.” An engine had to be replaced in the number-50 Corvette driven by Oliver Gavin, Kelly Collins and Andy Pilgrim. “The crew did a great hurry-up change and we were back on the track in an hour,” said Ray Gongla, crew chief. “We got a good test in. We found a tire that will help us out in the race, because it has better longevity. The new cars felt better in the corners, and we’re pleased with the new gearbox.”


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2003 2003 T H R E E - T I M E

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Joe Kiefer

Steve Cole

Dr. Dave Robinson

Frank Parker

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LE

MANS

PRATT & MILLER ENGINEERING

Circuit de la Sarthe 8.48 miles, 13.65 km Le Mans, France

24 HOURS OF LE MANS June 14-15, 2003 Qualifying: 3rd GTS: #50 Corvette C5-R, Oliver Gavin, 3m55.613s 5th GTS: #53 Corvette C5-R, Ron Fellows, 3m58.941s Race: 2nd GTS: #50 Corvette C5-R, Oliver Gavin, Kelly Collins, Andy Pilgrim, 326 laps 3rd GTS: #53 Corvette C5-R, Ron Fellows, Johnny O’Connell, Franck Freon, 326 laps

Both on the Podium…Not at the Top 2-3 FINISH ENDS VICTORY STREAK AT LE MANS he numbers were different and the colors were different, but everybody at Corvette Racing was working hard to be sure the results would be the same in the 2003 24 Hours of Le Mans. A third consecutive GTS victory in the endurance racing classic would be the icing on Corvette’s 50th birthday cake. That was the reason for the number change — 50 for Corvette’s 50th anniversary, and 53 for the car’s first year of production. The new color scheme, predominantly blue, with red and white accents, resulted in the Corvettes, always popular with the French fans, being dubbed “Les Bleus.”

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PRATT & MILLER ENGINEERING

2003 2003 T H R E E - T I M E

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THE TEAM

TC David James

TC Gary Young

TC Mike Atkins

TC Tom Mikrut

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LE

MANS

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But a three-peat was not to be. Lady luck is especially fickle in long-distance racing, and after two virtually trouble-free races in ’01 and ’02, both Corvettes were forced to make extended stops for repairs. Those setbacks gave the Prodrive Ferrari 550 Maranello, driven by Thomas Enge, Peter Kox and Jamie Davies, an insurmountable lead. “It’s pretty simple; you need a clean run to win a race like this,” said Gary Pratt, Corvette Racing’s team manager. “We didn’t, and one of the Ferraris did.”

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WE KNOW HOW TO WIN The qualifying sessions confirmed what everybody already knew: the Ferrari 550s, with their V12, dual-overhead-cam engines, have a big straight-line

speed advantage. “Their top speed on the Mulsanne straight is about 10 miles an hour faster than ours,” said Pratt. “It translates to about three seconds a lap just on top speed, and that’s tough to make up with braking and cornering.” When the qualifying sessions ended, the number 50 Corvette was third in GTS and the 53 car was fifth. The two Prodrive Ferraris were first and second, and another Ferrari 550 was fourth. Gary Pratt’s estimate on the straight-line speed advantage proved to be accurate: the top-qualifying Ferrari’s lap time was some 2.3 seconds faster than Gavin’s best in the number-50 Corvette. “I was quite happy with my time,” Gavin said of his 3:55.613 qualifying run. “The best part is, we’ve gained a couple of miles an hour on the straights since the test weekend in May, which proves the crews have been working really hard and it paid off.”


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2003 2003 T H R E E - T I M E

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THE TEAM

TC Ross Jeffrey

TC Greg Hiatt

TC Mike Tanner

TC Jim Durbin

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MANS

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Fellows wasn’t as thrilled with the 53 car’s qualifying experience, but with two GTS victories behind him, he knew what to expect. “We spent a lot of time chasing a good setup,” he commented, “and in the last qualifying session the track conditions weren’t very good. But whatever it’s like now, it will change a lot during the race, and we’re going to be ready. We know how to win.” FERRARI: FAST, BUT FOR HOW LONG? Everybody knew the Ferraris had a speed advantage, but nobody knew how much of that advantage they could maintain for 24 hours without running into trouble. Unfortunately for the Corvette team, they never found out. Two of the 550s did succumb to mechanical problems, but the car that won was able to cruise through the last third of the race. “Those last eight hours are the toughest,” said Pratt. “If we had been in a position to push them into running faster than they wanted to go, it might have been a different story. But the time we spent in the pits gave them such a big lead they could take it easy and really conserve the equipment.” The first problem for the Corvettes stuck early, on the second lap of the race. Gavin had to come in with a broken throttle linkage, which put the 50 car a couple of laps down. Fellows, O’Connell and Freon were able to keep the pressure on for the next eight hours or so, but then a broken alternator drive pulley set them back. That made challenging the Ferrari difficult, but when the same problem happened again Sunday morning and the gearbox had to be changed, it became impossible.

2003 2003 T H R E E - T I M E

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PRATT & MILLER ENGINEERING

2003 2003 T H R E E - T I M E

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Rich Eldred

Don Male

Randy Hughes

Steve Hartsell

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MANS

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In the meantime, Gavin, Collins and Pilgrim also had been plagued by frustrating mechanical ills that cost time in the pits. The crews performed heroically, and at the end of the race both Corvettes were on the same lap. They were a lot closer to the Ferrari than they had been eight hours earlier, but still 10 laps behind. “Mechanical problems take you out of contention,” commented Pratt. “We’ve won this race twice with clean runs. Now we have to go back to work, and there are several issues we have to address — reliability is one of the big ones.”

THREE BULLETS The team, while disappointed at not winning, took pride in the fact that both cars completed the race and they overcame some very difficult problems to get there. Doug Duchardt, director of GM Racing, summed up the team’s feelings. “Ferrari brought three bullets to the fight and only one of them was around at the end of the race,” he said. “Both of our cars were running and finished on the podium.” That made any disappointment they felt a whole lot easier to take. “All of us were up there on the podium at the end,” said O’Connell, “and looking out at that huge crowd of people it’s great to see how many of them love the Corvettes. Right away that gets us motivated to come back next year and kick butt.”


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2003 2003 T H R E E - T I M E

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Mike West

Chuck Miller

Jonathan Nicols

Dave Barefield

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ROAD

ATLANTA

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Road Atlanta 2.54 miles, 4.09 km Braselton, Ga.

CHEVY GRAND PRIX OF ATLANTA June 29, 2003 Qualifying: 1st GTS: #3 Corvette C5-R, Ron Fellows, 1m20.917s. 2nd GTS: #4 Corvette C5-R, Oliver Gavin, 1m21.320s Race: 1st GTS: #4 Corvette C5-R, Oliver Gavin, Kelly Collins, 118 laps 3rd GTS: #3 Corvette C5-R, Ron Fellows, Johnny O’Connell, 116 laps

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Corvettes Roar Back GAVIN/COLLINS WIN; CUT TIRE SPOILS CHANCE OF A ONE-TWO FINISH fter the sting of Ferrari’s victory at Le Mans, Corvette Racing gave a convincing performance in Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta. The Corvettes started one-two in GTS, and Oliver Gavin and Kelly Collins came through for the win. At the end they were 12 seconds ahead of the number 88 Ferrari 550 Maranello driven by Peter Kox and Tomas Enge. Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell, who led the early part of the race, suffered a cut tire that ruined what looked like the good possibility of a one-two Corvette finish. “That was bad luck and it put us way back in the pack,” said O’Connell, who was driving when the tire went down. “For the rest of the race both of us had to dig deep and give it everything we had.” Johnny fought back to fourth in class, with the number 80 Prodrive Ferrari ahead. When Fellows took over with 45 minutes to go, he was about 15 seconds behind the Ferrari. “It was hard work,” Ron said. “I was able to make up time, but very slowly. With about eight minutes to go I was three seconds back, but then he made it easy because he had a little spin and away we went.” “The Ferraris gave us a hard fight,” said Gavin, “but our Corvette ran perfectly and we pulled it off. Kelly and I both pushed as much as we could to stay in front. It turned out to be a great weekend for Corvette.”

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2003 2003 T H R E E - T I M E

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JR Redfield

Ron Valine

Melanie Correll

Ralph Simpson

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2003 2003 T H R E E - T I M E

INFINEON

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Infineon Raceway 2.53 miles, 4.07 km Sonoma, California

INFINEON GRAND PRIX OF SONOMA July 27, 2003 Qualifying: 1st GTS: #4 Corvette C5-R, Oliver Gavin, 1m30:609s (100.520 mph), record 4th GTS: #3 Corvette C5-R, Ron Fellows, no time Race: 1st GTS: #3 Corvette C5-R, Ron Fellows, Johnny O’Connell, 97 laps 2nd GTS: #4 Corvette C5-R, Oliver Gavin, Kelly Collins, 97 laps

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Superb at Sonoma CORVETTES SCORE FIRST 1-2 OF 03 t California’s Infineon Raceway, in the wine country north of San Francisco, the Pratt & Miller team brought its latest version of the Corvette C5-R — the cars they had raced at Le Mans — which included some aerodynamic improvements and some new Goodyear tires. The drivers also liked the new “no-lift shift” capability for changing gears. The team had tested the system, but this was its first use in competition. “I works well and it’s just very cool,” commented Fellows. “You just keep your foot down on the gas and pull the lever. There’s less physical effort and it makes the driver’s job a bit easier.” In qualifying, Gavin chopped almost a full second off of Fellows’ year-old lap record, clocking the track’s first-ever GTS qualifying lap over 100 mph.

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RACE, BUT NO CONTACT! In the race, the Ferrari threat fizzled due to on-track misadventures, and after two rounds of pit stops each of the Corvettes had led a through a driving stint. The critical moment was on a restart, when a traffic jam left Gavin and Fellows guessing about what would be the right move. Fellows caught the lucky break and got through cleanly. For the last half-hour, Gavin tried his best to find a way past, but Fellows withstood the pressure. “There were team orders,” said Gavin with a laugh, “we could race each other, but ‘no contact,’ and there just weren’t any opportunities that wouldn’t have been too much of a risk.” Fellows was less than half a second ahead of Gavin at the finish line. The Prodrive Ferraris were third and fourth, one lap and three laps down.

CHAMPIONS


PRATT & MILLER ENGINEERING

2003 2003 T H R E E - T I M E

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THE TEAM

TC Kevin Pranger Katech

TC Ron Helzer Katech

TC Jim Kelly PRS

TC Mike Toumi PRS

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TROIS

REVIERES

Almost Like Clockwork THIS TIME GAVIN LEADS A 1-2 FINISH

Circuit de Trois-Rivières 1.52 miles, 2.45 km Trois-Rivières, Quebec

LE GRAND PRIX DE TROIS-RIVIÈRES Aug. 3, 2003 Qualifying: 2nd GTS: #4 Corvette C5-R, Oliver Gavin, 1m01:699s (88.747 mph) 4th GTS: #3 Corvette C5-R, Ron Fellows, 1m02.223s (88.000 mph) Race: 1st GTS: #4 Corvette C5-R, Oliver Gavin, Kelly Collins, 162 laps 2nd GTS: #3 Corvette C5-R, Ron Fellows, Johnny O’Connell, 162 laps

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2003 2003 T H R E E - T I M E

he tight, bumpy, 1.52-mile Trois-Rivières street circuit puts a premium on durable equipment and is unforgiving of mental lapses. As usual, Corvette Racing took the situation in stride and, for the second race in a row, Corvettes finished first and second after a strong Ferrari challenge in the early going came up short.

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INTENSE COMPETITION The race was three hours — 15 minutes longer than the usual ALMS “sprint” race. For the first hour, the GTS battle was a train of Corvettes and Ferraris. Tomas Enge led, but under intense pressure, first from Gavin and then Fellows. When

CHAMPIONS

Enge made his pit stop Fellows took over the class lead, and then the Corvettes caught a break in the form of a full-course yellow. Both Corvettes were able to make their stops and driver changes without losing position. From then on it was an all-Corvette show. On the last stop, Gavin got out of his pit slightly quicker than Fellows, and that was the race. “Then it was a case of holding off Ron,” said Gavin. “For six or seven laps I pushed very hard, and then I think another car may have forced him to go wide in a turn, and it |takes a lap or two to get the tires back under you when that happens.” “Sure, not winning is a disappointment for Johnny and me,” said Fellows, “but a one-two finish makes a great day for Corvette. And that’s what this team is all about — no matter which car wins, we all celebrate.”


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Scott Bentham Bosch Motorsports

Nick Olsen AP Racing

John Taube Goodyear

Gary Grube Motorola

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MOSPORT

CLIFFHANGER

O’CONNELL HOLDS ’EM OFF FOR CORVETTE WIN NUMBER 5

A Mosport International Raceway 2.459 miles, Bowmanville, Ontario

TORONTO GRAND PRIX OF MOSPORT Aug. 17, 2003 Qualifying: 1st GTS: #4 Corvette C5-R, Oliver Gavin, 1m14:417s (118.957 mph – record) 3rd GTS: #3 Corvette C5-R, Ron Fellows, 1m15.115s (117.851 mph) Race: 1st GTS: #3 Corvette C5-R, Ron Fellows, Johnny O’Connell, 112 laps 7th GTS: #4 Corvette C5-R, Oliver Gavin, Kelly Collins, 24 laps

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2003 2003 T H R E E - T I M E

t Mosport, Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell scored their third victory of the season in a come-from-behind team effort.

GAVIN’S NEW RECORD Oliver Gavin demolished the GTS qualifying record by one-and-a-half seconds, and became the first GTS car ever to clock under a minute and 15 seconds and over 118 mph on the tricky, undulating circuit. In the race, Gavin led from the start, but after a full-course caution about a half-hour in, he ran into trouble in turn four, a high-speed, downhill left-hander. “There were two GT cars ahead of me and I tried to get past both of them,” recalled Gavin, “but one of them braked a bit early. I had to go wide to avoid hitting him, and just went sideways into the barrier. It was a pretty hard hit, and the

car is hurt but I’m not, thanks to the Corvette’s strength and the way it is designed.” EXCITING FINISH Gavin’s car was too badly damaged to continue and Fellows took up the chase, running close behind the two Ferraris. In the next round of stops, the crew produced an extra-fast stop and O’Connell came out leading GTS. At the finish an hour later he was able to hold off Peter Kox by eight-tenths of a second. “The guys in the pits won the race when they got me out in front,” O’Connell said. “Then I pushed really hard and opened up a lead of seven seconds or so. But at the end the tires were used up and that’s why the Ferrari got so close. I don’t think I could have held him off for another lap. It sure was exciting.”


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Steve Shannon GM Racing

Doug Duchardt GM Racing

Harry Turner GM Racing

Doug Fehan GM Racing

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ROAD

AMERICA

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Road America 4.0 miles, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin,

ROAD AMERICA 500 Aug. 24, 2003 Qualifying: 1st GTS: #4 Corvette C5-R, Oliver Gavin, 2m01.969s (119.480 mph) – record 4th GTS: #3 Corvette C5-R, Ron Fellows, 2m02.155s (119.298 mph) Race: 2nd GTS: #3 Corvette C5-R, Ron Fellows, Johnny O’Connell, 75 laps 5th GTS: #4 Corvette C5-R, Oliver Gavin, Kelly Collins, 73 laps

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One Lap Too Many CORVETTE VICTORY STREAK BROKEN ON LAST LAP AT ROAD AMERICA orvette Racing’s victory streak in the 2003 American Le Mans Series ended at five on the fast, four-mile Road America circuit. In the closing laps, the scenario was virtually the same as at the end of the Mosport race a week earlier — Johnny O’Connell leading with a red Ferrari on his rear bumper. Johnny wasn’t giving an inch, but after the white flag when they were heading into turn one for the last time, Jan Magnusson made his move. It took Johnny by surprise because he thought LMP cars were coming through to pass both of them. In fact, those cars had backed off to let O’Connell and Magnusson fight it out, but Johnny didn’t know that. By that time O’Connell had been in the car the better part of two hours, and the heat was taking its toll. “It was difficult to concentrate because I

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was worn down mentally and physically. My body was actually tingling. It was a mental mistake that won’t happen again, but when something like that happens you always want to go back and do it over. But even so, with second place we opened up a bigger lead in the championship points.” For Oliver Gavin and Kelly Collins, the combination of a stop-and-go penalty and a trip into a gravel trap relegated the pole-winning number-4 Compuware Corvette to fifth in GTS, two laps down. “Johnny drove his heart out,” said Fellows. “The Ferrari was just a little quicker than us at the end. Our strength is handling, theirs is straight-line speed, and the competition is excellent. We certainly have nothing to be ashamed of. The team performed really well this weekend.”


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Dave Hill GM Racing

Gary Claudio GM Racing

Richard Baldick GM Racing

John Rice GM Racing

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SECA

2003 2003 T H R E E - T I M E

Mystery Unsolved

LAGUNA

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t’s a mystery. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca remains the only track on the ALMS schedule where Corvette Racing has never won, and once again the team was not able to find a winning combination for this California circuit. Both cars’ qualifying times were more than a second quicker than they had run a year ago, but they were off the pace of the Prodrive Ferraris by some eight-tenths of a second. After a first-lap “moment” going into turn two, the Corvettes had a virtually trouble-free race. Everything went smoothly on the track and in the pits. The bad news was, the Ferraris were well out in front — a lap ahead by the end. However, one of the Ferraris failed to pass post-race technical inspection and was excluded from the results. That bumped Ron and Johnny up to second, and put Oliver and Kelly on the podium in third place. “We had no problems,” said Fellows, “and the setup was the best we’ve ever had here. The balance was very good, and it stayed quite consistent through a tank of fuel. Really, there isn’t a whole lot I’d do differently. We just weren’t fast enough. We could have used more grip, especially after the first 10 or 12 laps of a run. There is something about the track surface here … we’ve always struggled to find grip. This year was no different, but we learned a lot and we’ll be stronger next time.”

CORVETTE VICTORY DENIED AT LAGUNA SECA — AGAIN

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Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca 2.238 miles, Monterey, California

FRY’S ELECTRONICS SPORTS CAR CHAMPIONSHIPS Sept. 7, 2003 Qualifying: 3rd GTS: #4 Corvette C5-R, Oliver Gavin, 1m23.148s (96.897 mph) 4th GTS: #3 Corvette C5-R, Johnny O’Connell, 1m23.365s (96.645 mph) Race: 2nd GTS: #3 Corvette C5-R, Ron Fellows, Johnny O’Connell, 112 laps

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3rd GTS: #4 Corvette C5-R, Oliver Gavin, Kelly Collins, 111 laps

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Steve Wesoloski GM Racing

Gary Deleeuw GM Racing

Donny Atkins GM Racing

Brian Goble GM Racing

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MIAMI

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Miami Bayfront Park Street Course 1.15 miles, Miami, Florida

GRAND PRIX AMERICAS Sept. 27, 2003 Qualifying: 2nd GTS: #4 Corvette C5-R, Oliver Gavin, 51.246s (80.787 mph) 3rd GTS: #3 Corvette C5-R, Johnny O’Connell, 51.576s (80.270 mph) Race: 4th GTS: #3 Corvette C5-R, Ron Fellows, Johnny O’Connell, 122 laps Did Not Start: #4 Corvette C5-R, Oliver Gavin, Kelly Collins

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The Walls Won

BUT FELLOWS AND O’CONNELL EXIT MIAMI AS ’03 GTS CHAMPIONS year ago, Corvette Racing’s C5-Rs stormed to a one-two finish on Miami’s unforgiving street circuit. After this year’s race, the drivers might be forgiven for paraphrasing the words of an old song: “I fought the walls and the walls won.” Kelly Collins had an encounter with the concrete in the Saturday morning warm-up, while trying to find a better line through a particularly bumpy turn. Damage made it impossible for the number-4 Corvette to run in the race. As a consequence, Fellows and O’Connell locked up the 2003 GTS championship for drivers just by starting. For a while it looked as though a Corvette victory was possible, but late in the race O’Connell also smacked the wall while trying to avoid contact with another car. Johnny made it back to the pits, where the crew went to work. The championships for auto manufacturers, teams and tire manufacturers were still in play, and every point was vital.

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If the car had dropped out at that point, they would have scored no points because they hadn’t completed enough laps. CREW HEROICS The crew fixed one of the broken suspension component with some particularly ingenious and quick thinking. A ratcheting strap held it together through the 18 additional laps O’Connell completed. That was enough to place them fourth in GTS, with more than enough laps to collect the 10 precious fourth-place points. “We’re disappointed because we might have been able to win it,” O’Connell said, “but the crew did an amazing job to get us going again. It’s great to have the driver’s championship, but I’ll be able to enjoy that a lot more when we’ve locked up the manufacturer, team and tire titles. That’s our job now.”


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Reilly Brennan GM Racing

Benoit Froger GM Racing – The French Connection

Fritz Kayl Katech

Warren Frieze Katech

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MANS

Three-Time Champions

PETIT

LE

CORVETTE RACING WINS THIRD-STRAIGHT TITLES IN SEASON FINALE

Road Atlanta 2.54 miles, 4.09 km Braselton, Ga.

PETIT LE MANS October 18, 2003 Qualifying: 4th GTS: #4 Corvette C5-R, Oliver Gavin, 1m29.574s (102.083 mph) 6th GTS: #3 Corvette C5-R, Ron Fellows, 1m30.230s (101.341 mph) Race: 3rd GTS: #4 Corvette C5-R, Oliver Gavin, Kelly Collins, Andy Pilgrim, 366 laps 5th GTS: #3 Corvette C5-R, Ron Fellows, Johnny O’Connell, Franck Freon 353 laps

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orvette Racing accomplished what the team needed to achieve in the final race of the 2003 American Le Mans Series: They clinched their t hird consecutive GTS team, auto manufacturer and tire manufacturer championships for Corvette Racing, Chevrolet and Goodyear, respectively. The weekend didn’t lack for nail-biting tension. The way the mathematics worked out, if Ferraris finished first and second, a Corvette had to finish third to stay ahead in the championship races. When it was all over, Chevrolet won the manufacturers’ title by just one point over Ferrari, 167 to 166. Corvette Racing’s and Goodyear’s margin over Prodrive and Michelin, respectively, was four points – 167 to 163.

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GUNS BLAZING Trying to pull off an upset, Ferrari stepped up with a third car for the Prodrive team. Combined with the Olive Garden Ferrari that had been getting stronger through the season, it shortened the odds on the Corvettes scoring their three-peat. “They showed up at Road Atlanta will all guns blazing,” said Gary Pratt, team manager for Corvette Racing. “They had four strong cars, and that made things really tough for our two Corvettes. It wasn’t easy. We had some problems and weren’t thrilled with the way the race went. But we pulled it off and won our third-straight championships. That part really feels good.”


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PETIT

LE

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LONG DAY’S JOURNEY A thousand miles is a long race — almost 10 hours on the Road Atlanta circuit if conditions are good. For a while the prospects were looking good, with both cars running in the top three. Then the number 4 Corvette was forced back when a full-course caution came out at just the wrong time. At about the six-hour mark, Johnny O’Connell made what was supposed to be a routine pit stop. But the car would not re-start. It turned out that the flywheel ring gear had failed and the crew had to replace the gearbox.

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WE DID IT! But by this time the number-4 Corvette was back in contention — at least for third place — and in the final two hours they were able to cruise when two of the Ferraris suffered setbacks. Everyone had fingers crossed that nothing would go wrong … and it didn’t. “I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy with a third-place finish,” commented Pratt. “It wasn’t pretty, but it made all the difference in the world to the outcome of our season. It was tough, but we did it.” “We had a great season, and we did what we set out to do,” said Gavin. “Now, we’re already preparing for next year, working on cars that we hope will bring us even more victories in 2004.”

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2003 AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES GTS CHAMPIONSHIPS GTS Team: Corvette Racing GTS Auto Manufacturer: Chevrolet GTS Drivers: Ron Fellows, Johnny O’Connell GTS Mechanic of the Year: Dan Binks GTS Tire Manufacturer: Goodyear

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HERB

FISHEL

TRIBUTE

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HERB FISHEL MR. GM RACING, AND A GREAT FRIEND erb Fishel retired in 2003 from his position as head of GM Racing. During his long, success-filled career, he became one of the most influential people in the world of motorsports. Right from the beginning of our Corvette Racing program he believed in what we were doing — in our potential for success — and provided strong support. For that we thank him sincerely, and wish him the very best.

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— Jim Miller, Gary Pratt, and the whole team


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2003 2003 T H R E E - T I M E

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Pratt & Miller Engineering PEOPLE AND TECHNOLOGY CREATING WINNERS ur 2003 racing season ended on a high note, with the Corvette Racing team winning their third consecutive ALMS Team and Manufacturer championships. At about the same time, we were approaching the end of our first year in the new headquarters building in New Hudson, Michigan. And going into 2004, we are seeing the results of rapid growth over the previous two or three years.

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EXPANDED CAPABILITIES, SOPHISTICATED TOOLS This growth has added a very high level of analytical capability and experience to our engineering team. Now, from three locations — New Hudson and Ann Arbor in Michigan, and Mooresville, North Carolina — we can offer our customers a range of computer-aided engineering and design capabilities that are among the most sophisticated in the world. They provide virtual testing and track simulations that accelerate the development of new vehicles and components.

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2003 2003 T H R E E - T I M E

CADILLAC CTS-V GOES RACING The first complete vehicle we have developed with our full range of engineering, fabrication and production capacity is the new Cadillac CTS-VR race car. This program is aimed at helping General Motors position Cadillac at the forefront of the world’s luxury performance cars. Beginning in 2004, we will race the new CTS-VR against the best from Porsche, Audi, BMW, DaimlerChrysler and others in the Sports Car Club of America’s Speed World Challenge series. Led by Lynn Bishop, team manager, and Dave Spitzer, program manager with GM Racing, our team of skilled and dedicated people has transformed the high-performance CTS-V production car into a formidable racing machine. To meet the technical requirements for Speed World Challenge competition, the car was constructed primarily from stock CTS-V components. One of our

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biggest challenges involved trimming 1,000 pounds off of the car’s weight. This weight loss involved eliminating all the production-based equipment in the car not required for racing. It was also helped along by using lightweight materials where the rules allowed, such as substituting composite body panels for the stock steel parts, and installing Lexan in place of glass. We made further weight reductions by using our advanced technology tools such as finite element analysis. FEA gave our engineers data that allowed them to lighten components without compromising their strength or function.


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The Cadillac’s suspension, steering and braking systems had to be optimized for racing performance. To do that, we used stock components where we could and fabricated new ones if it were both permissible and desirable for performance. Part of the suspension work involved lowering the stock CTS-V’s ride height. This dropped the car’s center of gravity and also improved aerodynamic performance under racing conditions. Of course, a comprehensive range of racing safety equipment had to be designed, fabricated and installed in the car. This includes a full roll cage structure, five-point safety harness, and on-board fire-suppression system. The CTS-VR’s engine is a 6-liter aluminum V8 coupled to a production Tremec T-56 transmission. Power is fed through the same Getrag rear axle found in production CTS-Vs. DESIGN, DEVELOP, BUILD, RACE, WIN By applying leading edge technology and good old-fashioned hard work, we have transformed one of the world’s best luxury performance sedans into a production-based race car — one we hope will be among the world’s best. Time will tell, but we are confident. Our company’s ability to take a vehicle concept all the way from an idea to the winner’s circle has been distilled into five words: design, develop, build, race, win. For the Cadillac CTS-VR, three ‘of those steps were completed in 2003. In 2004 it will race and, if past Pratt & Miller performance is any indication, it will win.

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Cadillac CTS-V development story contributed by Richard Prince.

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GOOD

TIMES,

FUN

MEMORIES

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Good Times, Fun Memories

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GOOD

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GOOD

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THE

PHOTOGRAPHERS

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P E T E R & G AY L E B R O C K

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JOHN BROOKS

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THE

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RICHARD DOLE

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DAVID NOELS

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THE

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The competition was tough

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RICHARD PRINCE


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GREG JOHNSON

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ROBERT MOCHERNUCK

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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR t’s 2004 and here comes the fourth edition of the Pratt & Miller Yearbook, hot off the press. Each of the books has been different from the ones before, because no year is the same. Stuff happens, and it happens a lot! This year was not a gimme. We took a few hits along the way and there were lots of tribulations as well as triumphs. But we all made it. As champions! I’ve heard it said that listening to Eric Clapton on the guitar is what 20 years of experience and practice sounds like. That’s how I would describe the people who work for and with Pratt & Miller and GM Racing. My congratulations to all of you. You are the real champions. Without everyone working together for one goal — to win races — we could not do our job properly at the track. Championships sometimes are won or lost on one lug nut. Some of the pictures you see in this book may never be shown again. Some of them only mean something to us, because we were there. That is why I do the book — for us. Last year one of the guys came up and told me how much he liked the book. He said his small son loves to sit on his lap, point to a picture and say, “That’s my daddy.” That’s why I do this book. All of us can look back with pride and say, “That’s me. I did that. Yes, I was part of a championship team.” If you can sum up one year in 60 pages, lots of images, and a little history, that is what I wanted to accomplish with this yearbook. I tried to keep it on the personal side, because I feel that is more interesting. I also tried to include everyone who was involved — not easy when the team is growing so fast. I had a lot of help from some of the best photographers in the business, and from Chuck McLaren and his production team. Thanks to all of you for a great job. The result is, I can show what has been happening in the most beautiful way I know how.… This is one year at Pratt Miller/GM Racing. Cheers to our team of champions,

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Robin Pratt

The Production Team Chuck McLaren, writing, editing, direction Ray McAllister, design Kate McLaren, production coordination Dan Kelly, Colortech Graphics, Inc., printing Alleyne Kelly, proofreading

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The Photographers Peter and Gayle Brock John Brooks Richard Dole Gregory Johnson Robert Mochernuk David Noels Robin Pratt Richard Prince


THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS General Motors Chevrolet Corvette Cadillac Compuware GMAC GM Card Goodyear AER Katech GM Protection Plan UAW Mobil 1 Motorola Hella Bose OZ Wheels Mahle Pistons Winners every one!

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Pratt & Miller Engineering & Fabrication Inc. 29600 William K Smith Drive New Hudson, MI 48165 Phone: 248-446-9800 Fax: 248-446-9020 www.prattmiller.com


Pratt & Miller 2003 Yearbook