LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 16, 2016) – Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner extended their GT Le Mans (GTLM) championship lead with a runner-up finish in their No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R at Saturday’s Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix.
The GTLM race was a Corvette 1-2 for most of the race’s second half. Milner and Gavin appeared headed for their third straight victory to open the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) season until Milner was hit from behind by Fred Makowiecki’s Porsche entering the final turn with two minutes left in the race. Despite the contact, Milner recovered to finish second.
Corvette Racing was going for the 100th victory in program history. Starting fourth in class, Gavin had to pit 30 minutes into the race with a suspected left-front tire puncture. It changed the strategy of the race with Milner having to go 70 minutes on a tank of E20. He took the lead with 53 minutes remaining. The race’s only full-course caution erased an 11-second lead over teammate Antonio Garcia in the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette, which Jan Magnussen qualified and started from fifth.
The restart saw the two Corvettes nearly nose-to-tail for the better part of 20 minutes. Unfortunately Garcia’s Corvette spun at Turn 4 with nine minutes left. He made it back to pit lane but the car couldn’t be repaired. He and Magnussen finished ninth.
The race stayed green until the finish despite the incident in the final corner that knocked Milner from the lead. The No. 4 Corvette did win the Dekra Green Award, which goes to the GTLM car that best combines performance with efficiency.
The next race for Corvette Racing and Corvette DPs is the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday, May 1.
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED SECOND IN GTLM:
“It was fairly well under control until I had a wiggle apparently. But that wiggle was tiny. I just got wrecked basically. Two Porsches running nose to tail… it is pretty clear what happened there. It is pretty disappointing that this is the kind of racing we have here where we are better than that for sure. At the end of the day, it could have been worse for us for sure. Second place is obviously great points. Oliver was unlucky there with the puncture (tire) and it was looking pretty bleak for us for a little bit there. But with the yellow, and we were at the right spot there at the end. There were very difficult conditions there after the yellow flag I was locking fronts all over the place and then the tires came back and they were good. Then with three to go, just taken out. It’s disappointing but certainly could have been a lot worse. I don’t mind finishing second if it is clean and it happens the right way, but that wasn’t the right way. It hurts a little bit to be second in this case the way it happened, but again, end of the day second place is great points for us. We can hold our heads high that we raced as hard as we could today, the right way.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED SECOND IN GTLM:
“When you look back on today at the end of the year, we would hope that this was one where we ended up getting a good result from it. Yes, we felt like we got robbed of the victory. But with the puncture we had early-on and the pit stop, Tommy having to save fuel, the tires only lasting for so long… for us to come away with second place is a very good result. If you had asked us after the pit stop or told us we were going to finish second, yes we would definitely taken that. It is a little hard to swallow right now. We felt like we were going to win and we were robbed of that.”
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED NINTH IN GTLM:
“It was not the outcome we expected. We played our strategy very smart. With the pace we had early, we showed that we had to do something. We didn’t have the fastest car but we were – up until the yellow – first and second. For sure the first yellow helped the 4 car stay in the lead. The Porsches were very fast. If I wanted to stay ahead of them, I needed to have the best drive of my career. There was a lot of pressure from them. Maybe there were some taps but nothing special. Then a mistake happened. I can’t say I felt contact. We probably need to view the replay but I was driving the whole race on the limit. That’s what happens on a street circuit sometimes. It can bite you at some point. I wasn’t going to be happy to finish second, so I was doing all I could to try to win the race.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED NINTH IN GTLM:
“My stint itself was pretty uneventful. I wasn’t really in a position to attack anybody. We started getting messed up in traffic and lost a lot of ground to the guys in front. I tried to take care of things, but it was difficult. We did a bunch of laps in qualifying, so we were starting to lose a lot of performance in the tire. I was just taking care of things.”
Corvette Racing at Long Beach: Gavin, Magnussen Part of Tight GTLM Fight
Corvette Racing at Long Beach: Race-Winning Momentum Heads West
Five Crazy Moments for Corvette Racing at the Twelve Hours of Sebring