GT-only race means Corvette Racing will go for overall TUDOR victory
DETROIT (Aug. 18, 2015) – Corvette Racing – and the rest of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship’s GT Le Mans class – takes center stage this weekend at Virginia International Raceway. The Oak Tree Grand Prix at VIR is a GT-only event for the TUDOR Championship with GTLM and the GT Daytona class. It means that Chevrolet’s Corvette Racing team – with 97 class victories around the world – is in prime position to win an overall event for the second time.
The first, of course, was the 2001 Rolex 24 At Daytona. This weekend’s race length is just two hours, 40 minutes but it will be all-out from the start, drivers say. Corvette Racing already knows the formula to winning at VIR, having done so in 2012 with Oliver Gavin and Virginia’s Tommy Milner. Not only did the two win a four-hour American Le Mans Series, they clinched that year’s GT Championship in the American Le Mans Series.
This year it’s Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen who lead the GTLM standings in their No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. Winners this year at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring, the pairing finished on the podium two years ago in their run to the ALMS GT title.
Gavin and Milner arrive at VIR as the reigning GTE Pro winners at the 24 Hours of Le Mans – the eighth victory there for Corvette Racing. Milner, who hails from Ashburn in the northern part of Virginia, claimed his first professional pole position in 2004 as part of the GRAND-AM GT class. He also won a GRAND-AM race at VIR the following year.
Corvette Racing and the rest of the IMSA competition this weekend will race on VIR’s 3.27-mile, 17-turn full course. It’s a blend of slower, technical turns early and late in the lap along with an uphill section of high-speed esses and a long backstraight.
The Oak Tree Grand Prix from Virginia International Raceway is set for 1:05 p.m. ET on Sunday, Aug. 23. Live TV coverage begins at 1 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1. Flag-to-flag radio coverage also will be available via IMSA Radio.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“Even though this is a two-class race this weekend, VIR is still a tough challenge. The GTD cars will be faster than us in a straight line, so we will have to be aggressive in a lot of the corners and under braking to get by them. Fortunately we have a good balance with our Corvette C7.R and it changes direction very well. That is helpful on the early part of the lap toward the Esses and then the last couple of corner combinations. Given the landscape of GTLM right now, Jan and I will need to maximize every strength to keep our championship lead.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“I’m looking forward to getting back to VIR. Missing last year’s race after crashing on fluid from another car in practice was unpleasant but that’s in the past. The focus for Antonio and myself this year is to maintain our GTLM points lead. It won’t be easy as VIR is a big challenge with a good mix of high speeds and technical sections. Typically the Corvette is very good on those types of circuits where braking and good grip to power down is key. We hope that’s the case again this weekend.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“It seems like our Corvette should be well-suited to the track at VIR. You need a car that has decent top speed but handles well on the slower, more technical part of the circuit. Certainly Tommy and I have very fond memories of our win at VIR in 2012. Everything just seemed to click into place. It could have gone all wrong at Turn 1. I arrived with cars spinning everywhere and tried to avoid everyone by going in the grass. There was a spinning prototype in front of me and somehow I didn’t hit it. After that, things settled in and ran to plan. It was a magical day for everyone at Corvette Racing. It was a great way to win a championship and very satisfying to do.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“VIR is one of those really good traditional, old-style tracks. It’s a place that is incredibly challenging just by yourself with the high-speed esses and a couple of low-speed sections to start the lap. It can e bard to pass there. Track position is important there. For me, it’s the closest race I have to home, and I’ve had success there in the past. Every year, the staff at VIR spends a lot of time and effort to make the facility better, and we’re looking forward to seeing the work they’ve done.
DOUG FEHAN, CORVETTE RACING PROGRAM MANAGER:
“The rolling hills of Virginia have provided VIR with some very dynamic real estate on which to build one of the most beautiful racetracks in North America. As we head south, we are entering the final portion of our season and with every GTLM championship up for grabs. With only the GT cars competing here, it will definitely remind the fans of GT racing of old and will be very fun to watch in person and on television. Corvette Racing is certainly looking forward to this format. We plan to do all we can, with what we have been given, to move closer to securing our next Championship.”
TUDOR Championship – GTLM Standings (After seven events)
- Antonio Garcia/Jan Magnussen – 217
- Bill Auberlen/Dirk Werner – 213
- Patrick Pilet – 176
- John Edwards/Lucas Luhr – 204
- Giancarlo Fisischella/Pierre Kaffer – 202
* 8. Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner – 182
- No. 3 Corvette Racing – 217
- No. 25 BMW Team RLL – 213
- No. 911 Porsche N. America – 212
- No. 24 BMW Team RLL – 204
- No. 62 Risi Competizione – 202
* 8. No. 4 Corvette Racing – 182
- Porsche – 225
- BMW – 222
- Chevrolet – 218
- Ferrari – 210
Oak Tree Grand Prix – GT Le Mans (all times ET)
- TUDOR Practice 1: 11:45 a.m., Friday, Aug. 21
- TUDOR Practice 2: 4 p.m., Friday, Aug. 21
- TUDOR Practice 3: 9:55 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 22
- TUDOR GTLM Qualifying: 5:05 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 22 (IMSA.com)
- TUDOR Warmup: 8:35 a.m., Sunday, Aug. 23
- Race: 1:05 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 23 (1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1)
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