First pole position for Corvette Racing at Daytona since 2000
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 22, 2015) – For the first time in 15 years, Corvette Racing will start the Rolex 24 At Daytona from pole position. Oliver Gavin was the fastest qualifier in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in the No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R on Thursday at Daytona International Speedway.
Gavin turned a best lap of 1:43.488 (123.840 mph) in the Corvette C7.R that he will share this weekend with Tommy Milner and Simon Pagenaud. Gavin is the first Corvette Racing driver since Ron Fellows in 2000 to earn fastest-qualifier honors at the Rolex 24. He was 0.342 seconds quicker than the next fastest qualifier as the second season for the Corvette C7.R got off to a roaring start.
“We have a year under our belts with this car, so we know what we need to do with it to be a bit better,” Gavin said. “We’re optimistic for the race. It’s 24 hours – a long one that’s brutally hard. The cold will play a big factor into it, plus how the traffic works. There is a huge load of ramifications here. We’re pleased to be on pole. I’m delighted for everyone at Team Chevy and Corvette Racing.”
Jan Magnussen, driving with Antonio Garcia and Ryan Briscoe in the No. 3 Corvette C7.R, qualified fifth in class and was instrumental in Gavin’s pole position. Gavin was able to draft off Magnussen on the oval part of the circuit in the opening half of the 15-minute session. The two cars switched positions for the final three laps, and Magnussen’s best lap of 1:43.976 (123.259 mph) was his last time around.
The No. 4 Corvette was a force in its 2014 debut race at Daytona and led the race into the final three hours before a mechanical malady forced a lengthy stop. Corvette Racing tested twice in late 2014 before returning to Daytona two weeks ago for the annual Roar Before the 24. The Corvette C7.Rs – based on the road-going 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 – were third- and sixth-quickest in the three-day test.
The 2015 TUDOR United Sports Car Championship begins with the 53rd Rolex 24 at Daytona from Jan. 24-25 at Daytona International Speedway. Coverage will alternate between FOX Network, FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2 and IMSA.com. Flag-to-flag radio coverage will be available via IMSA Radio.
Here’s a replay of the qualifying session. GTLM starts at 25:58:
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“We’re now a year in with the Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. The guys at Corvette Racing have done a fantastic job. I have to thank Jan a lot; he towed me around a lot on that lap and helped me get this pole position so I have to thank him for that. I tried to repay him for that by towing him around for a few laps. I just had a little bit of extra straight-line speed. I’m really thrilled to start 2015 with a bang and pole position.
“We didn’t think we had the overall pace to get pole. I think it was just a perfect qualifying session. I went out just behind Jan, and everything seemed to sync into place – the tire pressures, the temperatures. I think our car was a little bit better that Jan’s and just chipped away at it. But without the tow from Jan, I don’t think we would have had pole. It was a great bit of teamwork. From the session before, we had taken some bits and pieces from what the other car had found, some bits and pieces from what we had been working on. We trimmed the car out a little bit more and it felt really good. That’s giving us good confidence for the race.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“We ran into a little bit of trouble with the setup. It wasn’t what we had expected. It’s nice we could work together and get the best out of it that we could. It was a fantastic lap from Oliver. We didn’t quite have what it took to be further up the front but we have another couple of sessions to work a little on the setup. We have a pretty good idea of what to do; we just went the wrong way. It’s a long race. If we can improve it just a little bit and make it a little more comfortable, we’ll have a really, really good race car.”
DOUG FEHAN, CORVETTE RACING PROGRAM MANAGER
“What we saw today was a culmination of three years of hard work – a year spent testing, a year spent racing and now entering the third year of development and second year of racing for the Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. Even more important than the development of the car was the demonstration of the teamwork between the No. 3 Corvette and No. 4 Corvette. Jan gave Olly the tow, and that’s what allowed him to achieve that pole position. That speaks volumes about how tightly and closely this team works. I couldn’t be more proud.”
DOUG LOUTH, CORVETTE RACING TECHNICAL DIRECTOR
“We are really happy with our driver team. The way Jan and Oliver worked together in qualifying was magic. It’s not that often you get guys in different cars willing to do that, but we have one of the best six-driver teams in endurance racing.”
53rd Rolex 24 At Daytona – GT Le Mans (all times ET)
- TUDOR Practice 4: 11:25 a.m., Friday, Jan. 23
- Race: 2:10 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 24
Daytona: Watch It! (all times ET)
- 2-4 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 24 (FOX)
- 4-8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 24 (FOX Sports 2)
- 8-10 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 24 (FOX Sports 1)
- 10 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 24-7 a.m., Sunday, Jan. 25 (IMSA.com)
- 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 25 (FOX Sports 1)
Corvette Racing Links for the 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona
Corvette Racing at Daytona: Start of a New Season
IndyCar Stars Pagenaud and Briscoe Join Corvette Racing for Daytona and Sebring
IndyCar Driver Simon Pagenaud May Join Corvette Racing for Endurance Races
Corvette Racing Working To Improve the Corvette C7.R