CORVETTE RACING AT DAYTONA: Halfway Report
IMSA – WEATHERTECH SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHIP
54th ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
CORVETTE DRIVER IN-RACE UPDATES
JAN. 30-31, 2016
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Team Chevy and Corvette found themselves in the thick of battles for the lead in two classes halfway through the 54th Rolex 24 At Daytona. Corvette Daytona Prototypes held four of the top five overall positions early Sunday while Corvette Racing’s pair of Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs were locked in a race-long fight in search of second straight GT Le Mans (GTLM) victory at Daytona International Speedway.
Both Corvette C7.Rs took turns leading in GTLM in the opening 12 hours. Tommy Milner was in the last third of his second triple-stint of the race in the No. 4 Corvette that he is driving with Oliver Gavin and Marcel Fässler. Gavin went from seventh at the start to third by the end of the fifth lap. Milner picked up where his teammate left off and set the car’s fastest race lap in his first three stints.
Fässler drove his first two stints at Daytona in the dark and found himself in the midst of a seven-car GTLM battle. It was the first race action for Fässler in a Corvette Racing entry in 2009. The No. 4 car was sixth at the halfway point.
Meanwhile, the No. 3 Corvette C7.R of Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller ran fourth. Garcia and Magnussen were part of the class-winning entry in last year’s Rolex 24. Neither Corvette experienced anything approaching a major issue in the first 12 hours despite the top seven cars routinely being within seven seconds of each other.
Out front, Corvette Daytona Prototypes were largely unscathed in the race’s opening half while some of the other contenders fell by the wayside. Scott Pruett, a five-time Rolex 24 winner, led in the Action Express Racing No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP prior to a full-course caution period just before the 12-hour mark. He ran second entering the 13th hour.
Simon Pagenaud was third in Action Express Racing’s other Corvette DP – the No. 31 Whelen Engineering entry – and sat just ahead of Max Angelelli in Wayne Taylor Racing’s No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette. Next up was Ryan Dalziel in Visit Florida Racing’s No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Corvette DP.
ERIC CURRAN, ACTION EXPRESS NO. 31 WHELEN ENGINEERING CORVETTE DP: “I had a good run in our Whelen Engineering Corvette DP. We pretty much stayed in the top-three for most of the run there. As pit strategy happens, we fell back to around sixth but we moved back into the top-three. I don’t know if we have any speed for the P2-spec cars but we’re as fast as any of the other Corvette DPs. It was a lot of fun out there. It got a little crazy at the end when someone dumped a bunch of oil down. But I was having a lot of fun. It’s so cool to have been on the lead lap here and in the top-five pretty much since the start. We have a long way to go but we have some of the best guys in the business at Action Express and some of the best drivers. We should be in good shape.”
RICKY TAYLOR, WAYNE TAYLOR RACING NO. 10 KONICA MINOLTA CORVETTE DP: “As always, our Corvette DP is good in cold conditions. The team has been really good and the car has run flawlessly. I feel terrible making contact (with Eric Curran); I try not taking any risks and I don’t know if he saw me. I felt like we were one of the strongest if not the strongest of the DPs. Come the end of the race if we’re still around, we have a good shot.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, CORVETTE RACING NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “The balance of the Corvette is quite good but right now we are struggling a little bit right when the tires are new on a restart or after a pit stop. It takes a little while to get a good balance. But after that and as soon as the tire comes up, everything comes together and the car is fast in the second part of the stint. It’s a struggle in the first half. So far so good. We’ve managed to stay out of trouble. It’s all pretty good.”
TOMMY MILNER, CORVETTE RACING NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “That second triple stint… I wasn’t as happy with that one. I made one small mistake early; I locked the right-front really early in a brake zone and made contact with one of the Porsches. Fortunately it was door-to-door. There wasn’t any damage to his car or any to ours, so we got away with one. I was a bit more careful after that and wasn’t trying to be racey at all. I know it’s early but these things happen sometimes. But the rest of it was just in traffic. We’re all really close in speed and are racing well together. It feels like we’re all in the same mindset right now… nothing stupid and make our way through traffic as best we can. That’s good for now. We’re all kind of sizing each other up and finding out where we’re good and where we’re not, and vice versa.”
SCOTT PRUETT, ACTION EXPRESS RACING NO. 5 MUSTANG SAMPLING CORVETTE DP: “There were two very exciting moments. The first lap I was in the car, a PC car coming out of the Bus Stop spun right in front of me. I barely missed him. Then the 60 blew up and put oil all over the track. The 31 went off, and I followed him; he went big off and I went a little off, and unfortunately filled up the radiator so we had to come in. But no harm, no foul. We got the No. 5 Corvette DP back in the lead and led quite a few laps. The guys did a great job. We just need to keep doing what we’re doing.”