WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (June 29, 2014) – In its 15 years of existence, Sunday marked Corvette Racing’s first event at Watkins Glen International. The team made its debut one to remember with a dominating GT Le Mans (GTLM) victory in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen for Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen in the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R.
Win equals GT Le Mans championship leads; Gavin and Milner fourth after penalty
The duo led most of the day to earn their third straight class victory in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. In the process, Garcia and Magnussen moved into the lead of the GTLM driver’s championship, as did Chevrolet in the manufacturer standings and the No. 3 Corvette C7.R in team points.
“The Corvette C7.R team’s first race at Watkins Glen was exciting given the challenging track and intense competition that kept the pressure on all race,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. Vice President, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “Antonio and Jan drove a great race and the crew executed quick pit stops. We are thankful to come out of The Glen with a GTLM class win and the class championship lead.”
Garcia and Magnussen also won the third round of the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup – a four-race championship made of the TUDOR series’ four endurance events.
The Garcia/Magnussen combination led 154 of the 185 GTLM laps. Magnussen drove the opening stint and took the lead from the pole-sitting BMW on the first lap. Despite holding as much as a 30-second lead at various points, the final minutes were tense ones. A full-course caution with 25 minutes left brought the Corvette inside its fuel window for the rest of the race. A final yellow period just after the restart meant a final-lap dash that saw Garcia hold off the second-place Viper by 0.185 seconds.
Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner finished fourth in their No. 4 Corvette C7.R after running second to their teammates for most of the day. A stop-and-go penalty inside the last hour for what race officials judged to be avoidable contact halted their podium charge.
The day wasn’t a complete loss. Gavin and Milner moved into the lead of the Patrón Endurance Challenge with just the 1,000-mile Petit Le Mans remaining at the end of the season.
The next round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship is the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix presented by Hawk Performance from Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The race, which Gavin and Milner won last year as part of the American Le Mans Series, is set for 2:05 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 13.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“The car was really good. I was running perfect. Jan (Magnussen) made perfect start and pulled a gap. Then we got a caution but we made the gap back up from zero to almost 20 seconds. Whenever I was able to go full-on we went up to almost a 30-second lead. Strategy-wise we were like two or three laps short (on fuel) I believe. We decided because the Viper … maybe they gambled a little bit more at the beginning so they were out of sequence to stretch their fuel to start with; they were good to go to the end. We decided to go too, and it was hard. To go through traffic, it was really difficult to save fuel. At the end we would have been OK to the end (without the last caution). That yellow obviously helped us a little bit more just in case. We weren’t really on it, but I believe Corvette Racing again did a perfect race. I think we led everything but qualifying.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“I have to say I am so pleased for how things have gone for the team this year, with the No. 3 car especially, but how we have developed a new car and we keep finding better things to do with it. We are finding better race speed over one lap over the whole distance and making the Michelin tires last for the whole stint. We have a fantastic race car. It’s a very competitive category and you have to be on your game with everything you do. There is no room for any mistakes otherwise you lose it.”
(First race in the Corvette C7.R at The Glen) “I have been here before in other categories, the GRAND-AM GT and also the GRAND-AM DPs earlier. Driving the Corvette C7.R around here is just a fantastic feeling. It’s such a fast race track. It’s almost like there is a part missing of the corner – normally you would have a big braking zone downshifts and everything getting the car ready to rotate and then shoot out the corner. Here that little bit is gone so basically for every corner you barely touch the brake, downshift, back to full throttle. It’s all about the momentum here to build the speed, and that is where dealing with all the traffic was very important; you didn’t get bogged down too much because it would kind of ruin your rhythm. I think both of us did that really well today.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“Certainly we made a step forward with the car after yesterday morning. We went back to basics with stuff, we changed a lot chassis-wise with the car. So was it the perfect setup? No because it was just really a bit of a stab at it, but it was good enough to race and be in the hunt. I genuinely think we should have had a second-place. Tommy (Milner) did a great job at the start and really got us in a fantastic position. It looked like we were going to be able to race cleanly for second.
(Race impressions) “On the double stint that I did, the first on the medium tire was good and I hung with Jan (Magnussen) pretty much. And then on the harder tire it was trickier. It made it a lot more difficult. But we were still there still in second-place looking like we were going to be able to fight for that and then Tommy (Milner) just got a crazy decision with the penalty. We went back and forth for a long time and it’s a great shame that it ruined our race. We went from second to fourth and I think we should have really had a second. That would have been a great result for the team and the guys. They worked so hard over the whole weekend.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“First and foremost, I’m very proud of our guys. After Oliver (Gavin) and I were not very happy with the car in practice they put a lot of work into trying to fix the car and it seems like that we have done that. The car was certainly quite a bit better in the race. We were just kind of behind the eight ball – just needed some more practice time to kind of fine tune it, but I think we are back in the ballpark again. That is obviously really encouraging for going forward.
(Race impressions) The race was pretty good. I had a really fun start there. It was just a shame that I got a penalty for something that I don’t believe should have been a penalty. Obviously the race control saw it differently. We can only just move on and kind of put that behind us and be proud of what we achieved. Obviously a great job by the No. 3 car guys; they executed very well. Our guys did as well. We had great pit stops, great strategy calls… they did everything right. We deserved a podium today, but we had it taken away.”
DOUG FEHAN, CORVETTE RACING PROGRAM MANAGER
“Today was emblematic of one of my key racing axioms – 25 percent great car, 25 percent great team and 50 percent good fortune. We had all those in our corner today, backed up by flawless pit stops and a great strategy by our engineers. With plenty of power from GM Powertrain, you add all that up and it’s a victory in our first visit to Watkins Glen International in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen. I couldn’t be more proud of our guys for standing on that top step. Everyone worked very hard to earn this one.”
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