Team searching for 11th class win in historic 12-hour race
DETROIT (March 14, 2017) – Corvette Racing returns this weekend to a track where it has made many memories and scored some of its most glorious achievements. In the long and storied history of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida, one would be hard-pressed to find a team that can match the continual success of Corvette Racing. America’s premier sports car team has made winning America’s oldest sports car race almost routine with 10 victories, nine pole positions and six fastest race laps in 18 appearances.
So it’s no wonder confidence is high heading into the second race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Another win this weekend at 3.7-mile, 17-turn Sebring International Raceway would give Corvette Racing its third consecutive victory in the 12 Hours. No team has achieved that feat since Corvette Racing won three in a row from 2007-09.
Both of the Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs have the same lineups this weekend as at the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona. Defending Sebring GT Le Mans (GTLM) winners Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Marcel Fässler will team in the No. 4 Corvette C7.R. They won last year in a wild race that saw a nearly three-hour red flag period for severe weather at the track.
Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen won the 2015 GTLM race. They return this year with Mike Rockenfeller in the No. 3 Corvette C7.R.
Corvette Racing’s Sebring record is a microcosm of its success since it debuted in 1999. It is the only team in major North American sports car racing to win 100 races around the world and has won at least once at every track on this year’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season. However, Sebring International Raceway has an added level of sentimental value to the program.
In addition to being one of the first tracks at which Corvette Racing competed, it also routinely tests at Sebring to prepare for the 24 Hours of Le Mans each season. That link has paid off with eight class victories at the French classic – a testament to what Sebring offers in terms of race car and team preparation.
The six Corvette Racing drivers entered this year rank among the most accomplished in the race’s history. Garcia, Magnussen and Rockenfeller have a combined six wins in the 12 Hours; Gavin, Milner and Fässler have won 10 times at Sebring between each of their careers.
In addition, Chevrolet ranks third in Sebring manufacturer wins with 24 combined class and overall victories.
A key part of Corvette Racing’s success – particularly at Sebring – is the wealth of experience and continuity within the program. At the center is the 18 appearances with the same marque and brand of car: a front-engine, normally aspirated Corvette with the tried and true Chevrolet small block V8. But the same goes for the driver lineup, crew members and engineers – many of who have been part of Corvette Racing for nearly a decade… or more.
The 65th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida is scheduled for 10:40 a.m., on Saturday, March 18. FOX Sports GO will have live coverage beginning at 10:30 a.m. ET with FOX Sports 1 airing the race from 12:30-11 p.m. Live audio coverage from IMSA Radio is available on IMSA.com.
Corvette Racing Display, Chevrolet Ride and Drive at Sebring
A return to Sebring also gives Chevrolet and Corvette fans an opportunity to get up close with a variety of Chevrolet vehicles and accessories. Thursday through Sunday, fans on-hand in the Sebring Midway can view and learn about many of the attractions including:
- Chevrolet production vehicles such as the Corvette Grand Sport, Malibu, Silverado Diesel, Colorado, Cruze and Camaro ZL1.
- A Corvette C7.R show car
- The new 2018 Next Gen Equinox
- Samples of Chevrolet engines, performance parts and accessories available to fans for purchase from their local Chevrolet dealer
- A variety of Chevrolet and racing related activities for adults and kids
- Commemorative t-shirts for fans who sign up with Corvette Racing.
The Corvette Racing display opens 9 a.m. on Thursday, and 8 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Fans at Sebring also can get behind the wheel of select Chevrolet vehicles at the Chevrolet Ride & Drive located at the Sebring skidpad near the drive-over bridge on the outside of the track. Vehicles available include Corvette, Camaro, Colorado, Equinox, Impala, Malibu, Silverado and Tahoe.
The Ride & Drive opens at 9 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“It’s a very special event. I would probably rate it just after Le Mans in terms of difficulty. Part of that is down to the environment. The race track is very cool… but very physical, as well. To win this race takes a lot of experience and the entire team has to perform at 100 percent. Corvette Racing has been fortunate to do that 10 times, which is an incredible record. I’m hoping that our Corvette can make it No. 11.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“It took a couple of years for me to really appreciate Sebring. This is one of the toughest races in the world no matter the series. Coming from Europe and formula cars, I was used to racing on smooth tracks with a lot of runoff. It was a complete shock when I went around Sebring for the first time in the late 1990s. I wasn’t a fan at first but it’s amazing how things can change over the course of almost 20 years! It doesn’t hurt to come back here year after year with Corvette Racing. I’ve won the race four times with them and it doesn’t get easier as the years go on. We spend a significant amount of time at Sebring each winter to get ready for the 12 Hours but also Le Mans. It is an important place for Corvette Racing and for me personally, as well. I really hope that continues for many more years.”
MIKE ROCKENFELLER, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“It will be great to get back to Sebring. I really want to win there after being close many times. Last year was very disappointing. I felt like we had one of the better cars to challenge for the win until we were taken out. But that is racing. We have a very good chance to make up for that misfortune. Antonio, Jan and I continue to work very well together with our engineers and crew. This is what you need to succeed at a race like Sebring. It is a unique challenge but one we are prepared to meet.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“Last year’s win at Sebring was immense. It was a tough race with some crazy rain and wild weather. Our Corvette C7.R was brilliant throughout and dealt with all those conditions very well. The Sebring win was a great platform for Tommy and I to build on and go on to win the GTLM Championship. But Sebring is always tough and always hard. It’s so aggressive and so brutal on the driver, the team and the cars. To win there is always a remarkable accomplishment.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“Last year’s Sebring victory was certainly a high point for us on the No. 4 Corvette. Sebring in a lot of ways gives you a glimpse at how your car and your package are going to be going forward. While success at Daytona is a big race and is unique, Sebring really seems to be a better indicator for the season. Success here really gives the entire team – drivers, the crew and the engineers – a lot of confidence.”
MARCEL FÄSSLER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“There are no tracks like Sebring anywhere in the world. It has great character and history. It doesn’t hurt that I’ve had two wins there! Last year was a very crazy race with the bad weather and then the great win for the No. 4 Corvette. It shows that you never know what’s going to happen at Sebring. I can’t wait to see what it has in store for us this weekend.”
DOUG FEHAN, CORVETTE RACING PROGRAM MANAGER:
“You want tough? Sebring is that and then some! The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring has it all. It truly represents what makes sports car racing great: a historic track, a long-distance event, thousands of great fans and a very unique and fun atmosphere. It’s why we relish competing here just as we have for the past 18 years. During that time, our amazing collection of 10 wins at Sebring required a combination of factors: 25 percent great car, 25 percent great team and 50 percent good fortune. We are fully prepared to deliver the first two and our fans are paying to see how that elusive third element plays out and we hope it’s enough to bring home our 11th win in this great race.”
2017 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – GTLM Standings
(After One of 11 Events)
1. Dirk Muller/Joey Hand/Sebastien Bourdais – 35
2. Dirk Werner/Fred Makowiecki/Patrick Pilet – 32
3. James Calado/Giancarlo Fisichella/Toni Vilander – 30
4. Antonio Garcia/Jan Magnussen/Mike Rockenfeller – 28
5. Andy Priaulx/Harry Ticknell/Tony Kanaan – 26
9. Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler – 22
1. No. 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing – 35
2. No. 911 Porsche GT Team – 32
3. No. 62 Risi Competizione – 30
4. No. 3 Corvette Racing – 28
5. No. 69 Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK – 26
9. No. 4 Corvette Racing – 22
1. Ford – 35
2. Porsche – 32
3. Ferrari – 30
4. Chevrolet – 28
5. BMW – 26
[VIDEO] Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin Previews the 12 Hours of Sebring
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