CORVETTE RACING AT COTA: Action Express Racing, Chevrolet Maintain Points Lead
Third-place finish for Fittipaldi, Barbosa; Corvette Racing comes up short in COTA repeat attempt
AUSTIN, Texas – Action Express Racing’s Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi led the Corvette Daytona Prototype effort Saturday with a third-place finish in the Lone Star Le Mans event at Circuit of the Americas. The No. 5 Corvette DP finished on the podium for the third consecutive event as Chevrolet maintained its lead in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship’s Engine Manufacturer standings for Prototypes.
Fittipaldi and Barbosa combined to lead three times for 23 laps in the two-hour, 45-minute race at Circuit of The Americas. Unofficially, the pair lead the class Driver’s championship standings by 22 points heading into the 1,000-mile/10-hour Petit Le Mans â€“ the final race of the year in two weeks at Road Atlanta.
Michael Valiante and Richard Westbrook were the second-best Corvette DP pairing in the race with a sixth-place finish in the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Racing entry that also led during the race.
Following contact and a flat tire on the opening race lap – which resulted in a flat left-rear tire – Ricky Taylor and Jordan Taylor placed seventh in their No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP. Eric Curran and Boris Said were eighth in class for Marsh Racing in the No. 31 Corvette DP.
Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas were the overall race winners in their Ford-Riley.
Corvette Racing: A Difficult Day
Returning to the site of a victory in last year’s American Le Mans Series race, Corvette Racing aimed for a return to the GT Le Mans (GTLM) podium in the TUDOR Championship. An early charge by Antonio Garcia in the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R at the start of the race raised hopes as the Spaniard moved from seventh to fifth in the opening laps.
The momentum couldn’t continue, however, for the team’s two Corvette C7.Rs. Garcia and Jan Magnussen finished ninth in GTLM, followed by the No. 4 Corvette C7.R of Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner in 10th place.
Garcia drove a double-stint to open the race and handed off to Magnussen with 52 minutes left. The Dane rejoined the race seventh but experienced braking issues that hindered his run.
In the No. 4 Corvette, Milner drove a single stint to open and was part of a five-car battle in the early stages. He handed off to Gavin, who drove with elevated tire pressure as the sun came out and the track warmed.
Jonathan Bomarito and Kuno Wittmer were GTLM class winners.
The final race of the TUDOR Championship is Petit Le Mans on Saturday, Oct. 4 from Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga. Live coverage will be available on FOX Sports 2 and IMSA.com.
The FOX network will present a two-hour broadcast of Lone Star Le Mans on Sunday; check local listings for times.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“The first part of the stint was good. I was able to challenge and overtake some of the cars that had been faster than us earlier in the week. It was obvious that we were struggling with overall pace. I tried my best to keep up during those two hours but that didn’t make much of a difference in the end. It’s disappointing result for the weekend but we need to recover at Petit Le Mans.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“This is not a pleasant feeling. The results for both cars today are not what we are used to. Antonio drove well during his double stint and made up a few positions early. But things went south for us in the second part of the race. The track conditions changed drastically in my stint as the surface got hotter, plus I had a braking issue that hampered our efforts. Now we have to focus on Road Atlanta and do what we can to move Antonio and Chevrolet back into the championship lead at the end of the last race.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“Obviously it was another tough day for us in the No. 4 Corvette. We continue to struggle with the pace of our competitors. It gets more and more frustrating. It was a challenge all weekend with the weather and track conditions. The rear tire pressures went up very high in the middle of the stint which made the car difficult to drive. Plus there was an issue with the passenger door on the driver exchange. Again it’s another example of how things have gone for us this year. Hopefully we can end on a positive note at Road Atlanta.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“We kept it close with the big pack there for awhile and that was fun racing. We were just a little bit behind the eight-ball in terms of pace. We had to keep our nose clean and hope that some of our competitors ahead of us make mistakes so we can move up that way. The car was pretty good. There was a bit of understeer for part of the stint but it got better at the end.”
DOUG FEHAN, CORVETTE RACING PROGRAM MANAGER
“We had hopes of returning to podium contention this weekend but obviously it wasn’t meant to be. Things aren’t working in our favor in a number of areas. That shouldn’t take away from the effort of Corvette Racing to control the factors we can control. Today’s race was disappointing but we still have a very important race to close the year at Petit Le Mans. We will regroup and be ready.”
JOAO BARBOSA, NO. 5 ACTION EXPRESS RACING CORVETTE DP
“We were having a great race and everything was working perfect. We may not have had the best pace this weekend, but we had a great result, great team result. We were in the fight right to the end but the rear tires started to go away and it actually got pretty hectic out there with a couple of the GT cars pushing me around. I said to myself that this wasn’t my fight and I knew where the other cars were, especially the 10 and the 90. I said this was not our fight and we needed to get as many points as we could, as safe as we could, and that is what I did at the end and was just cruising to save third place without any worries. I am really proud of all the work that the guys have done this weekend and looking forward to Petit.”
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, NO. 5 ACTION EXPRESS RACING CORVETTE DP
“Things went very well and we raced everybody out there with a certain margin for error. Obviously we were paying a lot of attention to the championship. The car was very good with the usual stuff like the tires starting to fall off but nothing out of the normal. Obviously the championship is very important, much more important than anything else right now. We have to keep ourselves in the championship and if the race were to fall into our lap – excellent. It didn’t today so we will go on to the next one and try to win it.”
MICHAEL VALIANTE, NO. 90 SPIRIT OF DAYTONA RACING CORVETTE DP
“It was a tough weekend because we were good in the beginning and we kind of lost our way and found some things that we changed going into the race and weren’t really sure what kind of car we would have. Although we didn’t have the best car, we could still run with the leaders. I was able to get the lead on that restart when the 42 and I had contact. So I think in the end, had we not gotten that penalty from that we had a top-three or top-four car. It’s a little disappointing but at the end of the day we just have to make the car better so that we are not fighting so hard to come from behind.”
RICHARD WESTBROOK, NO. 90 SPIRIT OF DAYTONA RACING CORVETTE DP
“It was a very tough race for us, and the only positive that we can take away from the whole weekend is that we are closer to second than we were before we came into this. But that wasn’t our goal and we wanted to close the gap to the leader in the championship. We have been chasing the car and the track, and at one point we were fast in practice but we’ve been a bit lost to be honest with you. We all need to regroup and come back stronger as a team in Road Atlanta. The track conditions were really difficult out there and the track got really hot in the last stages of the race and there was just no grip out there.”
RICKY TAYLOR, NO. 10 WAYNE TAYLOR RACING CORVETTE DP
“It was tough. If I didn’t get by (Gustavo Yacaman) there then I wouldn’t have gone by him. After that, I just had to get our car back to the pits. Then I pushed my absolute hardest for however long that was. We got really lucky with the first yellow but I wasn’t close enough to the wall on the first stop. It’s just incredibly disappointing.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 10 WAYNE TAYLOR RACING CORVETTE DP
“Being a lap down early was definitely disappointing because of how good of a car we had and all the Konica Minolta people that we had here to support us. The car was good so we can leave being happy about that. We had a winning car I think on pace; things just didn’t go our way. Everyone did a good job and it was just kind of out of our hands.”
JIM LUTZ, CORVETTE DAYTONA PROTOTYPE PROGRAM MANAGER
“In terms of the Prototype championships, today was a good day. We maintained our lead in the Engine Manufacturer standings heading to Road Atlanta, and the top three positions in the Driver’s and Team championships are Corvette DP competitors. Today was difficult with a couple of on-track incidents that impacted our ability to ultimately take a victory but the points we accumulated are very good for our championship hopes.”
Release Date: September 20, 2014