CORVETTE RACING AT WATKINS GLEN: Strategy, Execution Rule the Day

Jul 04 2016 Randall Shinn 2016, News, Watkins Glen Comments Off on CORVETTE RACING AT WATKINS GLEN: Strategy, Execution Rule the Day

CORVETTE RACING AT WATKINS GLEN: Strategy, Execution Rule the Day

Barbosa, Fittipaldi lead Action Express Racing 1-2 finish

  • Milner, Gavin place fourth in GTLM on strength of strategy, pit stop and driving
  • Corvette Daytona Prototype wins fifth straight year at Sahlen’s Six Hours
  • Chevrolet retains leads in Prototype and GTLM Manufacturer championships

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (July 3, 2016) – There was good reason to celebrate on Independence Day weekend for the Corvette Racing and Corvette Daytona Prototype programs.

Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner – on the strength of a great late-race strategy call and perfect final pit stop – managed a fourth-place result with their No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R in the GT Le Mans class of the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen on Sunday. What made the result so meaningful is that the pairing retained their lead in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GTLM Driver’s standings and increased Chevrolet’s lead in the class’s Manufacturer points rankings.

On the Corvette DP side, Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi led a 1-2 finish for Action Express Racing as they won the Sahlen’s Six Hours for the second time. It was the fifth straight victory in the event for the Corvette Daytona Prototype and increased Chevrolet’s advantage in the Prototype Engine Manufacturer Championship.

Barbosa and Fittipaldi won by 0.709 seconds in their No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette Daytona Prototype over their Action Express Racing teammates Dane Cameron and Eric Curran in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering/Team Fox Corvette DP. In fact, Corvette Daytona Prototypes held four of the top six finishing positions.

Ricky Taylor, Jordan Taylor and Max Angelelli were fourth in Wayne Taylor Racing’s No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP. Visit Florida Racing, winner at The Glen in 2014 and 2015, finished sixth with Ryan Dalziel and Marc Goossens sharing the No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Corvette DP.

All four Corvette Daytona Prototypes led with Barbosa and Fittipaldi combining to lead 107 of the race’s 197 laps including the final 22. The victory also moved Barbosa and Fittipaldi into the Prototype Driver’s Championship lead as they go for a third consecutive title.

In GTLM, the No. 4 Corvette went from seventh in class with an hour left to fourth by the end. Gavin and Milner drove strong, consistent stints up to that point, and a late-race strategy call saw Milner make the car’s final pit one lap later than a majority of the GTLM competitors. The extra lap meant a shorter fueling period, and the four-tire change was perfectly executed by the No. 4 crew to send Milner back out in the midst of a tense four-car battle.

Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette C7.R showed a similarly consistent pace to the sister car throughout the event. The pairing ran as high as fourth inside the final hour had hoped to duplicate its 2014 victory at Watkins Glen but came up short. Garcia and Magnussen did have to recover from a couple of small issues early in the race that set the No. 3 Corvette back in the order. As the race wound down, heavy traffic and battles for position in all the classes put an even bigger premium on track position as the pair battled for a strong finish.

The next event for Corvette Racing and Corvette Daytona Prototypes is the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix presented by Hawk Performance from Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The only Canadian race for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is scheduled for 11:05 a.m. ET on Sunday, July 10. It will air live on FOX Sports 1 starting at 11 a.m. ET with IMSA Radio coverage and Chevrolet on-board cameras available on IMSA.com.

CORVETTE RACING QUOTES

TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS-XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED FOURTH IN GTLM: "I’m smiling. I feel like we just won the race. We had the perfect race… absolutely perfect race. Great pit stops, no mistakes anywhere at all. At the end I drove as hard as I possibly could. I could tell that the Ferrari in front of me was slow to start the stints. I just got lucky in traffic and got a big run on him in the Bus Stop. I also got a nice draft from a PC car that was passing him and was able to sneak by him in the Bus Stop. I’m just so proud of the effort that this team gives. It doesn’t matter if we are the fastest car or the slowest car. We try. We try hard all the time. It was a great job by Olly. It was a great job by the crew guys. It’s a great result for Corvette Racing."
ON THE LAST PIT STOP: "We gambled a little bit with staying out a little bit longer. That is always a risk. The later you make that last stop, or even you back-track a little bit, you risk getting caught out with a full-course yellow. However, if it goes green you have a shorter fill at the very end. That is really where we gained all that time and track position; our fill at the end was shorter than anybody else because we were the last car to stop. It takes some luck in racing for sure, but I’m really, really happy with the result today."

OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS-XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED FOURTH IN GTLM: &quoy;Today’s finish boiled down to that last pit stop. We had to take less fuel than the No. 3 car but the pressure was on the guys to execute on that final stop and they did an amazing job. The tires were done just as the fuel coming out as well. The car was down and Tommy just blasted it out of the pitlane. He then executed in that final stint and got past the Ferrari and just did a fantastic job. Fourth place for us today is like a win. If someone had offered us that at the start of the day with our starting position and the pace compared to our competitors… yes, it is like a win. We are still leading in the Driver’s Championship. We’ve extended in the Manufacturer’s Championship for Chevrolet, which is great. I really don’t think we could have asked for any more. A great job by everyone here at Corvette Racing – a real team effort."

JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS-XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED SEVENTH IN GTLM: "It was a pretty uneventful couple of stints for me and was about keeping our position. We were trying to stay ahead of the Porsches. It seemed like at certain points during the stint we could fight a little bit with the Ferrari but most of the time they can drive away like some of the other cars.&quot

ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS-XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED SEVENTH IN GTLM: "It was a disappointing day for our team in a lot of ways. Seventh place is not a result we are happy with. We will move ahead to Canada next weekend and try to improve on today."

DOUG FEHAN, CORVETTE RACING PROGRAM MANAGER: "Today was a perfect example of why Corvette Racing never gives up. It was a combination of great strategy, great execution in the pits and great driving to come home with a fourth-place finish. We were able to maximize our results on a very challenging day, which every member of Corvette Racing and the Corvette community should be proud of."

CORVETTE DAYTONA PROTOTYPE QUOTES

JOAO BARBOSA, ACTION EXPRESS RACING NO. 5 MUSTANG SAMPLING CORVETTE DP – PROTOTYPE RACE WINNER: "It was probably one of the fastest pace races that I’ve done in a while. The track really suits this kind of racing. They did an amazing job with the surface. We were able to keep up the pace for a long time. We made a few changes after qualifying and we really hit it. The Corvette DP was really good. This team has been working really hard to get a win, and we did it in great style. It was a great race, very hard. We were really matched with the No. 31 so track position was really important. When I got out in clean air, I felt like I had an edge to the 31 and then I just had to maintain the gap. It was a great day for Action Express Racing."

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, ACTION EXPRESS RACING NO. 5 MUSTANG SAMPLING CORVETTE DP – PROTOTYPE RACE WINNER: "This finish was lot better than last year. It was definitely a strong race from Lap One. We drove on the limit the whole time. The Continental tires were awesome; they were really hanging in there. Part of the reason for our success here was pure race craft. We were perfect on the pit stops and we were really good in traffic. I’m very proud and very happy to be a part of this win. It feels really great because this is the first race of the second part of the season. We couldn’t have started better. If you’re looking to go for the championship you have to be strong anywhere you go."

DANE CAMERON, ACTION EXPRESS RACING NO. 31 WHELEN ENGINEERING/TEAM FOX CORVETTE DP – PROTOTYPE RUNNER-UP: "We certainly knew it was going to be tough on the last restarts. The guys did a great job to get us the jump and cycle around the No. 5 on the previous stint. The car was feeling really good. The roles switched on the next stop and Joao (Barbosa) skipped around us. We felt we were so evenly matched we weren’t going to be in it. Maybe if traffic played into it, but then I had the No. 60 and I had to handle that. It’s nice to finish 1-2 for Action Express. Overall a great day for the team and I’m happy to play a part in it."

ERIC CURRAN, ACTION EXPRESS RACING NO. 31 WHELEN ENGINEERING/TEAM FOX CORVETTE DP – PROTOTYPE RUNNER-UP: "Overall it was a good day for sure. We finished 1- 2. We would have like to reverse it, though. We started out with a tough situation in qualifying and didn’t get the car right. But we fought back and got the car right today. The car was a great piece for the whole six hours. Our guys did a great pit stops today. It was down to the wire. It was fun to be racing for six hours and have a few cars that could win. Dane did a great job holding off the 60 car in the end that was coming strong."

RICKY TAYLOR, WAYNE TAYLOR RACING NO. 10 KONICA MINOLTA CORVETTE DP – FINISHED FOURTH IN PROTOTYPE: "Track position was really important. I think if we would’ve been in the top two or three at the end, we would’ve finished there. We had the car to hold them off but it was kind of hard to pass since everyone was just kind of running in a line. We struggled to get going on the late restarts. Once we got going, though, we could run with the leaders but just not get around them. It was just kind of a funny race the way the track position worked out. Our guys had great stops the whole race and they gave us great track position in the beginning and we were able to hold it for a while. By the time we got to the end of the race, we were in the back of the pack a little bit. The car ran great the whole time and the guys executed once again."

JIM LUTZ, CHEVROLET CORVETTE DAYTONA PROTOTYPE PROGRAM MANAGER: "Congratulations to Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi and Action Express Racing on a hard-fought victory today at Watkins Glen. All our Corvette DP teams performed well throughout the day and led at various points. A 1-2 result for the Corvette Daytona Prototype with Dane Cameron and Eric Curran finishing second truly is a great day. That we were able to add to Chevrolet’s lead in the Prototype Engine Manufacturer Championship is even more important."