Gavin, Milner increase GTLM Driver’s Championship lead
AUSTIN, Texas (Sept. 17, 2016) – Corvette Racing met its goal Saturday of a solid points haul to maximize its championship position heading into the final race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R placed third in a closely fought GT Le Mans (GTLM) class in the Lone Star Le Mans race at Circuit of The Americas.
The result was a key one for Chevrolet in the GTLM Manufacturer’s Championship, as the Bowtie Brand earned second-place Manufacturer points and its nearest rival received fourth-place points. Chevrolet, going for its 11th Manufacturer’s title in IMSA competition, unofficially leads by 20 points heading into the season-ending, 10-hour Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in two weeks.
GTLM Driver’s Championship leaders Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin placed fifth Saturday in GTLM and grew their points advantage from seven points to 11. The No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R has won four times this season and has led in points from the start of the year.
Garcia and Magnussen drove from eighth place in class at the start to third in the span of two hours. Magnussen drove the opening 43 minutes and picked up three spots during that time. The other big development early on was the ability of both the No. 3 and No. 4 Corvette Racing crews leapfrog their closest championship challenger thanks to a quick first pit stop.
Gavin, who started sixth, pitted from that position at the same time as Magnussen before handing off to teammate Milner. The championship co-leader held firm against a tough challenge from his leading championship rival as the two cars came together as Milner defended his position just before the halfway point. He emerged unscathed while the competing car lost 12 laps due to damage.
The final race of the IMSA season is the 10-hour Petit Le Mans presented by Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort on Saturday, Oct. 1 from Road Atlanta. The race begins at 11 a.m. ET with live television coverage across FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2 and IMSA.tv with IMSA Radio coverage and Chevrolet on-board cameras available on IMSA.com.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS-XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED THIRD IN GTLM:
“The further we went into the weekend, the better the Corvette was. From the first practice through the warmup and race, we never stopped working on it. At points, we made some big swings on the setup side because we had nothing to lose. At some point we found our way a little bit. The first surprise was that in qualifying, we weren’t as far off the pace as we thought. The warmup was the same. It was very hard, especially with traffic. At the end, I think we had a Corvette that could have challenged the race winners. We’re looking forward to Road Atlanta now and wrapping up the Manufacturer’s Championship for Chevrolet. We have a really good chance, and I really want to win that race. I’ve come close a couple of times so that will be my focus.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS-XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED THIRD IN GTLM:
“It was a pleasant little surprise. I think that it’s a good couple of spots better than I thought we were going to be. The car was quite good in my stint. We were able to kind of keep up with the guys in front, whereas I thought we would be out of it real fast looking at the practice times and qualifying. But the race car was pretty good I have to say… better than I thought it was going to be. I’m happy for the result. I’m happy for Corvette Racing and Chevrolet getting closer to that manufacturer championship.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS-XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED FIFTH IN GTLM:
“This could be a real turning point for us in the championship. I think we will have to go to Petit Le Mans and get a seventh or an eighth place if the No. 67 was to win. It’s not a super comfortable cushion, but we just need to execute at Petit. I think we just need to be smart. We weren’t the greatest today, we weren’t the fastest. We were battling with the car a little bit and we made a couple of changes during the race. One was the wrong way and the other one was, I think, back in the right direction. But we need to go back and look at the data to see where we were missing it. Ultimately, we came away with scoring good points. We have extended our lead in the championship and at this time of the year that is all you need to be doing. You just need to be executing, getting the points on the board and extending our points lead. Looking at all the practice sessions, all the qualifying and everything that we did, I really didn’t think we were going to be coming away with extending our points lead over the No. 67. But we have, and it’s positive. We move forward and we go to Petit very positive.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS-XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED FIFTH IN GTLM:
“Coming away with the points lead we have was best-case scenario. It’s not really how I would have liked to have gotten that points lead. We struggled all day today and really all weekend… just looking for pace and just sort of comfort driving the car. That part wasn’t so much fun, but yeah, we lucked out today for sure. We definitely had, as Olly (Gavin) said, we’ve had either all of the luck in the world or none of it. Today it looked like we had none and then we had all of it pretty quickly there. Part of me feels bad for the No. 67 guys, but that is kind of a bummer way to lose some points. But I can’t say I’m too unhappy about it. We’ve all fought really hard all year long and some races we’ve had some good races and so have they. Now it comes down to Petit Le Mans where the gap is fairly large, but we still need to execute for the whole race. We certainly can’t just jog across the finish line there; we still have to push hard. It will be a big challenge for sure, but we are in a good spot.”
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