CORVETTE RACING AT LE MANS: Corvette C7.Rs Fifth, Sixth in Opening Qualifying Session
Garcia quickest driver in Daytona/Sebring-winning car; Milner sets time in No. 64 Corvette
LE MANS, France – Following the first qualifying session Wednesday night at the Circuit de La Sarthe, Corvette Racing’s two Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs sit fifth and sixth on the provisional GTE Pro grid for this weekend’s 83rd running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Antonio Garcia set a best lap of 3:55.963 (129.183 mph) in the No. 63 Corvette C7.R to lead the two-car effort.
Tommy Milner in the No. 64 Corvette C7.R was sixth-fastest in class with a lap of 3:57.081 (128.624 mph). A pair of two-hour sessions remains Thursday.
Wednesday’s times may prove to be the ones that set the grid for Saturday’s 3 p.m. CET (9 a.m. ET) start. The prevailing forecasts show a chance of showers and thunderstorms with higher percentages as the day goes on. The early weekend forecasts call for dry conditions most of Saturday with a chance of rain Sunday through the finish.
Both Garcia and Milner opened the qualifying sessions in search of fast laps. A red=flag period of about 30 minutes nearly an hour into the session put a halt on plans for a late run at a fast lap or two in each of the cars. Instead, Corvette Racing engineers decided to focus on fine-tuning both cars for fuel-length stints and consistent performance.
Milner, driving with Oliver Gavin and Jordan Taylor, was the second-quickest driver in the day’s four-hour practice session ahead of qualifying with a lap of 3:57.539 (128.375 mph).
A moment of drama interrupted the run of the No. 63 car at the end of practice. Ryan Briscoe, driving with Garcia and Jan Magnussen, lost all power and communications with the team on the far side of the circuit. Once the car was returned to the paddock, the Corvette Racing crew discovered that the car’s fire bottle pin had come out and automatically cut power to the car as a precaution.
Thursday’s pair of qualifying sessions start at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. CET.
The 83rd running of the Le Mans 24 Hours is set for 3 p.m. CET/9 a.m. ET on Saturday, June 13. The FOX Sports family of channels will air the race with live coverage of practice, qualifying and the race on radiolemans.com.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 63 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “Le Mans is always a challenge. I only got a single dry lap in the free practice session before the red flag came out. With the clock slowly ticking and another red flag in qualifying we decided to get all three of us in the car for some longer runs, just so we could all get a good read on the car. At the start of the qualifying session the car felt good enough to put on new tires and go for a quick lap. It wasn’t a perfect lap as all the drivers are looking for some space while at the same time we all try get a tow from someone else. Fortunately I was lucky on both accounts: having an almost clear lap and some good tows. We’ll see how it will all work out in the race. Anything can happen then.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 63 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “I did manage to do a good number of laps compared to the others – enough to notice we’re moving in the right direction. Unfortunately the free practice session was a wet and dry affair so we didn’t quite manage to go through the entire program we’d planned. And with the red flag situation in the qualifying session, we ran out of time to get some more data so we’re now forced to make some decisions for the race as for tomorrow the weather forecast predicts more rain.”
RYAN BRISCOE, NO. 63 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “It was good to get some laps in in the dry. I immediately felt comfortable in the car, bar from a small brake balance issue which made me lock up the fronts in one turn. But overall I feel pretty happy.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 64 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “We’re not in a bad spot. Things are very close among our competitors. We know we have a pretty good Corvette C7.R, and we know we can battle and race with our competition in different types of conditions. It was good and important to get Tommy and Jordan some decent time in the car. I felt pretty comfortable in the car during practice, and I’ll get some more time tomorrow. The sessions today were pretty fragmented unfortunately with some bad weather, bad accidents and bent guardrail. That sucks up a lot of time. But fundamentally we’re not in a bad spot. As things progress, our car should come even more to us. I feel confident and happy that we’ve made some progress. We’ve confirmed some things today and ruled some things out. As fragmented as it’s been, we’ve made good, solid steps forward.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 64 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “We’re still playing around with our Corvette C7.R and still testing things. For me, I’m not super happy with the lap just because of traffic and things like that. That’s the way it goes. We still have more chances to improve our lap time, which is definitely possible. Qualifying is its own event in a way. The plan was also to get Jordan some laps and time in the car. It was really his first time getting some consecutive laps in dry weather at night, which isn’t ideal. But that’s part of the race. We’re relatively happy but still trying to push on and make our Corvette better.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 64 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “It was good. It was the first time from the Test Day through all day today to get consecutive laps without some red flags or yellows in corners. It was nice to finally get into a rhythm and an understanding of what the car is doing around here. The car is competitive in race trim; I don’t know if we went for a full-on qualifying run, but it’s comfortable enough know for a race car. We saw last year that we had good pace. Things are looking good so far.”
Le Mans 24 Hours (times in Central European and Eastern Daylight)
7-9 p.m., 10 p.m.-midnight CET, Thursday, June 11
1-3 p.m., 4-6 p.m. ET
9-9:45 a.m. CET, Saturday, June 13
3-3:45 a.m. ET
3 p.m. Saturday-3 p.m. CET, Sunday, June 14
9 a.m. Saturday-9 a.m. ET, Sunday
Le Mans: Watch It! (Saturday, June 13-Sunday, June 14 – all times ET) •8:30 a.m. Saturday-9:30 a.m. Sunday (FOX Sports GO)
•8:30 a.m.-noon, Saturday (FOX Sports 2)
•7-8 p.m., Saturday (FOX Sports 1)
•11 p.m., Saturday-12:30 a.m. Sunday (FOX Sports 2)
•3:30-7:30 a.m., Sunday (FOX Sports 1)
•7:30-9 a.m., Sunday (FOX Sports 2)
•9-9:30 a.m., Sunday (FOX Sports 1)
Corvette Racing 24 Hours of Le Mans Record
Release Date: June 10, 2015