Corvette Racing at Road Atlanta: Last Chance for a C7.R Championship

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Corvette Racing at Road Atlanta: Last Chance for a C7.R Championship

DETROIT (Sept. 30, 2014) – Corvette Racing closes the inaugural year of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship this weekend with the 17th running of Petit Le Mans – the annual 10-hour endurance race at Road Atlanta. Saturday’s event has high stakes for the factory Corvette program in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) classes with the Drivers Championship on the line.

Petit Le Mans has been a staple of the Corvette Racing schedule as the event was part of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) each year since 1999. Corvette Racing has won the event eight times – a record for entrants regardless of class.

Corvette Racing’s two Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs will be part of a 55-car grid that is set to crown champions in the TUDOR series’ Driver, Team and Manufacturer ranks, as well as the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup.

With four GTLM victories this season, Antonio Garcia stands second in the class’ Driver championship heading to Road Atlanta and is seven points out of the lead. His first victory at Petit Le Mans would go a long way in helping score a second consecutive championship – he and Jan Magnussen were ALMS GT champions in 2013. As at Daytona and Sebring earlier this year, the two will drive with IndyCar standout Ryan Briscoe; the Aussie also is entered in the No. 4 Corvette C7.R alongside Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner.

Garcia needs a victory in the No. 3 Corvette and a fourth-place finish or worse by the leading Dodge Viper to claim the championship. In the GTLM Manufacturer standings, the best Chevrolet can hope for is a runner-up championship finish. SRT and Porsche are tied for the lead despite Chevrolet winning twice as many times as either manufacturer.

In the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup, Gavin and Milner lead by a single point over a group of five drivers including Magnussen and Garcia. The gap is the same in the Team standings. Chevrolet is one point behind Porsche among manufacturers.

Corvette Racing’s success at Road Atlanta dates back to 2000 when the team won Petit Le Mans for the first time in the GTS class. It started a nine-year run that saw seven victories in class including a three-peat from 2000 to 2002. The last victory for the team came in 2010 when Gavin, Magnussen and Emmanuel Collard won in dramatic fashion as the class-leading Ferrari ran out of fuel on the final lap – a result of Gavin’s intense pressure over the final stint.

ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R

“Petit Le Mans definitely is a race I would very much like to win. It’s one of the top endurance races in the world and has a great reputation internationally. Corvette Racing has a great history at Road Atlanta; Jan, Ryan and myself would like to add to that this year. The challenge will be very difficult, however. We saw at COTA that our performance is not very close to our main competitors, but the Corvette Racing team has been working hard over the last few months to get the maximum out of the Corvette C7.R. The chances for winning the driver and team championships aren’t very good, despite having four wins this year. Still, it has been a very competitive season and we all will give all we can to end this year on a high note.”

JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R

“Petit Le Mans is one of the events I look forward to every year. I have been part of each one since the first race in 1999, so I know how difficult it can be. It is a very demanding race both physically and emotionally. A lap at Road Atlanta has lots of elevation and directional changes along with some very fast sections and corners – Turn 1 and Turn 12 are two of best and most challenging corners we face. There will be a lot of cars in the race so managing traffic will be important, as will our strategy and pit stops. I’ve been lucky enough to win this race four times, and that’s what was needed for each one. Getting a fifth win would be a great way to close this season.”

OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R

“I absolutely enjoy and look forward to racing at Petit Le Mans every year. It has long been one of the top sports car races in America from Day 1. There’s always a massive fan turnout at Road Atlanta – especially guests at the Corvette Corral. The track is a huge challenge for a number of reasons. Traffic can a big concern, especially when you have as many cars entered as this year. There are certain places where passing is extremely risky – the Esses is a good example – so you have to be patient and be precise with your overtaking. Driving at night also is extremely challenging as it tends to get dark very quickly. It becomes not only difficult for you as a driver but also tough for your spotter – Brian Hoye in our case. That’s where our Collision Avoidance System comes in handy, both in the day and the night. Having won this race five times before with Corvette Racing, I’d like nothing more than to end what has been a very tough season with another win for myself and for Tommy.”

TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R

“Petit Le Mans has done a lot for sports car racing in America and is one of the biggest events in the U.S. It’s a favorite of mine. Driving Road Atlanta with the level of downforce we have on our cars makes it a great track to go to and race for 10 hours. The track seems to lend itself to a car that can take the medium and high-speed corners really well. Turn 1 is incredibly quick. That and the Esses play a big part of your laptime, and getting a good run off of Turn 7 and onto the backstretch is key for your lap in qualifying and the race. Having a car that is fairly slippery is beneficial because that section leads to probably the best passing spots within your class at turns 10A and 10B. It’s a place where you have to balance how much aero you put on the car for that ultimate lap time versus how much drag you have on it.”

RYAN BRISCOE, NO. 3 AND NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R

“The hardest thing about this race can be the weather. Last year we had off-and-on rain for most of the day, which made it a challenge. But often the hardest bit is when you get down to the finish and it just goes dark. All of a sudden you’re racing at nighttime, and that place is really, really dark at night. When you have the elevation and cars behind you, all you can see is glare in the rear-view mirrors from behind. It’s a very challenging circuit at nighttime and you have to adjust really well to finish strong there.”

DOUG FEHAN, CORVETTE RACING PROGRAM MANAGER

“Petit Le Mans is one of our favorite events and has been for a number of years. Part of that is due to the success of the Corvette Racing program at Road Atlanta, but it’s also due to the tremendous spectator turnout the race generates. Ten hours around there in heavy traffic – plus going from day to night – is one of the toughest challenges we face. It takes a strong team of drivers, engineers and crew to even be in contention, much less win the race. We’re all confident that we have the right people in the right places to go for our ninth win at Petit Le Mans.”


TUDOR Championship – GTLM Standings

Driver Standings

  1. Jonathan Bomarito/Kuno Wittmer – 300
  2. Antonio Garcia – 293
  3. Dominik Farnbacher/Marc Goossens – 283
  4. Bill Auberlen/Andy Priaulx – 276
  5. Dirk Muller/Andy Priaulx – 275
  6. Michael Christensen/Patrick Long – 270
  7. Jan Magnuseesn – 269
  8. Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner – 262

Team Standings

  1. No. 93 SRT Motorsports – 300
  2. No. 3 Corvette Racing – 293
  3. No. 91 SRT Motorsports – 283
  4. No. 62 RISI Competizione – 277
  5. No. 55 BMW Team RLL – 276
  6. No. 56 BMW Team RLL – 275
  7. No. 912 Porsche North America – 270
  8. No. 4 Corvette Racing – 262

Manufacturer Standings

  1. SRT – 308
  2. Porsche – 308
  3. Chevrolet – 300
  4. BMW – 300
  5. Ferrari – 294


Petit Le Mans – TUDOR Championship (all times ET)

  • TUDOR Championship Practice 1: 10:10 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 2
  • TUDOR Championship Practice 2: 2:10 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 2
  • TUDOR Championship Practice 3: 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 2
  • TUDOR Championship Practice 4: 10:10 a.m., Friday, Oct. 3
  • TUDOR Championship GTLM Qualifying: 4:40 p.m., Friday, Oct. 3
  • TUDOR Championship Prototype Qualifying: 5:25 p.m., Friday, Oct. 3
  • TUDOR Championship Warmup: 9 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 4
  • Petit Le Mans: 11:15 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 4

Petit Le Mans – Watch It (all times ET)

  • Qualifying: 5:30 p.m. (IMSA.com), Friday, Sept. 19
  • Race: 11 a.m. (IMSA.com), Saturday, Oct. 4; 3 p.m. (FOX Sports 2), Saturday, Oct. 4



Source:
Corvette Racing

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Corvette Racing at Road America: Sixth, Seventh for Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs
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