Front-row start in GT Le Mans for Garcia, No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R
BRASELTON, Ga. (Sept. 30, 2016) – Corvette Racing will race for the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class titles in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship from the first and fourth rows following an intensely close qualifying session Friday for Petit Le Mans powered by Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort at Road Atlanta.
Antonio Garcia was second-fastest in GTLM with a lap of 1:18.283 (116.8 mph) in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. His time was just 0.152 seconds off the pole-winning time, and the 10 cars in class were within 0.735 seconds.
Tommy Milner set a best lap of 1:18.468 (116.5 mph) in the GTLM championship-leading No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R to place seventh. He and Oliver Gavin lead the Driver’s Championship – as does the No. 4 Corvette in the Team standings – by 11 points.
At stake in Saturday’s 10-hour race is a sweep of the three GTLM titles. Chevrolet will win its 11th Manufacturer title in the production-based ranks as long as one of the two Corvette C7.Rs take the start. The Bowtie Brand already is the GTLM class’s most successful manufacturer since 2014 with 11 class victories.
Milner and Oliver Gavin, who will drive with Marcel Fässler, need a seventh-place finish Saturday to secure their second Driver’s Championship together; they won the American Le Mans Series’ GT title in 2012. The trio in the No. 4 Corvette swept the first two races this season at Daytona and Sebring while the Milner/Gavin duo won at Lime Rock and Road America.
Garcia and Jan Magnussen, who will team with Mike Rockenfeller, are in a points race of their own. A runner-up finish Saturday would give them third place in the class with an overall victory at VIR last month to their credit. Garcia and Magnussen also were second at Daytona and Lime Rock to their teammates.
The 10-hour Petit Le Mans presented by Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort from Road Atlanta is scheduled for 11:10 a.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 1 It will air live on FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2, FOX Sports Go and IMSA.tv 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 – QUALIFIED SECOND IN GTLM:
“It was close to the front, but also very close to being all the way at the back. Basically that is how it is in GTLM. The Corvette behaved how we expected. The track was obviously a lot different that it was this morning (in practice) after several hours between Practice Three and qualifying with all these races in between. I think we did a good job on guessing on what the track would do. The track was definitely slower than this morning but we followed what it would do. I didn’t put together a complete lap. I did three almost identical laps; if you take the best part of each lap, I’m sure I could be up front. So it is always good to have the pole position, but we have had a couple this year. We just need to win this one.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS-XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – QUALIFIED SEVENTH IN GTLM:
“It is super close. We have been able to see it all weekend. The lap times were all very close. At first I struggled a bit finding a comfort level in the car; we had it better for this morning. Certainly you can tell that track conditions changed quite a bit because the car this morning was great, but it sounds like for everybody it was a struggle. Good job to all those guys. It certainly wasn’t easy out there.
“It’s a little frustrating there to see the timing screen with two fast sectors and a slow one at the end. It wouldn’t have been pole but it would have moved us up a little bit. But in any case it is a 10-hour race.
“It’s funny how things ended up there with our main rival in first and us in seventh place. That could be a good thing; it could be bad thing. Who knows? I would be happy with things a way they are right now. I’m happy with how the car felt. So I have a lot of confidence going in to tomorrow’s race.”
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