A third straight IMSA victory would give Corvette Racing 100 wins in program history
DETROIT (April 12, 2016) – Since its first race in 1999, Corvette Racing has accumulated one of sports car racing’s most enviable records. Now the sport’s leading GT team is on the verge of reaching another milestone as it heads west for the next two races of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) season.
Corvette Racing’s next victory will be its 100th – a mark that no other North American professional sports car entrant can come close to matching. The first opportunity to claim No. 100 comes this weekend at the Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix from the famed Long Beach street circuit. It will be Corvette Racing’s 10th appearance at Long Beach with five class wins already in-hand.
Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner, who share the No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, arrive at Long Beach with consecutive wins in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. As a result, the pairing leads in GT Le Mans (GTLM) points for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Gavin and Milner won together at Long Beach in 2012 to start their run to the American Le Mans Series GT title. Gavin has two other Long Beach wins to his credit – 2007 and 2009.
Corvette Racing’s two-car effort also includes Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen in the No. 3 Corvette C7.R. They recorded the C7.R’s first victory in the 2014 Long Beach race – the first of four straight in IMSA competition. The Garcia/Magnussen duo were third last year, and Magnussen had previously won at Long Beach in 2007.
The 100-minute Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix is the shortest event on Corvette Racing’s 2016 schedule. It is part of the Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend, now in its 42nd year. The event is one of racing’s most recognized around the world with a picturesque 1.968-mile, 11-turn street circuit that sits on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.
A total of 25 cars are entered for this year’s IMSA race, which in addition to GTLM includes the Prototype category and the Prototype Challenge field. It’s a larger grid than in years past, which will add to the challenge of an already tricky and narrow street course.
The 2016-spec Corvette C7.R is an updated racecar due to changes in Automobile Club de l’Ouest regulations for top-level GT cars that compete in the IMSA GTLM class. There are a number of aerodynamic changes including a larger splitter at the front and diffuser at the rear of the Corvette. Side skirts and a repositioned wing also are among the most notable changes, along with updated safety features that are now mandated on all GTLM cars.
The powertrain on the Corvette C7.R is unchanged from 2015 with a 5.5-liter V-8 Chevrolet small block powering the race car. The Corvette C7.R will use E20 fuel during the IMSA season and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix of Long Beach is set for 4:05 p.m. PT on Saturday. It will air live on FOX Sports 2 with tape-delayed broadcasts on FOX Sports 1 at 11 p.m. ET on Saturday and 12:30 p.m. ET on Sunday. Live audio coverage from IMSA Radio is available on IMSA.com.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“Long Beach is always a nice event. It has been good for Jan and I for the last couple of years with a win and a podium in our Corvette C7.R. It’s only a 100-minute race so the timing and execution of the pit stop will be key. You hope you don’t have anything go wrong and have to make more than one stop. There will be more cars on the track this year, so the chances of more full-course yellows are greater, which can interfere with strategy. One mistake can end your race or someone else’s.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“Things are a little bit different for Antonio and I going to Long Beach than the last couple of years. There has been nothing wrong with our speed and performance. We lost out by less than a car length at Daytona and were leading at Sebring before a crash took us out. So we’re behind on points but we can’t panic yet. A lot can happen at Long Beach even though it’s only 100 minutes.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“It’s always interesting going to Long Beach. You go from two of the longest races of the year to the shortest. It’s definitely a different mindset. You have one pit stop and one driver change. It’s all about making sure you can execute as fast and as well as possible. Tommy and I have had a fantastic start, and we’re full of confidence. Our Corvette has been running extremely well. Coming into this race with the points lead is great. But this is a totally different beast. You have to switch hats a little but fundamentally the car setup and how we attack a race weekend is somewhat similar to how we have so far this year. We know the race is extremely short and sweet. We have to execute thoroughly.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“Long Beach feels like a whole new challenge compared to Daytona and Sebring. Our success at Daytona and Sebring is a nice reward for the hard work the whole team has put in but Long Beach will be a new challenge for us. We need to be fast right away if we want to be successful this weekend but be aware of the risk of making a mistake as that will undoubtedly hamper our chances. Oliver and I come into the race with the points lead and we will be working hard with Corvette Racing to help keep that momentum going.”
DOUG FEHAN, CORVETTE RACING PROGRAM MANAGER:
“Corvette Racing is off to another exceptional start. We have proven we are the top endurance GT team in racing. Now we will test ourselves in the shortest race of the season at 100 minutes in Long Beach. The nature of this and any street circuit elevates the level of risk, but it’s an aspect of the event we have mastered before. Long Beach is always an entertaining race that draws some of the largest crowds we see every year. We’re looking to put on another exciting show for them.”
2016 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – GTLM Standings
(After two of 10 events)
- Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler – 72
- Earl Bamber/Michael Christensen/Frederic Makowiecki – 62
- Bill Auberlen/ Bruno Spengler/Dirk Werner – 60
- Antonio Garcia/Jan Magnussen/Mike Rockenfeller – 56
- David Rigdon/Giancarlo Fisichella/Toni Vilander – 55
- No. 4 Corvette Racing – 72
- No. 912 Porsche North America – 62
- No. 25 BMW Team RLL – 60
- No. 3 Corvette Racing – 56
- No. 62 Risi Competizione – 55
- Chevrolet – 72
- Porsche – 62
- BMW – 60
- Ferrari – 58
- Ford – 52
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