CORVETTE RACING AT COTA: Looking to Defend in Austin
Corvette DP, GT cars winners last year in Circuit of The Americas debut
- Corvette DP won in Rolex Series, Corvette Racing in ALMS last year in Austin
- Second-to-last event weekend for TUDOR Championship
- Chevrolet aims to maintain lead in Prototype, GTLM manufacturer standings
Corvette Racing and Corvette Daytona Prototypes head deep in the heart of Texas this weekend for the Lone Star Le Mans race and the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship at Circuit of The Americas. It is the second-to-last round of the TUDOR Championship, and both the Prototype and GT Le Mans (GTLM) standings reflect a heavy Corvette flavor.
The 2013 season was the first time Corvette Racing and Corvette DPs competed at COTA. In the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series, the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP of Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty won in Austin. Later in the year, Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen won in the American Le Mans Series’ GT class in a fantastic battle.
Fast-forwarding a year, the 51-car grid at COTA will have a strong Corvette flavor – the two Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs in GTLM for Corvette Racing and four Corvette DPs in the TUDOR Championship’s Prototype class.
Corvette DP: Closing in on Manufacturer Title
With victories in five events this season – including four in the last five events – Chevrolet has taken control of the engine manufacturer championship. Consecutive victories by Action Express Racing’s Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi in their No. 5 Corvette DP have Chevrolet 19 points clear with 70 points available over the final two races.
Barbosa and Fittipaldi lead the Prototype driver’s championship, and Corvette DP drivers hold the top three positions in points. Wayne Taylor Racing’s Jordan Taylor and Ricky Taylor are second, followed by Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiante from Spirit of Daytona Racing.
All six drivers are separated by 18 points, and the differential is the same between the three entries in the team standings.
At Marsh Racing, Boris Said is set to make his return with Eric Curran in their No. 31 Corvette DP. Said has been out since the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park round in July following a crash and was replaced by Burt Frisselle at Indianapolis and Road America. The latter race saw Curran and Frisselle finish fifth overall for the team’s best result in its first year fielding a Corvette DP.
Corvette Racing: Ready for Redemption
A repeat victory at Circuit of The Americas is on the mind of everyone at Corvette Racing. Following four straight GTLM victories for Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen in the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, the class championship has tightened with Garcia holding a six-point lead in points. After missing the VIR round three weeks ago as a precaution following a hard crash during practice, Magnussen now stands fourth. Fortunately, the Dane will be back in the Corvette alongside Garcia for the weekend.
The Garcia/Magnussen pairing won a thriller that saw Garcia hold off multiple challengers for the entirety of his 58-minute final stint. Their third win of the season put them in the ALMS GT championship lead, and they never relinquished it.
Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner in the No. 4 Corvette hope to right their season at a track that left them and the No. 4 crew stunned in last year’s race. Milner led early before the gearbox in his Corvette C6.R failed and the car lost drive just shy of an hour into the race.
VIR began promising for the Gavin/Milner duo. Gavin made up four spots at the start and moved from near the back of the class grid to fifth in 13 laps. Milner was on the move too when he began his stint and made up four places before being pushed off track.
FOX Sports 1’s television coverage of the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase starts at 6:30 p.m. ET Sunday. Live coverage of qualifying begins at 4:20 p.m. ET Friday on IMSA.com.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“(Last year’s race) was probably one of my best. The team was a big part of that. Both Jan and I benefitted from really good strategy and pit stops. Everything really came together including the last stop. The execution was great and all I had to do was defend; I was out front and the deal was I never had to pass anyone. It was a great race and the key race where everything started to go our way toward the championship. This year, we don’t know how strong we will be compared to the rest of the GTLM field. The last two races have been difficult to keep up with the rest of the field and be competitive. All we can do is be as prepared as possible.
“The key thing about this track is that the fear factor is lower than anywhere else. Runoffs are huge sections of tarmac so you can really drive beyond your limits and see what happens without risking everything. You can try different things at COTA whereas you can’t really anywhere else.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“Having to sit out VIR was difficult. There was nothing I could except watch any hopes for winning a championship slip away. It was really unfortunate and the tough thing about concussions. It was still the right call. Getting back in the car will be just like any other race except with just a longer break. There are absolutely no ill effects and I will be ready to race.
“It was a tough race last year. Hopefully we will have a little easier time of it this year. However the last few races have been difficult for us to be at the front. With the improvements made the C7.R, we will have a little easier time. It’s a cool place to be, and we’ve already shown we can win there. We are hoping that with a new car we can do it again.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“As we witnessed last year, Circuit of The Americas is a great place for us to race. We are there with the FIA World Endurance Championship, so people coming out are going to see the highest quality of sports cars from around the world – whether it’s our GT class or the likes of Audi and Toyota in the LMP1 class of the WEC. People will have a great show and get a great taste of sports car racing.
“Hopefully this time around Tommy and I will have much better luck in the race. It was great watching him lead in the ALMS’ GT class before our gearbox gave out. Unfortunately I never got time in the car. So in that sense, I am going back there with a score to settle. Tommy, myself and the entire No. 4 crew are definitely due to have some breaks go our way for a change. We’re all confident that we can return to form this weekend.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“Oliver, myself and everyone on the No. 4 car are working hard to get a good result at the end of the year to sort of lift our spirits a little bit. We feel like we’re due a good result. That’s our focus – help support our teammates and help Chevrolet in the manufacturer’s championship. In many ways, we can be the rabbit in some ways and push really hard and push our competitors really hard in the race by being aggressive.
“The track as we saw last year allowed for everyone to be more aggressive than usual, especially in traffic and trying to get by your competitors. If you go to a track like Mosport or VIR, you have to be dead-on with your passes and be certain that it will work. But that’s not a problem at Austin.”
DOUG FEHAN, CORVETTE RACING PROGRAM MANAGER
“Circuit of The Americas is without a doubt one of the finest venues anywhere in North America. The Austin scene is vibrant, and we’re glad to be bringing our Corvette C7.Rs there for the first time. As you remember, last year’s race went down as one of the most dramatic in Corvette Racing history. This time around will be just as challenging but we’re hopeful that the recent performance adjustments from IMSA will provide a level playing field for all the manufacturers in GTLM – Chevrolet included.”
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, NO. 5 ACTION EXPRESS RACING CORVETTE DP
“We managed to test at a lot of tracks but Austin was one that we did not manage to go. We went to Road Atlanta last week and had a very strong test. Chevy is putting a lot of effort behind the whole program. Action Express Racing is really putting a strong, quick car together for us. So I think we’re going to be ready for the race. It’s not going to be easy. It is very competitive and very tough out there. We’re just arriving from the two-day test at Road Atlanta, and hopefully we can translate what we learned into the race this weekend.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 10 WAYNE TAYLOR RACING CORVETTE DP
“COTA is one of the best racing facilities we have now in North America. The track itself is extremely technical. It has all sorts of different corners – high-speed low-speed, chicanes, hairpins, long sweepers and elevation change. So for a driver, it’s a real challenge to get the most out of the car. The two long straights lead into big wide brake zones into tight corners, which makes passing much more inviting.”
ERIC CURRAN, NO. 31 MARSH RACING CORVETTE DP
“I’m really looking forward to racing at COTA in our Whelen Corvette Daytona Prototype. This is one of my all-time favorite race tracks. And racing in the prototype class for the first time here is going to be a blast! We learned a lot about the track here last year and were always really fast in our Whelen GT Corvette. I’m hoping the momentum of finishing fifth at Road America will continue. Boris (Said) is back driving with me again after a big incident at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park three races ago. He is healed up and feeling good about getting back in the car. All the Whelen and Marsh Racing boys have been working like crazy to find the additional speed in our car needed to run at the front of the field. We did a two-day test at Road Atlanta that went really well, and hopefully what we learned will carry over to the race this weekend.”
RICHARD WESTBROOK, NO. 90 SPIRIT OF DAYTONA RACING CORVETTE DP
“Finally the gloves will be off at COTA, and due to our 18-point deficit we can solely concentrate on adding another win to our tally. We were disappointed to only get fourth at Road America despite starting from the back but now we will just look forward and can throw a little caution to the wind. Even with a small chance of winning the championship we will not give up until the end, especially as it took such hard work from everyone in the team to get into contention. COTA is a great track and should suit the Corvette DP. It’s a place where I always look forward to racing.”
JIM LUTZ, CORVETTE DAYTONA PROTOTYPE PROGRAM MANAGER
“It will be good to return to Circuit of The Americas, where the Corvette Daytona Prototype won last year in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series. It was the first victory of the season and started Chevrolet’s drive to the DP engine manufacturer championship. Now with this as the second-to-last race in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, it’s important for our Corvette DP teams to continue the momentum we’ve gained over the last five races. The track layout presents a challenge with a number of tight turns and some short straights that should favor the lighter P2 cars. But we will work with all our teams to give them the best suggestions on setup and preparation at this important event.”
TUDOR Championship – GTLM Standings
|Driver Standings||Team Standings||Manufacturer Standings|
|1. Antonio Garcia – 270
2. Jonathan Bomarito/Kuno Wittmer – 264
T3. Bill Auberlen/Andy Priaulx – 250
T3. Dominik Farnbacher/Marc Goossens – 250
T3. Dirk Muller/Andy Priaulx – 250
4. Jan Magnussen – 246
5. Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner – 240
|1. No. 3 Corvette Racing – 270
2. No. 93 SRT Motorsports – 264
3. No. 56 BMW Team RLL – 250
4. No. 55 BMW Team RLL – 250
5. No. 91 SRT Motorsports – 250
7. No. 4 Corvette Racing – 217
|1. Porsche – 276
2. Chevrolet – 274
3. SRT – 273
4. BMW – 272
5. Ferrari – 264
TUDOR Championship – Prototype Standings
|Driver Standings||Team Standings||Engine Manufacturer Standings|
|1. Joao Barbosa/Christian Fittipaldi – 285
2. Jordan Taylor/Ricky Taylor – 269
3. Michael Valiante/Richard Westbrook – 267
4. Gustavo Yacaman – 253
5. Scott Pruett – 250
13. Burt Frisselle – 132 14. Eric Curran – 124
15. Boris Said – 117
20. Max Angelelli – 85
21. Brian Frisselle – 84
23. Sebastien Bourdais – 67
28. Jon Fogarty – 54
|1. No. 5 Action Express Racing – 285
2. No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing – 269
3. No. 90 Spirit of Daytona – 267
4. No. 42 Oak Racing – 253
5. No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing – 250
10. No. 31 Marsh Racing – 186>
13. No. 9 Action Express Racing – 84
18. GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing – 14
|1. Chevrolet – 301
2. Ford – 282
3. Nissan – 269
4. Honda – 265
5. Mazda – 242
Lone Star Le Mans – TUDOR Championship (all times CT)
- TUDOR Championship Practice 1: 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 18
- TUDOR Championship Practice 2: 9 a.m., Friday, Sept. 19
- TUDOR Championship Practice 3: 3:20 p.m., Friday, Sept. 19
- TUDOR Championship GTLM Qualifying: 4:50 p.m., Friday, Sept. 19
- TUDOR Championship Prototype Qualifying: 5:35 p.m., Friday, Sept. 19
- TUDOR Championship Warmup: 8:40 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 20
- Lone Star Le Mans: 11:35 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 20
Lone Star Le Mans – Watch It (all times ET)
- Qualifying: 5:30 p.m. ET (IMSA.com), Friday, Sept. 19
- Race: 12:30 p.m. ET (FOX Sports 2), Saturday, Sept. 20
Release Date: September 16, 2014