Perennial GT powerhouse program to make 12th appearance at famed street event
DETROIT (April 10, 2018) – After opening its 20th season of competition with two long-distance races in Florida, Corvette Racing makes its annual trip to the West Coast this week for the shortest event on its calendar in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The defending IMSA GT Le Mans (GTLM) championship-winning program will race for the 12th time at the Grand Prix of Long Beach, the longest-running street race in America. No team in the IMSA paddock has more appearances and victories at Long Beach than Corvette Racing – numbers that it will look to pad at Saturday’s Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix, which will air live on FOX.
Although the race is 100 minutes – compared to the 24- and 12-hour events that opened Corvette Racing’s season – Long Beach is often the most tense with very little room for error. Part of that is due to the concrete barriers and close-quarters racing that comes with the 1.968-mile, 11-turn circuit. The other is mostly due to limited time to make up for mistakes during what is expected to be a one-stop race in the pits and from a standpoint of strategy.
No one has done that longer or better than Corvette Racing. The team has claimed six victories in 11 previous tries including a victory last year for Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner in the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. It was the second victory for the tandem at Long Beach and the fourth for Gavin at the venue – more than any other current IMSA driver.
Last year’s victory came at the expense of teammates Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. The duo was leading on the last lap when a multi-car accident blocked the track at the final corner. Garcia became stranded in one lane while Milner was able to sneak through after briefly being stopped in the incident as well.
Magnussen and Garcia scored the first victory for the Corvette C7.R in 2014 at Long Beach, and no driver has a record of going faster in GT cars around Long Beach than Magnussen. He has three pole positions – including last year – and two fastest race laps.
Corvette Racing stands sixth and seventh in GTLM points after two events with Chevrolet third in the Manufacturer’s standings.
Chevrolet, Corvette on Display at Long Beach
Along with its two, familiar yellow Corvette C7.Rs on the Long Beach race track this weekend, Chevrolet also will have a presence off it with its Corvette Racing Display, which will be located inside the Long Beach Convention Center.
Opening on Friday, the Corvette Racing Display features a number of Chevrolet vehicles and products for spectators to view and learn more information.
Among the Chevrolet automobiles on display will be the new Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 – a supercar that establishes a new standard at Chevrolet for power output, track performance and technology. Also among the lineup of Chevrolets at the Display include:
- Performance models such as the Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport, Camaro SS and Colorado ZR2.
- Production vehicles like the Tahoe RST, Silverado 2500 HD High Country and premier models of the Cruze, 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 Corvette Racing 20th Season t-shirts for fans who sign up with Corvette Racing.
The Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach will air live at 4 p.m. ET on FOX. Live audio coverage of practice, qualifying and the race from IMSA Radio is available on IMSA.com.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“Every year at Long Beach is different. It’s our shortest race of the year with ether one or two stops. The strategy can be very complicated there. People who go out of sequence early because of an issue can have things turn around in their favor by the end of the race. That’s what happened to us last year after an early puncture. We went pretty aggressive on the strategy fuel-wise and ended up having a shot at the end. What happened at the last corner was of course unfortunate. We’ll learn from that. In the heat of the moment and you hear the last corner is blocked, you don’t stop racing. Perhaps I should have been more calm and patient. It was a weird way of losing the race, but fortunately it didn’t really impact our championship. For Corvette Racing, Long Beach has always been really good with a number of victories. We need to carry on with that and do the things that made us successful in the past.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“At Long Beach, you need a little more luck that usual. You really have to nail the pit stop because it’s such a short sequence and race. It’s difficult to get the driver change and everything done before the car is ready to get released and back on the track. If you hit that, you can put yourself in a good position. We’ve historically been really good there with great results. Last year we were looking at another good one but it was taken away in the cruelest manner. But I’m looking forward to another good race there so we can hopefully get back in the fight of the championship.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“Long Beach is always a challenge because we run often at the start of the day Friday, end of the day Friday… you see a big evolution in track performance from that very first practice session to how the car drives in the race. We have a pretty good way of figuring that out – going through things from the past. The Long Beach race is always a big challenge even though it’s only 100 minutes. Things can turn against you or go your way very quickly, as we found last year. It was up and down a little, and were settling for second place until at the last corner where it all unraveled for our teammates. You just never, ever can predict what will happen there until you cross the finish line. Two years ago, we were looking like we were headed to victory until we got turned around on the last lap. So, it can go for you or against you. It’s always challenge and will be a really tough event. We’ll have to use all our experience to try and extract a podium finish or a victory.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“Street races often add an extra element of surprise. Certainly it has been that way the last couple of years for our team – one year it went against us and last year it went for us. That’s the nature of street-circuit racing. Above all, our Corvettes have been competitive historically at Long Beach. This year, it seems like we have our work cut out for us based on the first two events. But a street race like Long Beach is a wild card… especially coming off our two longest events in the IMSA season at Daytona and Sebring. I would say everyone’s tension is a little bit higher because you sort of get set in your ways for the endurance events as far as not taking too many chances in traffic and getting to the end. But at Long Beach, you’re going as hard as you can and take every opportunity you can for however long you are in the car.”
DOUG FEHAN, CORVETTE RACING PROGRAM MANAGER:
“We go from 24 Hours at Daytona to the 12 Hours of Sebring and now to the streets of Long Beach for 100 minutes. You certainly can’t find three more challenging racing scenarios than that. It’s an iconic event with tremendous fan turnout each year. While this may be our shortest race of the year, it won’t lack drama. To win at Long Beach there is zero room for error on the driving, crew or engineering side which I think works in our favor. Of course, you always need good fortune to be successful in this sport. You just need a little more than normal at Long Beach!”
2018 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – GTLM Standings
(After Two of 11 Events)
1. Westbrook/Briscoe/Dixon – 63
2. Makowiecki/Tandy/Pilet – 58
3. Bamber/Bruni/Vanthoor – 55
4. Mueller/Hand/Bourdais – 54
5. Sims/Auberlen/De Phillippi – 54
6. Garcia/Magnussen/Rockenfeller – 53
7. Gavin/Milner/Fässler – 53
1. No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing – 63
2. No. 911 Porsche GT Team – 58
3. No. 912 Porsche GT Team – 55
4. No. 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing – 54
5. No. 25 BMW Team RLL – 54
6. No. 3 Corvette Racing – 53
7. No. 4 Corvette Racing – 53
1. Ford – 65
2. Porsche – 63
3. Chevrolet – 58
4. BMW – 58
5. Ferrari – 58
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