Team returns to Connecticut for first time since 2013 ALMS season
DETROIT (July 19, 2016) – Corvette Racing’s tour of classic North American circuits continues this weekend with the team’s return to Lime Rock Park for the first time since 2013. The Northeast Grand Prix is the seventh race in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for the two-car program as Corvette Racing looks to reclaim its winning ways with a new generation of race car.
Saturday’s two-hour, 40-minute race – which airs live on the FOX network – is the first at the 1.54-mile, seven-turn circuit for the Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. It will look to add to the legacy established by its predecessors – the Corvette C5-R and Corvette C6.R race cars that combined to win four times at the circuit from 2004-2008.
The driver lineups for Corvette Racing remain the same as the team’s last Lime Rock appearance – Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R with GTLM Driver’s Championship leaders Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner in the No. 4 Corvette.
Of the driving roster, Gavin has found the most success with three victories at the circuit and pole position in 2008. Garcia and Magnussen were runners-up in both 2012 and 2013 in the final two years of the Corvette C6.R.
The challenges at Lime Rock Park are many, the quartet of Corvette Racing drivers say. The location of the track and time of year can make it one of the most taxing physically with the heat and humidity – even with on-board air conditioning in the Corvette C7.R
However, the lasting memory of Lime Rock Park according to the drivers is the incredible amount of traffic they typically must navigate on any given lap around the track. At Lime Rock, on average there will be one car for every 0.05 miles of race track. Compare that to one car per every 0.14 miles at Le Mans, which is 8.5 miles in length and featured 60 cars this year.
This year’s Lime Rock race features 32 cars and three of the four classes in the WeatherTech Championship.
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 two-hour, 40-minute Northeast Grand Prix is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 23 with live coverage on FOX. IMSA Radio coverage and Chevrolet on-board cameras will be available on IMSA.com.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS-XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“This race is very difficult on the strategy. It demands a lot from the drivers and the engineers. Every lap counts, and there will be a lot of them. You can lose a lot of time and laps if everything isn’t perfect on a pit stop, for example. Track position is very important as it’s difficult to pass there. The last time we were there, Jan and I finished second. It’s a big challenge for the team, the drivers and engineers. I hope we can put on a good show.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS-XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“Lime Rock definitely is a unique track for us and one that I enjoy. Racing there reminds me a lot of some of the Touring Car and Thundersport events I’ve done in Denmark. It’s very close-quarters racing and you don’t have any time to rest. You have to be super-focused on every lap because of the traffic. There are penalties to be had for making even small mistakes there so you have to be nearly perfect to contend for a win. It has been a few years since we last raced there and it would be nice to continue the momentum from Canada a couple of weeks ago… and even move up a couple steps on the podium.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS-XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“It’s the shortest circuit and shortest lap we run every year, but it always has been a challenge physically and mentally with the heat and humidity this time of year. Historically the grip level has been quite low there. You always feel you’re racing everyone all the time because it is so crowded. Physically it’s not that difficult but mentally it can really sap you. You’re constantly coming around to the same spot on the track again, again and again. You can almost get dizzy there because you’re coming around so fast!”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS-XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“There are great fans who always turned out well when we raced there with the American Le Mans Series. It’s always a challenge because the track is so physical; there are no breaks there. Right in the middle of the summertime, that area around the track is gets really hot and humid. So physically it’s demanding, and it will be a big challenge in that regard. We’re going back after a couple of years with the extra downforce in the cars; we should see some pretty quick lap times, which will make it even more demanding. For that, it’s exciting with that challenge. It can be pretty hard to pass there. Based on how the classes line up, it could be a very challenging race. I know there are a lot of fans that were disappointed that our class hasn’t been back there for a few years, so I hope they show up in droves for this year’s race.”
DOUG FEHAN, CORVETTE RACING PROGRAM MANAGER:
“It was only about a month ago when we were at the longest track on which we compete. We’re now headed to the shortest track on which we will race. That presents a myriad of challenges for crew, the drivers and the engineers. Our level of experience and diversity of capabilities should prove to be a real benefit for when we compete at Lime Rock.”
2016 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – GTLM Standings
(After six of 10 events)
- Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner – 192
- Ryan Briscoe/Richard Westbook – 187
- Bill Auberlen/Dirk Werner – 170
- Earl Bamber/Frederic Makowiecki – 166
- Antonio Garcia/Jan Magnussen – 164 / Giancarlo Fisichella/Toni Vilander – 164
- No. 4 Corvette Racing – 192
- No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing – 187
- No. 25 BMW Team RLL – 170
- No. 912 Porsche North America – 166
- No. 3 Corvette Racing – 164
- Chevrolet – 192
- Ford – 185
- Porsche – 181
- BMW – 174
- Ferrari – 174