CORVETTE RACING AT LONG BEACH: Riding Momentum Out West
Two victories in last four years on southern California street circuit
•2014 winners Garcia, Magnussen coming off Daytona-Sebring double victories
•Gavin, Milner victorious at Long Beach in 2012
•Chevrolet, Corvette Racing early GTLM leaders in TUDOR Championship
DETROIT – Following the two longest races on the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship schedule, Corvette Racing heads to the Long Beach street circuit for the shortest race of the season. The Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach is the third and shortest race on the TUDOR Championship schedule, and it historically has been good to Corvette Racing.
The two-car team will go for its sixth victory at Long Beach since 2007 and second in a row. All four Corvette drivers have won on the 11-turn, 1.968-mile street circuit: Oliver Gavin (2007, 2009, 2012), Jan Magnussen (2008, 2014), Tommy Milner (2012) and Antonio Garcia (2014).
Last year’s victory was the first for the Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, which went on to win four times in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class. Magnussen claimed pole position, and he and Garcia never trailed. As in 2014, the field will be comprised of cars from the Prototype and GTLM categories.
Garcia and Magnussen will drive the No. 3 Corvette C7.R with Gavin and Milner sharing the No. 4 Corvette C7.R.
At 100 minutes, the Long Beach event is a true sprint race. With a minimum drive time of just 35 minutes, the race likely will involve just one pit stop and driver change. As a result strategy and timing is a key. Those two factors have served Corvette Racing well so far in 2015.
Both Corvettes placed on the GTLM podium in the Rolex 24 At Daytona to open the season with Garcia, Magnussen and Ryan Briscoe winning by less than a half-second while Gavin, Milner and Verizon IndyCar star Simon Pagenaud placed third.
The most recent TUDOR Championship race saw Garcia, Magnussen and Briscoe win the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring to become the first trio in 15 years to win there and at Daytona in the same season. As a result, they lead the GTLM Drivers’ championship as does Chevrolet and the No. 3 Corvette C7.R in the Manufacturer and Team standings, respectively.
Not to be outdone, Gavin and Milner have been on the podium two of the last three years at Long Beach and placed third last year. They are tied for sixth in the GTLM standings but just four points out of second position.
The Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach, the third race of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, is set for 4:05 p.m. PT on Saturday, April 18 from the Long Beach street circuit. Live coverage begins at 7:05 p.m. ET on IMSA.com with FOX Sports 1 airing the race at 4 p.m. ET. Flag-to-flag radio coverage will be available via IMSA Radio.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“I am looking forward to going back to Long Beach. The last two years have been very good. We’ve been leading or at worst in the top-three. Long Beach seems to suit the Corvette very well. We should be pretty good for the race but so should the other manufacturers. It’s a short race at only 100 minutes. Strategy again will be the key thing as well as getting your full service done as quickly as possible. It will likely be a one-stop race again. It’s very difficult to predict what will happen. You can be aggressive as possible and things could go your way. Or it could be like last year and be a smooth race.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“A fast start to the season is a welcomed change for Antonio and I. Obviously after two races things look good for us at Corvette Racing, and we are heading back to a place where we won for the first time in the Corvette C7.R last year. Long Beach is a fantastic place and a great track. I really enjoy street circuits and this is one of the best. The track has a nice flow to it. It’s narrow in some places and wider in others. Staying out of trouble is always important, but it’s even more critical here. The short duration of the race means there isn’t room for mistakes, and if you make one then it’s really hard to recover. The drivers have a difficult task but so do the crews and engineers. This likely will still be a one-stop race, so the strategy along with refueling and changing the tires and driver has to be perfect. Fortunately over the first two races, our stops and strategy have been the best in GTLM. We’re hoping that continues at Long Beach.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“So much of the race will pivot around the pitstop. The performance of the cars is so close that trying to pass will be at a premium, so the only place you’re really going to be able to do it is in the pitlane. The window is really quite narrow. Because of track position, you’re going to want to pit as soon as you possibly can and try to make your fuel last all the way to the end. What it does put a lot of pressure on is making sure that the team executes on the stop and also on the drivers to make the change as fast as we can. Any holdups at all are going to cost you spots. And trying to get those spots back is going to be very hard. I’m sure everyone in the pitlane is going to be very focused on making sure their pitstops are well-drilled – the fueling, the tires and the driver changes.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“This is one of those races where you have to grab it by the horns and drive it as hard as you can for the amount of time. Of all the races we do, this has the highest amount of pressure in some ways. You make one mistake and you’re done. You don’t have the opportunity to make time up. At Long Beach, once the race starts, you pretty much feel like you’re at the end and you have to go racing. It’s exciting that way. You can tell everyone is thinking the same way you are. We all know it’s hard to pass there and make things happen. With just one stop, the crew guys know that the pressure is on them. It’s fairly simple in many ways but it’s also supremely detailed in that everything we do – even in practice and qualifying – directly relate to how the race is going to go.”
DOUG FEHAN, CORVETTE RACING PROGRAM MANAGER
“It has been a very good start to the season for Corvette Racing. We benefited from great strategy at Sebring, and we will need that again to win at Long Beach for the sixth time. This will likely be a one-stop race, so the execution by the engineers, crews and the drivers is paramount. A 100-minute race is a little bit of a different dynamic but it’s great entertainment for the fans and we are looking forward to giving them another great show this weekend.”
Corvette Racing History at Long Beach
TUDOR Championship – GTLM Standings
Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach – GT Le Mans (all times PT)
- TUDOR Practice 1: 7:45 a.m., Friday, April 17
- TUDOR Practice 2: 4:45 p.m., Friday, April 17
- TUDOR GTLM Qualifying: 5:30 p.m., Friday, April 17
- Race: 4:05 p.m., Saturday, April 18 (IMSA.com)
- TV: 4 p.m., Sunday, April 19 (FOX Sports 1)
Release Date: April 14, 2015