Team brings class championship lead to GT-only event
DETROIT (July 18, 2017) – Corvette Racing returns this week to the site of one of its biggest landmark achievements as it continues to race toward what would be another championship at the top level of sports car racing. The team scored its 100th all-time victory a year ago at Lime Rock Park, which plays host this weekend to the Northeast Grand Prix for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
A GT-only event this year, the race gives Corvette Racing a chance at victory No. 106 after a 1-2 finish in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) category a year ago. Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner won in the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R over teammates Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen. It was the 60th 1-2 team finish in Corvette Racing history and helped Gavin and Milner to the 2016 GTLM Driver’s Championship.
Lime Rock is one of 24 venues at which Corvette Racing has won an event. It shows the diverse array of circuits where Corvette Racing has tasted success. Lime Rock definitely qualifies with a 1.5-mile lap and seven corners – all but one of which are right-handed turns. In a stark contrast, the 24 Hours of Le Mans (where Corvette Racing finished third in class with one of its Corvette C7.Rs in June) is 8.5 miles in length!
This time it’s Garcia and Magnussen who have the points lead going into Lime Rock on the strength of two victories and a pair of additional podium finishes this year in the IMSA championship. They won at Sebring and Circuit of The Americas, were second at Long Beach and placed third at Watkins Glen. That goes along with a third-place class finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Gavin and Milner were race-winners this year at Long Beach and are hoping a return to Lime Rock marks a return to their winning ways. Strong efforts by both the Corvettes also would go a long way to solidifying Chevrolet’s lead in the GTLM Manufacturer’s Championship.
Odds are certainly favorable that at least one of Corvette Racing’s pairings will come away with good points. The team has won five times in 10 appearances at Lime Rock, and the lineup has a combined six victories there.
The Northeast Grand Prix is set for 3:05 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 22. FOX Sports 2 will air the race live starting at 3 p.m. ET with live audio coverage from IMSA Radio and a Corvette Racing In-Car feed available on IMSA.com.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“The traffic situation at Lime Rock changes things a little bit as we will only have to worry about a slower class and not about other classes going by us. So maybe that relaxes the situation a little bit. In a lot of ways, Lime Rock is more stressful than an event like Watkins Glen with the full field there. Because the lap is so short, the stints feel very long because you are doing so many. Every single second counts at Lime Rock. If we have to make green-flag stops, everything has to be right on. If you aren’t leading, it’s easy to lose a lap. Tire wear also is one of the key things to watch. There are many things to focus on.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“We still have the lead in the championship, so that is a positive. Hopefully our performance will be better this weekend than previous races. Lime Rock is a place where anything can happen. The lap is so short that any error will cost you not just positions but laps. Every part of what you do is magnified. The strategy has to be perfect, the pit stops have to be perfect and the driving has to be perfect. If we do those three things, we will be in great shape.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“Lime Rock last year was a fairy tale race last year for us. It was tough and hard… hot with huge competition as usual. To get the victory and the 100th win for Corvette Racing was magic, and it was an amazing feeling to be in the car at the end. To be perfectly honest, Lime Rock had never been particularly good to me through the years. Last year, It also was a big part of us winning the championship. Getting back to our winning ways was huge. It was a big race for how things played out for us the rest of the way.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“At Lime Rock, qualifying really matters because it’s so hard to pass. That’s a bit different than most tracks we go to. With it being a GT-only race, it adds a strategy element that’s new to us. It was a cool moment (in 2016) to get the 100th win for Corvette Racing. But the attention is now on getting 106, 107 and onward. That’s the focus. It’ll be nice to go back to Lime Rock and think about what happened there last year. But that will be a quick thought and then it’s back to how do we win the next one.”
DOUG FEHAN, CORVETTE RACING PROGRAM MANAGER:
“Lime Rock is another classic circuit in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. It’s the shortest track we race on, but at the same time it is one of the most difficult events for the drivers, crew and engineering team. Because of the density in the number of cars on a short 1.5-mile circuit, that can create some unpredictable situations. But there’s no team more apt in dealing with that than Corvette Racing. We’ve proven it time and time again, and we will do again at Lime Rock this weekend.”
2017 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – GTLM Standings
(After Six of 11 Events)
- Antonio Garcia/Jan Magnussen – 182
- Alexander Sims/Bill Auberlen – 179
- Dirk Muller/Joey Hand – 172
- Richard Westbrook/Ryan Briscoe – 169
- Dirk Werner/Patrick Pilet – 159
- Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner – 151
- No. 3 Corvette Racing – 182
- No. 25 BMW Team RLL – 179
- No. 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing – 172
- No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing – 169
- No. 911 Porsche GT Team – 159
- No. 4 Corvette Racing – 151
- Chevrolet – 193
- Ford – 191
- BMW – 184
- Porsche – 174
- Ferrari – 112
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