CORVETTE RACING AT SEBRING: Red Flag Halts Race Near Three-Hour Mark

Mar 19 2016 Randall Shinn 2016, News, Sebring Comments Off on CORVETTE RACING AT SEBRING: Red Flag Halts Race Near Three-Hour Mark

 

CORVETTE RACING AT SEBRING: Red Flag Halts Race Near Three-Hour Mark

Corvette C7.Rs, Corvette DPs in the hunt for repeat victories

 

SEBRING, Fla. (March 19, 2016) – Corvette Racing and four Corvette Daytona Prototypes are in contention for their respective class victories today as a red flag for unsafe weather brought a halt to the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida. The event was stopped near the three-hour mark with the cars brought to pit lane until the threat of lightning and standing water passed as the race clock continued to run.

 

Tommy Milner drove the first two hours, 50 minutes in Corvette Racing’s No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R and was third at the time of the stoppage. Milner had led the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class midway through the opening quarter thanks to a strong first pit stop by the Corvette Racing crew and being able to take on wet tires 90 minutes into the race just before the pit entry closed due to a crash on track.

 

Jan Magnussen was fifth in the No. 3 Corvette C7.R after a strong start by Antonio Garcia that saw the Spaniard move from fifth to second in his opening stint. Garcia just missed disaster during a period of heavy rain when he had to spin and avoid an out-of-control GT Daytona car going into the final of Sebring’s 17 turns.

 

The two Corvettes ran 1-2 for nearly 15 minutes in the opening hour.

 

Overall, Corvette Daytona Prototypes were 1-2-3-4 when the red flag flew with Action Express Racing running first and second. Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP led Dane Cameron in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering/Team Fox Corvette DP. They were ahead of Wayne Taylor Racing’s Jordan Taylor in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP and Marc Goossens in Visit Florida Racing’s No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Corvette DP.

 

The top nine prototypes remained on the lead lap.

 

The 64th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring will continue to air on FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2 and FOX Sports Go. Live audio coverage from IMSA Radio is available on IMSA.com.

 

TOMMY MILNER, CORVETTE RACING NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “It is good to see that even though we may not have the ultimate pace of the BMWs in the dry at least, they came back to us there at the end of the first stint. Then we undercut them on the first stint – a great stop by our crew – and had a quick outlaw to get ahead of both them. It was fun to lead out there, that’s for sure. I think it really helped once the rain started to be out front so we wouldn’t have as many cars to deal with in front of me. I was really happy with the car in the mixed conditions. In the wet, we still have some work to do so we’ll make some changes at the next stop whenever the rain is done to see if we can get it better. It was super-tricky conditions there at the end. I watched the 66 Ford go off in front of me just before the red flag. It’s not easy for sure, but this is our job. We’ll do our best.

“We talked among ourselves about whether any of us had run in the wet here before. None of us came to the conclusion that we’ve raced here in the wet but we’re pretty sure we’ve all driven here a little bit in the wet. It’s not much, though. Sebring is usually super hot and super dry. This is unique.”

 

ANTONIO GARCIA, CORVETTE RACING NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R  “We’re good. I was approaching the start like the Rolex 24. I made a good start; I was hoping for a get away but the BMWs got a good start and the Ferraris got the rhythm. We have got really good pace so we could pull away from the Fords so that was good and safe. At some point our car was really, really good. As soon as I felt the Ferrari started to struggle a tiny bit, I went for it. The car came alive more and more. Over a long distance we were really good and the BMW seemed to struggle a lot. I caught them and I had a little help from traffic. Everything was fine.

“When the rain came, it was a bit of a disaster. It looked from the outside like it was hero time for everybody wanting to take a risk. I wasn’t that keen on doing that. I stayed safe but aggressive. I stayed in touch with the leaders. But it was very, very difficult with the conditions. I don’t know how the 25 BMW and I didn’t crash at the end of the straight. We were literally navigating for half a straight not controlling the car at all. I was able to come to a full stop before the tire barriers. Luckily some other GT cars avoided me spinning, and I had a couple of cars going by sideways and backward. I avoided the wall but unfortunately the pits were closed at that time so we had to go back around on slick tires. But the best thing with these conditions the car is still good at this time and we are there. No point to race at this time.”

 

DANE CAMERON, ACTION EXPRESS RACING NO. 31 WHELEN ENGINEERING/TEAM FOX CORVETTE DP: “It was a pretty exciting first three hours in the car there. I had a nice start; and kind of settled into a nice rhythm. I tried to just fall into place and see how we were in the long run. We seemed okay but a couple of things were a little more different than we expected. Then the rain came. I thought IMSA did a great job of keeping us under yellow long enough to pump the water away and get going again. That was handled well I thought. The track was wet and slick. But it was good, it was fine. I was having a nice time.”

 

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, ACTION EXPRESS RACING NO. 5 MUSTANG SAMPLING CORVETTE DP: “We had a pretty decent run. One the first set of tires the car was very difficult to run. With the second set, the car was much better and we had a much better pace. Then it started to rain. I was pretty decent and able to keep up and just kept clicking those laps. I’d say I was still driving about 95 percent but putting in a fairly decent pace out there. There is still a lot of racing to go and definitely we are at the point we can’t afford to make any mistakes.”

 

RUBENS BARRICHELLO, WAYNE TAYLOR RACING NO. 10 KONICA MINOLTA CORVETTE DP: “It was pretty calm to begin with then we started to have some small issues with the brakes but our team recovered quite well. We had a slick pit stop and hopefully we’ll go up from there.”