Historic venue again welcomes GT Le Mans championship contenders
DETROIT (Aug. 3, 2016) – Less than two weeks after adding another chapter to its already impressive record book, Corvette Racing rolls into familiar territory in pursuit of strengthening its GT Le Mans (GTLM) championship lead and resume as sports car racing’s premier GT team.
Road America is the site of this weekend’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase – the eighth round of this year’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for GTLM teams. It’s a venue Corvette Racing knows well with thousands of miles in testing, development and competition over the years.
On the competition side, Corvette Racing has won at Road America six times since 2002. This weekend’s race will mark the second time in three months that the team and its four drivers have visited the picturesque 4.048-mile, 14-turn circuit an hour north of Milwaukee. Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, and teammates Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner in the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, tested at Road America in May ahead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Gavin and Milner are the GTLM Driver’s Championship leaders after seven races with three victories. Their most recent (two weeks ago at Lime Rock Park) was the 100th for the Corvette Racing program and made it the first team in IMSA (International Motor Sports Association) history to accomplish the feat.
Like their teammates, Garcia and Magnussen have reeled off two consecutive podium finishes to move up to third in Driver’s points. Corvette Racing’s efforts also have put Chevrolet out front in the GTLM Manufacturer’s Championship.
For the better part of 60 years Chevrolet has used Road America to showcase the Corvette as both a production showcase vehicle and top-line racecar. That dates back to the 1960s when Chevrolet leadership would traditionally test at and use the circuit to unveil high-performance production models including the original Stingray racer as well as the 1961 Mako Shark concept.
The Corvette Grand Sport, a legendary name within the Corvette community, found numerous successes at Road America; coincidentally the newest production Grand Sport – the 2017 model that blends the best of the Corvette Stingray and Corvette Z06 – will be
The Corvette brand also has been well represented at Road America with the famed Corvette Bridge, which first appeared in 1963 and then returned in 2011. It served to reaffirm the relationship between Road America and the Cross Flags.
The Corvette Racing program made its first racing appearance in 2002 as the American Le Mans Series made its Road America debut. Not surprisingly, a Corvette visited Victory Lane… and has five times since. 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.
Corvette Racing Display on Location at Road America
This weekend’s IMSA action will see plenty of Chevrolet and Chevy-powered vehicles on and off the track. A Chevrolet Corvette Z06 will pace the two headline events during the Continental Road Race Showcase weekend – the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship and Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.
In addition, the Corvette Racing Display will be open for fans starting Friday morning. Guests can learn all they need to know about Chevrolet and see a number of Chevy attractions:
- Award-winning Chevrolet 2016 production vehicles such as the Camaro – the 2016 Motor Trend Car of the Year
- A glimpse at two of Chevrolet’s newest offerings: the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport and 2017 Cruze Hatchback
- Additional Chevrolet vehicles including Silverado HD, Malibu and Equinox
- A Corvette C7.R show car
- Samples of Chevrolet engines, performance parts and accessories available to fans for purchase from their local Chevrolet dealer
- A variety of Chevrolet and racing related activities for adults and kids
- Commemorative t-shirts for fans who sign up with Corvette Racing.
The Corvette Racing display opens at 9 a.m., Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The two-hour, 40-minute Continental Tire Road Race Showcase from Road America is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. ET on Sunday, Aug. 7 It will air live on FOX Sports 1 starting at 4:05 p.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:
“The whole layout at Road America is very unique. You have every single corner you could imagine. It’s very demanding. Setup-wise you have to find a compromise between downforce and straight-line speed. It’s a classic race track – a little like Le Mans. If the car is good, then the track is fantastic. If it’s not, then you still enjoy it but not quite as much. (On aero setup) “It’s almost a wash. You’re not as fast with full downforce as you are if you trim it out. There is definitely a lot of compromise. It depends on how the tire works and how the wear is. If it’s good, you might can gamble a little bit more on aero.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS-XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“Elkhart Lake is another great track on our schedule and maybe the best one we go to. It has everything you could want in a track – high speeds, tough corners and elevation changes. The area is great, the history of Road America is great. We have had a lot of successes there and a lot of time around the track. We’ve raced there and tested there for Le Mans so we have a lot of data at our disposal. There are different ways you can approach the setup at Road America because of the high speed and track layout. With more downforce and aero than we’ve had in the past, we’ll have a lot to discuss with the engineers to give us the best chance of going fast and having success.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS-XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
I and the other drivers really enjoy going there. It’s always a good, fun track and one of the best in the country. It seems to be one where you can really open the car up and let it run. There are some good, challenging high-speed corners. Turn One is fast and an aggressive corner with a big brake zone. You can really attack the racetrack. And it’s a fun circuit to drive. Over the years it has seemed to suit the Corvettes and we’ve had a large amount of success there and good results. We test there nearly every year for Le Mans, including earlier this year. We all enjoy going there. The racing is good and very hard-fought. It’s just a good trip all-around for us.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS-XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“As drivers we have a pretty good grasp of Road America. It’s one of the best tracks we go to, and it lends itself well to sports car racing. The length of the track helps but the long straights followed by some big braking zones and slow corners that allow the strengths and weaknesses of every class to separate themselves. That makes it super enjoyable and you end up having some great races there.”
DOUG FEHAN, CORVETTE RACING PROGRAM MANAGER:
“If we look at all the racetracks on which we compete and the history that Corvette Racing has enjoyed at each of them, you could make the claim that none are more important that Road America. Elkhart Lake was the site of the very first Corvette Corral. You have the iconic Corvette Bridge, the Kettle Moraine, the food the people… all those things and more combine to make it our favorite venue in North America. Everyone on the team looks forward to coming here. The drivers love driving here. The fans are some of the most knowledgeable and dedicate that we have.”
2016 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – GTLM Standings
(After seven of 10 events)
- Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner – 228
- Ryan Briscoe/Richard Westbook – 218
- Antonio Garcia/Jan Magnussen – 197
- Bill Auberlen/Dirk Werner – 195
- Giancarlo Fisichella/Toni Vilander – 193
- No. 4 Corvette Racing – 228
- No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing – 218
- No. 3 Corvette Racing – 197
- No. 25 BMW Team RLL – 195
- No. 62 Risi Competizione – 193
- Chevrolet – 227
- Ford – 217
- Porsche – 209
- Ferrari – 204
- BMW – 200
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