First pole of 2016 season for Chevrolet Corvette C7.R
BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada (July 9, 2016) – Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia claimed pole position Saturday for the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class as sports car racing’s premier GT team looks for its 12th victory at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Garcia, driving the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, set a lap of 1:15.198 (117.7 mph) in the 15-minute qualifying session. It was the first pole position at the track for Garcia, who will go for his second career victory at CTMP with teammate Jan Magnussen. The pairing won in class at the 2.459-mile, 10-turn circuit in 2014 and placed third a year ago.
A victory in Sunday’s two-hour, 40-minute race would make it an even dozen for Corvette Racing at the historic Canadian road course. The team’s first victory here came in 2001, and Corvette Racing has won twice in the last three years. The win also would give the team its 100th all-time program victory.
Garcia led a highly competitive GTLM field in qualifying as the fastest seven cars were within 0.582 seconds. Among those was Oliver Gavin in the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R with the sixth-fastest time in class. The co-leader in the GTLM Driver’s Championship with Tommy Milner, Gavin’s best lap was a 1:15.549 (117.1 mph) to end up 0.351 seconds off Garcia’s time but also barely one-tenth of a second from the second row in class.
Gavin and Milner hold an eight-point lead in the Driver’s Championship with Chevrolet leading by seven points in the manufacturer standings. The pairing won together in Canada in the 2013 American Le Mans Series race.
The two-hour, 40-minute Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix presented by Hawk Performance is scheduled for 11:05 a.m. ET on Sunday, July 10. It will air live on FOX Sports 1 starting at 11 a.m. ET with IMSA Radio coverage and Chevrolet on-board cameras available on IMSA.com.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS-XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – GTLM POLE-WINNER:
“Everyone at Corvette Racing did a fantastic job. We really like this track, and our records reflect that. It will be a tough race but I am very pleased with the result today. We are always very strong here, and I was looking forward to qualifying. Track position is very important here so I think we are in a very strong position. It’s nice to be up there near the front and fighting. The car has felt pretty decent all year long. At points we were just lacking some speed. But we have to do our jobs. If we do our pit stops in the right way have the right strategy, execution and do everything at 100 percent, then you can be in a position for a win.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS-XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – QUALIFIED SIXTH IN GTLM:
“After the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race, the circuit was very slick and maybe we were banking on the track to have more grip in it. I had a very loose and nervous car throughout. Traction was compromised out of Turn Five, and we were running a stiffer package than the sister car. We know which way to go. I think we have a car that can get to the front, but we need to get it calmed down at the rear. The problem here is that passing is very difficult and track position is everything. That’s why qualifying is so important here. This is most probably – apart from Long Beach – one of the most important qualifying sessions of the year because it’s so hard to pass. I’m frustrated that we’re not further up the grid. We’ll have to work at it and see. Anything can happen in these races. The guys did a great job in the pits at Watkins Glen to gain us positions. We’ll have to keep digging.”
DOUG FEHAN, CORVETTE RACING PROGRAM MANAGER:
“Those who follow Corvette Racing know that pole position is never a primary objective of this team. However, you only need to look at history to see what played a significant role in our success today. We’ve spent 17 years racing at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park with the same team, the same cars and many of the same drivers and team members. When you spend that amount of time at any one place, chances are that you’re going to excel. Today was a great demonstration of our engineering, our implementation and our drivers.”
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