Still in the driver’s seat for all three GTLM championships
DETROIT (Sept. 19, 2017) – With two races left in this year’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Corvette Racing is hoping this weekend’s results at a very familiar venue will boost its advantage in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) points battle.
The team will race for the 19th consecutive year at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – more than any other active team in the IMSA paddock – with hopes of tightening its grip on another GTLM title. The 11-turn, 2.238-mile circuit has been good to the team with seven victories including three in a row from 2012-14.
Heading into Sunday’s American Tire 250, Corvette Racing and Chevrolet lead all three GTLM points categories. The tightest race is the Manufacturer’s Championship, which Chevrolet leads by just two points. The Bowtie Brand has won 11 Manufacturer’s titles since Corvette Racing debuted in 1999 – the season in which it also raced at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the first time. In fact, the track is one of only three at which Corvette Racing has competed in each season. The others are Sebring and Road Atlanta.
Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen, teammates in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, lead Driver’s Championship on the strength of three victories this season. That includes an overall victory in the GT-only race at VIR last month. They haven’t trailed in the championship since winning at Circuit of The Americas in May, and the pairing also won the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with Mike Rockenfeller.
The Garcia/Magnussen pairing leads the Driver’s Championship by 16 points but 72 possible points remain over the final two races – Monterey and then Road Atlanta’s 10-hour Petit Le Mans in two weeks. They also won at Laguna Seca in 2013 and 2014.
Before that, Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner teamed to win in class during the 2012 Monterey weekend. They are back again in the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R in search of their second victory of the year. They have tremendous potential to gain valuable points in the Manufacturer’s battle and support the sister car in the Driver’s and Team championships.
All four Corvette Racing drivers have won multiple times in the professional ranks at Laguna Seca. Gavin and Magnussen lead the roster with four; each of Gavin’s has been with Corvette Racing. Garcia has three wins in Monterey and Milner owns two victories.
The America’s Tire 250 from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is set for 2:05 p.m. PT on Sunday, Sept. 24. FOX Sports 1 will air the race live starting at 2 p.m. ET. Live audio coverage from IMSA Radio and a Corvette Racing In-Car feed will be available on IMSA.com.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“We have been able to hold and most times extend our championship lead for the last couple of months. Even though we didn’t win a race between COTA and Virginia, our Corvette team was consistent and made no mistakes. Now that we have won at VIR, our points advantage is more significant but we cannot relax. The GTLM competition over the final two races will be the strongest as it has been all season. That is why we need to continue doing the things we have been this weekend at Laguna Seca – good strategy and pit work by the team and no mistakes by the drivers. If we do that, we will be in great shape heading to Atlanta.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“The win at Virginia was huge. We really needed that for the championship, and now Antonio and I have a significant lead in the points. We are confident but not comfortable with our advantage – especially in the Manufacturer’s race with Chevrolet leading by just two points. There are still too many laps in the season for us to rest. That is especially true at a place like Laguna Seca, where there are a number of places where you can run into trouble. The grip level around the track can vary greatly in short amounts of time so you have to be very careful not to get too far off the racing surface. Corvette Racing has had a lot of success over our many years in Monterey. We are all confident we can add to that again this year.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“Although our championship position isn’t what we had hoped at this point in the year, we on the No. 4 Corvette team still have a lot to race for. Our focus has to be on helping secure the Manufacturer’s Championship for Chevrolet and supporting the No. 3 Corvette in its championship run. It’s wonderful to have that opportunity at Laguna Seca in the fall once again. The track itself is iconic – one of the best-known in the world – and is one where we have almost 20 years of history and positive results. We would happily take another of those weekends in both our Corvette C7.Rs.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“In years past, we’ve always come into Laguna still learning about the Michelin tire and updates we’ve done in the offseason. Coming here later in the year will be a little different for us in that respect. We have a better grasp on tires, chassis setup and things like that. So we’re maximizing the package we have. Unfortunately we haven’t had good results the last few races. At VIR, we did show that we were pretty darn quick there toward the end of the race. Although we may not have had the best finishes, we’ve had a competitive Corvette. We can definitely be a huge help in the Manufacturer’s Championship. The guys on the No. 3 Corvette have had done a great job with strategy, having a fast car and not making mistakes; I don’t expect that to change much. They feel comfortable, and I think the team feels comfortable that if something does go wrong that Olly and I can easily pick up the slack to help Chevrolet and the team score what are becoming valuable points as the season winds down.”
DOUG FEHAN, CORVETTE RACING PROGRAM MANAGER:
“We’re back at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the fall, as it should be! This is one of the most iconic tracks at which we race, and for good reason: elevation changes – most notably the Corkscrew – plus an unpredictable track surface and full range of temperatures. The change to September also makes this much more important in terms of the GTLM championship. Even though we’re leading, the margin of error is razor thin. The crew, engineers, drivers… everyone at Corvette Racing will have to be on their game to make sure we arrive at Road Atlanta with as many championship points as possible.”
2017 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – GTLM Standings
(After Nine of 11 Events)
1. Antonio Garcia/Jan Magnussen – 274
2. Alexander Sims/Bill Auberlen – 258
3. Dirk Muller/Joey Hand – 257
4. Richard Westbrook/Ryan Briscoe – 257
5. Dirk Werner/Patrick Pilet – 240
8. Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner – 225
1. No. 3 Corvette Racing – 274
2. No. 25 BMW Team RLL – 258
3. No. 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing – 257
4. No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing – 257
5. No. 911 Porsche GT Team – 240
8. No. 4 Corvette Racing – 225
1. Chevrolet – 288
2. Ford – 286
3. BMW – 272
4. Porsche – 267
5. Ferrari – 142
[VIDEO] Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin Looks Back on His Career in Sports Car Racing
Corvette Racing at VIR: Season’s Third Win for Garcia, Magnussen
[VIDEO] Corvette Racing’s Dan Binks Shows Off the New SONIC Toolbox