Gavin fastest in GTLM qualifying, Magnussen P5 in chase for eighth Road America win
ELKHART LAKE, Wisc. (Aug. 3, 2019) – Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin will start from pole position of the GT Le Mans field after qualifying for Sunday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s Road Race Showcase.
Gavin, in the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, was the fastest qualifier Saturday with a lap of 2:00.663 (120.772 mph). It marks the team’s first Road America pole position since 2010. Teammate Jan Magnussen will start fifth in class with a lap of 2:01.085 (120.351 mph) in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette but was less than 0.3 seconds from the front row.
The top five cars in GTLM were within 0.751 seconds. Tom Blomqvist in the No. 25 BMW was the fastest driver in GTLM qualifying, but both BMWs failed post-qualifying inspection to elevate both Gavin and Magnussen.
Corvette Racing will go for its eighth class victory at Road America and first since 2016. The race begins at 1:35 p.m. CT on Sunday.
Saturday’s GTLM qualifying session was delayed 15 minutes due to severe weather in the area. Both Corvettes were first out once the track went green with the track mostly dry. The only damp part of the circuit was the final corner, and both Corvettes went off track on their opening laps. Both Gavin and Magnussen recovered without damage. Each was happy with the overall balance of their Corvettes and expressed high optimism for Sunday’s two-hour, 40-minute race.
Magnussen and Antonio Garcia entered Road America third in GTLM points and well within striking distance for a third consecutive Drivers Championship. Naturally, their first victory together at Road America couldn’t come at a better time than Sunday. Gavin and Tommy Milner, back after missing two races with an injured left hand, were the most recent winners for Corvette Racing in Elkhart Lake with a victory in 2016.
Both Corvettes finished on the class podium a year ago with Gavin and Milner finishing second, just ahead of their teammates.
The IMSA Road Race Showcase at Road America is August 2-4. It will be streamed live on the NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com at 2:30 p.m. ET on Aug. 4 and aired later Sunday on NBC Sports Network at 6 p.m. ET. Live audio coverage will be available on IMSA Radio, Sirius 138, XM 202 and SiriusXM Online 972.
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – GTLM POLE-WINNER:
“It was a good session for us. We found some speed in the car. I think it’s most probably the best the track has ever been here for our car in terms of the grip level. That little bit of rain and the way the conditions changed. It was super fast. And then it looked like the BMW was just that tick quicker, but now they got bumped. This day just keeps getting better and let’s hope this just continues on and into a great race tomorrow. Leading from the front, that’s the best place to start, so I will definitely take that. I’m very pleased for the guys. It has been a tough year particularly for the 4 Corvette, but this is a great little reward for all those guys, all their hard work. Keep digging. Chuck (Houghton, No. 4 Corvette engineer) and all the guys on the engineering staff gave me fantastic car in qualifying. We’ll take it and we’ll be very happy to start on the pole tomorrow for the big race.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – QUALIFIED FIFTH IN GTLM:
“It was not an easy session with it raining a little bit. There was a big moment in Turn 14 to stop the first timed lap because that corner was properly wet and you can’t see it; there is a change of tarmac there and the fresh tarmac is darker. So there was nothing that pointed to it being wetter than any place else. A big save… I got close to the wall, but I gathered it back up and got back in the game. It could have been way worse.
“The car was good. I am impressed with how fast the track is… how much faster we could go than any time previously. I think I wasn’t prepared for how much traction grip there was. I knew the car was good, but I kept kicking myself every time. I thought I got on the the throttle early, early but I just never got full potential out of it. The car is definitely better than what we managed right now. We didn’t make the best of it. Plus Turn 14 kind of embedded itself a little bit. Even though it was probably full dry at the end, it was hard trust 100 percent because it came out of nowhere. There was spray and then we went off. So that was hard to let go of. But the field is super close. We had a good long run in practice yesterday so hopefully that will come in handy tomorrow.”