CORVETTE RACING AT PETIT LE MANS: No Small Challenge

Nov 09 2021 Randall Shinn 2021, News, Road Atlanta Comments Off on CORVETTE RACING AT PETIT LE MANS: No Small Challenge

CORVETTE RACING AT PETIT LE MANS: No Small Challenge

· Chevrolet on brink of 14th GT Manufacturers title in IMSA
· Garcia, Taylor set to complete back-to-back GTLM championships
· Tandy, Milner enter on three-race win streak in No. 4 Corvette C8.R
· Full Corvette Racing lineup for 10-hour close to 2021 season

DETROIT (Nov. 9, 2021) – Corvette Racing closes out the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season – and the last race for the GT Le Mans (GTLM) category – this weekend with Petit Le Mans from Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

The 10-hour endurance race – the program’s 250th event all-time – will serve as a Corvette Racing celebration as the race’s green flag will officially bring another sweep of the GTLM Manufacturers, Drivers and Team championships to Chevrolet and Corvette Racing for the second year in a row.

On the strength of seven wins and nine straight pole positions, Chevrolet will lock up its 14th Manufacturers Championship in IMSA GT racing since 2001. Four of those victories came via Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor, teammates in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R. The duo, teaming with Nicky Catsburg at Road Atlanta, only need to start the race to wrap up their second straight GTLM title and consecutive Team championships for the No. 3 Corvette.

Tommy Milner and Nick Tandy will secure second in GTLM points once they start the race in the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette. They’ll team with Alexander Sims at Road Atlanta.

In addition to the full-season GTLM titles, Corvette Racing and Chevrolet also lead the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup standings in the Manufacturers, Drivers and Team categories. Points are awarded at the four-, eight- and 10-hour marks. The two Corvettes and their drivers are 1-2 in the standings while Chevy leads the Manufacturers race by two points.

Corvette Racing has eight class wins at Petit Le Mans and is seeking its first win at Road Atlanta since 2010. It would be a fitting end to the GTLM era as the program has more wins (29) than any other entrant in the class since its debut in 2014.

Taylor, Tandy and Sims each have previous victories to their credit in Petit Le Mans; Tandy leads all current IMSA drivers with four career wins in the event.

Chevrolet on Display at Road Atlanta
Chevrolet’s presence at Petit Le Mans will be evident in the Fan Zone area of Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. A must-see for any fan is the immersive Chevrolet Motorsports Display that will be open to fans throughout the weekend. Located at the infield vendor area of the circuit, the Chevrolet Motorsports Display will be full of Chevrolet vehicles and items that spectators can learn more about during a busy event.

The Chevrolet Motorsports Display opens at 8 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The feature attraction is the 2023 Corvette Z06, which was revealed only weeks ago with worldwide acclaim. Additional Chevrolet vehicles and other highlights include:

• A Corvette Racing C8.R showcar
• A 2022 Corvette Stingray IMSA GTLM Championship Edition coupe
• Additional Chevrolet products such as the Camaro ZL1, Blazer RS, Silverado Trail Boss and Tahoe RST
• A special display with various Corvette Racing artifacts including past driver firesuits and credentials, assorted gearbox components and steering wheel
• An opportunity to receive a Team Chevy T-shirt

Petit Le Mans is scheduled for 12:10 p.m. ET on Saturday, November 13 from Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. The live television broadcast begins at noon ET on NBC followed by 7.5 hours of coverage on NBCSN from 3 to 10:30 pm. ET. The full race will stream on TrackPass and NBC Sports Gold. Live IMSA Radio coverage will air on XM 202, SiriusXM Online 992 and IMSA.com, which also will host live timing and scoring.

ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “I personally really want to win this race really bad! This is something about Petit Le Mans – apart from last year – always being the last race. You usually play it a little different. There were many years where we were contesting for the championship. Your approach was a little different compared to how you raced at Daytona and Sebring, where you are all-out to win the race. Here in the past, we would focus on covering the cars that were in the championship with us. Then there were other cars that weren’t in contention for the championship that would take gambles and go for the win. That’s probably one of the reasons I haven’t won the race although we did win many championships here. I’ll take that. Maybe we didn’t get the glory of the race wins but I have many memories of winning championships. Maybe this year we can do both!”

JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “We’re in a great position in the championship. We just need to start the race to clinch it. That’s a good feeling. But at the end of the day, Petit Le Mans is its own race and a big deal. Antonio and Nicky haven’t won it yet, so I know it’s at the top of their list. With the championship being pretty much over, it means we can take all the risks we want in the race. It opens up options on track and with strategy, and puts us in a pretty good situation.
“The track at Road Atlanta is unique. It’s narrow, high-speed and has one good racing line. When it comes to traffic with how many classes we have now, it makes it busy. For us, we can be more aggressive and take some risks to overtake cars and not have to worry about points. I think that will work in our favor.”

NICKY CATSBURG, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “This definitely is an event we all want to win. Antonio has been here for a long time and has never won it. He keeps mentioning it so there’s a lot of pressure to win it! I’ve not won here either so I’d love to win it as well. Last year we got close but never really had the real pace to beat the winning car. Things feel good. We have had some testing so that we can be more prepared.
“Being in a good spot in the championship definitely takes away a lot of the pressure. I do feel like, especially in IMSA races in the early parts, sometimes I could be a little too aggressive and it’s not so rewarding, especially at the beginning of the race. Every time it will get equalized with the yellows. So even though there is no championship on the line, it’s almost better to be careful early. Toward the end, we can of course push a bit more and take more risks than if you were still racing for the championship.”

TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “We’re coming to Petit Le Mans, and it’s the end of GTLM. The future for the GT classes looks better than ever but it would be awesome to send this class off in IMSA with a win for us in the 4 car. I’m sure the 3 car guys would love to be P1 as well. Nick and I have been on a roll here the last couple of races. We’d love to keep that momentum going but as always with Petit Le Mans, it’s always a very challenging race. Ten hours here is very hard. The traffic management is always difficult. It’s no easy task, plus we have the BMWs back for even more competition.
“This track has more of the risk vs. reward benefits. But as you would expect, the biggest risks come with the biggest rewards but also potentially bigger problems. With how IMSA is structured with safety cars, it’s hard to make a lot of time on your competitors. Therefore it’s hard to lose a lot of time as well. That doesn’t play quite as big a role early in the race but certainly late in the race and the last hour, there are opportunities to take bigger risks to get a bigger gap in traffic or close a gap. We’ll have to go off all our years of experience and knowledge of where you can and can’t pass, how the traffic works to the best of our ability.”

NICK TANDY, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “Petit Le Mans is a different animal compared to a lot of events. The track is quite short. It being a long race with a lot of classes, there are that many more cars on track at the same time. It’s a lot different than having the same number of cars at a place like Sebring, for example. The event and the race are typically quite fraught, and it’s easy to get mixed up in trouble during the race. The track is fast and lends itself well to multi-class racing. There are different lines you can take, and there are places where cars can co-exist together on-track. But there also are places where it’s easy to get into trouble. So experience matters in this race.
“Petit Le Mans was my first big win and is probably my most successful event in terms of winning a big event. A lot of the time it’s been really kind to me. I enjoy going into the darkness at night for the last couple of hours after starting in the day. The night-time isn’t so long, so if you have a driver that is adaptable, they can often make a difference come the end of the race. Hopefully my success in the past will carry on this year. We’ve also got the Michelin Endurance Cup, which we’ll have an eye on. This is something that the team and all of us would like to get ahold of. Hopefully by Hour Four it should look pretty rosy and we can crack on and start working our way back from the end of the race rather looking ahead of the four- and eight-hour mark.”

ALEXANDER SIMS, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “First off, to come back to Road Atlanta and drive this track is a pleasure. It has such a nice mixture of corners – some banking, some slightly off-camber, some crests, high-speed and low-speed stuff, esses… to get the car turned in to all those different types of corners, it’s always nice when you do find that sweet spot. The race itself has been pretty eventful the last couple of times I’ve done it. There is a good mixture of cars in the field, a reasonable scope for yellow flags to bunch the field up and create close racing. Also driving into the night is quite special. There are only a handful of races where you drive in the night during a season. This being one of them is pretty cool when you make that transition. It will get dark earlier this year as well.
“I don’t have a huge amount of understanding the C8.R around this track, but it was nice to be at Road Atlanta to get some experience ahead of the race. It’s been a brilliant year to drive with the team, Nick and Tommy. I’d like to think it was the inspiration that I gave them at Le Mans of the car being able to achieve the fastest lap has pushed them on! I have learned a lot from them about how to extract time out of this car. I’ve really enjoyed every moment.”

2021 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – GTLM (After Nine of 10 Events)
Driver Standings
1. Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor – 3,269
2. Tommy Milner/Nick Tandy – 3,142
3. Cooper MacNeil – 2,974
4. Matt Campbell – 1,702
5. Mathieu Jaminet – 1,324

Team Standings
1. No. 3 Corvette Racing – 3,269
2. No. 4 Corvette Racing – 3,142
3. No. 79 WeatherTech Racing – 2,974
4. No. 24 BMW Team RLL – 1,001
5. No. 25 BMW Team RLL – 966

Manufacturer Standings
1. Chevrolet – 3,385
2. Porsche – 3,164
3. BMW – 1,052
4. Ferrari – 330

CORVETTE RACING AT ROAD ATLANTA: By the Numbers
• 1: As in one team, one manufacturer and one model of car for 23 years: Corvette Racing, Chevrolet and the Chevrolet Corvette.
• 3: Tracks where Corvette Racing has competed in each of its 23 years: Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, Sebring International Raceway and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
• 4: Generations of Corvette Racing entries at Road Atlanta since 1999 – Corvette C5-R (1999-04) Corvette C6.R (2005-2013), Corvette C7.R (2014-2019) and the new-generation Corvette C8.R (2020-current), which made its Road Atlanta debut during last September’s six-hour IMSA race.
• 10: Number of Road Atlanta victories for Corvette Racing dating back to 2000 – eight of those at Petit Le Mans.
• 10: Petit Le Mans wins for Chevrolet – eight in GT and two in Prototype. That ranks third among manufacturers in event history.
• 13: Manufacturer Championships in GT racing for Chevrolet and Corvette Racing since 2001. That will grow to 14with the start of Saturday’s race
• 25: Tracks at which Corvette Racing has won races – Baltimore, Charlotte Motor Speedway, COTA, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park/Mosport, Daytona, Detroit, Houston, Laguna Seca, Le Mans, Lime Rock, Long Beach, Miami, Mid-Ohio, Portland, Road America, Road Atlanta, Sebring, Sonoma, St. Petersburg, Texas, Trois Rivieres, Utah, VIR, Washington DC and Watkins Glen.
• 29: Number of GT Le Mans wins in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for Corvette Racing since the start of 2014.
• 31: Number of drivers for Corvette Racing since 1999.
• 120: Victories worldwide for Corvette Racing – 112 in North America and eight at Le Mans.
• 249: Event starts by Corvette Racing since 1999.
• 39,497.24: Number of racing miles completed by Corvette Racing in its 25 previous trips to Road Atlanta. That represents 15,773 laps or more than 617 trips around Interstate 285 – Atlanta’s Perimeter.
• 331,830.62: Total number of racing miles completed by Corvette Racing since its inception. To put that in perspective Apollo 13 – the longest manned spaceflight in history – covered “just” 248,655 miles when it reached its farthest point from earth. Simply put, the program has raced to the moon… and then some.

Corvette Racing at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta
1999
No. 3 Corvette C5-R: Ron Fellows/Chris Kneifel/John Paul Jr. – 5th in GTS
No. 4 Corvette C5-R: Andy Pilgrim/Kelly Collins/Scott Sharp – 4th in GTS

2000
No. 3 Corvette C5-R: Ron Fellows/Chris Kneifel/Justin Bell – 3rd in GTS (Fellows pole)
No. 4 Corvette C5-R: Andy Pilgrim/Kelly Collins/Franck Freon – 1st in GTS

2001
No. 3 Corvette C5-R: Ron Fellows/Johnny O’Connell/Scott Pruett – 9th in GTS
No. 4 Corvette C5-R: Andy Pilgrim/Kelly Collins/Franck Freon – 1st in GTS (Pilgrim pole)

2002
No. 3 Corvette C5-R: Ron Fellows/Johnny O’Connell/Oliver Gavin – 1st in GTS
No. 4 Corvette C5-R: Andy Pilgrim/Kelly Collins/Franck Freon – 3rd in GTS (Pilgrim fastest race lap)

2003*
No. 3 Corvette C5-R: Ron Fellows/Johnny O’Connell – 3rd in GTS
No. 4 Corvette C5-R: Oliver Gavin/Kelly Collins – 1st in GTS

2003
No. 3 Corvette C5-R: Ron Fellows/Johnny O’Connell/Franck Freon – 5th in GTS
No. 4 Corvette C5-R: Oliver Gavin/Kelly Collins/Andy Pilgrim – 3rd in GTS

2004
No. 3 Corvette C5-R: Ron Fellows/Johnny O’Connell/Max Papis – 2nd in GTS
No. 4 Corvette C5-R: Olivier Beretta/Oliver Gavin/Jan Magnussen – 1st in GTS (Gavin pole, fastest race lap)

2005*
No. 3 Corvette C6.R: Ron Fellows/Johnny O’Connell – 1st in GT1 (O’Connell pole, fastest race lap)
No. 4 Corvette C6.R: Olivier Beretta/Oliver Gavin – 2nd in GT1

2005
No. 3 Corvette C6.R: Ron Fellows/Johnny O’Connell/Max Papis – 6th in GT1
No. 4 Corvette C6.R: Olivier Beretta/Oliver Gavin/Jan Magnussen – 1st in GT1 (Beretta pole, Gavin fastest race lap)

2006
No. 3 Corvette C6.R: Ron Fellows/Johnny O’Connell/Max Papis – 4th in GT1 (O’Connell pole)
No. 4 Corvette C6.R: Olivier Beretta/Oliver Gavin/Jan Magnussen – 3rd in GT1 (Gavin fastest race lap)

2007
No. 3 Corvette C6.R: Ron Fellows/Johnny O’Connell/Jan Magnussen – 3rd in GT1
No. 4 Corvette C6.R: Olivier Beretta/Oliver Gavin/Max Papis – 1st in GT1 (Gavin fastest race lap)

2008
No. 3 Corvette C6.R: Ron Fellows/Johnny O’Connell/Jan Magnussen – 1st in GT1 (O’Connell pole, Magnussen fastest race lap)
No. 4 Corvette C6.R: Olivier Beretta/Oliver Gavin/Max Papis – 2nd in GT1

2009
No. 3 Corvette C6.R: Jan Magnussen/Johnny O’Connell/Antonio Garcia – 6th in GT2
No. 4 Corvette C6.R: Olivier Beretta/Oliver Gavin/Marcel Fässler – 4th in GT2

2010
No. 3 Corvette C6.R: Olivier Beretta/Johnny O’Connell/Antonio Garcia – 6th in GT
No. 4 Corvette C6.R: Oliver Gavin/Jan Magnussen/Emmanuel Collard – 1st in GT (Magnussen fastest race lap)

2011
No. 3 Corvette C6.R: Olivier Beretta/Tommy Milner/Antonio Garcia – 17th in GT
No. 4 Corvette C6.R: Oliver Gavin/Jan Magnussen/Richard Westbrook – 4th in GT

2012
No. 3 Corvette C6.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor – 2nd in GT
No. 4 Corvette C6.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Richard Westbrook – 12th in GT

2013
No. 3 Corvette C6.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor – 6th in GT (Garcia/Magnussen ALMS GT title)
No. 4 Corvette C6.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Richard Westbrook – 10th in GT

2014
No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Ryan Briscoe – 8th in GTLM
No. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Ryan Briscoe – 4th in GTLM

2015
No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Ryan Briscoe – 6th in GTLM
No. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Ryan Briscoe – 3rd in GTLM

2016
No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Mike Rockenfeller – 4th in GTLM
No. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler – 3rd in GTLM (Gavin/Milner clinch GTLM title)

2017
No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Mike Rockenfeller – 2nd in GTLM (Garcia/Magnussen clinch GTLM title)
No. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler – 4th in GTLM

2018
No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Marcel Fässler – 8th in GTLM (Garcia/Magnussen clinch GTLM title)
No. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler – 2nd in GTLM

2019
No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Mike Rockenfeller – 4th in GTLM
No. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler – 7th in GTLM

2020**
No. 3 Corvette C8.R: Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor – 5th in GTLM
No. 4 Corvette C8.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner – 2nd in GTLM

2020
No. 3 Corvette C8.R: Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor/Nicky Catsburg – 2nd in GTLM
No. 4 Corvette C8.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler – 4th in GTLM

* Two-hour, 45 minute races
** Six-hour race