CORVETTE RACING AT ATLANTA: Runner-Up Finish for Gavin, Milner

Sep 05 2020 Randall Shinn 2020, News, Road Atlanta Comments Off on CORVETTE RACING AT ATLANTA: Runner-Up Finish for Gavin, Milner

CORVETTE RACING AT ATLANTA: Runner-Up Finish for Gavin, Milner
No. 4 Corvette C8.R second in GTLM points behind teammates Garcia, Taylor

BRASELTON, Ga. (Sept. 5, 2020) – Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner completed a stellar comeback to finish as class runner-up Saturday in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s Grand Prix at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

The duo drove their No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R from nearly a lap down in the six-hour endurance race to nearly a second victory of the year in another highly competitive GT Le Mans (GTLM) class battle. The result advanced Gavin and Milner to second place in the GTLM Drivers’ Championship standings, and it meant Chevrolet maintained its advantage in the category’s Manufacturers’ standings.

Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor finished fifth in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette to retain their lead in the Drivers’ Championship with five races remaining. They hold a 14-point advantage to their No. 4 Corvette teammates.

The challenge by the No. 4 Corvette appeared in danger in the opening hour. Milner took the class lead just past the 30-minute mark and the race’s second restart following a full-course caution. He held the position until suffering a flat tire 64 minutes into the race, which brought out another caution.

After slipping back to sixth in class, Milner and Gavin fought for the next two hours in hopes of remaining on the lead lap – at most times running anywhere from two to five seconds ahead of the class leaders. In fact, the entirety of Gavin’s time in the car was spent trying to remain ahead of the leaders – much of it running against lead entries from other GTLM teams.

The race came back to the No. 4 with the race’s fourth full-course caution with two hours to go. Gavin drove two full stints under green-flag conditions to keep his car in the hunt, and Milner re-entered with two hours and 50 minutes to go. After the final yellow-flag period, Milner was back on the tail of the GTLM field and retook the lead with 55 minutes to go. A quick stop thanks to fuel savings with 51 minutes left saw him cycle back to second – and ahead of two cars he had been running behind before the final stop sequence – for the stretch run.

The Garcia/Taylor pairing saw its two-race win streak come to an end on a challenging day where the midday heat played havoc with the handling and track conditions. A chassis adjustment with less than three hours left helped the balance of the No. 3 Corvette for a final push, but a tire issue late in the going halted a podium challenge.

Corvette Racing’s next event is Sept. 25-27 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FINISHED SECOND IN GTLM: “It was a real battle the entire six hours. When I had Antonio behind me, I thought ‘OK he’s in a Corvette and will be a little bit nice to me!’ We managed to pull away from everyone else a little bit and managed it as best we could. It was still tough and hard. Then in the next stint it was the 911 we were battling, and I knew he wasn’t going to be anywhere near as nice. We also had to go to a slightly different tire set, and that made it a little harder. But yes, it was some of the hardest driving I’ve ever done around here – just to stay on the lead lap while we were praying for a caution. We finally got one, and Tommy drove brilliantly to get us back up there toward the front while saving some fuel. We managed to do the undercut with everyone else in pit lane and nearly got the 25; it just looked like at the end that it was in a class of its own. We’ll take second today. It gets us that much closer in the championship. In terms of that, it’s a good day in the championship for Tommy, me and the No. 4 Corvette team. I have to take my hat off to the crew. They did a phenomenal job on all the stops today. They were rock solid. It was a great day for Corvette Racing in that respect.”

TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FINISHED SECOND IN GTLM: “I’ve never had to push so hard! The last two stints were such big, big pushes and giving it all we had. It didn’t look so great there for a little bit. We were unlucky with the puncture early on, and that set us back quite a bit. Ultimately all we needed was that one yellow, and we got it to get us back in the hunt again. Our Corvette today was super fast. I’m really happy with it… the balance was really, really good all day long. It was a great strategy call at the end. It’s not often that works but I was able to save some fuel in the train of cars there; thanks to Jordan who let me go just before he came in to save me a little more time. I was able to close the gap to the 24 and then threw everything at it for two laps before we stopped. That plus a shorter stop from fuel got us out ahead of the two cars ahead of us. We almost got ahead of the 25. A lot like qualifying, we’ll go back and say, ‘If I had just a second better on my in-lap or braking into the pitlane, maybe that would have put us just ahead.’ Even then the gap to them before we pitted was already big so trying to make up that much time and keep them behind would have been really hard. I’m really happy with the race today. Obviously you want to win, but P2 is great for the points. That’s what it’s going to take – getting all the points we possibly can. I think we may have had a little bit of a tire problem at the end so that yellow really helped us ultimately. But I’m definitely happy with today.”

ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FINISHED FIFTH IN GTLM: “Definitely not the result we wanted or expected today. The things that broke our way over the last four races didn’t happen today, but that is how it goes sometimes. Today was a classic long-distance GTLM race. I think nearly every car in the class led at one point, including us. The heat of this race made things difficult in the middle, and by the end we didn’t have enough to catch up over a stint. The good news is we have a healthy points advantage, and now Olly and Tommy are second. That’s great for Corvette Racing and Team Chevy. We will move to Mid-Ohio and try to get back on the podium.”

JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FINISHED FIFTH IN GTLM: “This was a tough day. My stints in the heat were some of the most challenging conditions I think I’ve faced this year. The combination of the heat in the track and the tire compound made it difficult, but we tried to hang in there as best we could. The crew did a great job on pit stops; I don’t know how many spots we gained in the pitlane but it was a lot. Things didn’t go our way today like they had the last two months. We’ll go back, look at the data to see where we can make gains before coming back here in October for Petit Le Mans.”