CORVETTE RACING AT ROAD ATLANTA: Fittipaldi, Action Express Racing On Pole

Oct 03 2014 admin News Comments Off on CORVETTE RACING AT ROAD ATLANTA: Fittipaldi, Action Express Racing On Pole

Garcia leads Corvette Racing GTLM qualifying for 10-hour Petit Le Mans

  • Fittipaldi, Barbosa remain in Prototype championship drivers’ seat
  • Corvette DPs first, second and third in Prototype
  • Garcia to start GTLM title chase from sixth in class

BRASELTON, Ga. – Christian Fittipaldi kept the season-long momentum going for Action Express Racing and the Corvette Daytona Prototype effort with pole position Friday for Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. In qualifying for Saturday’s 10-hour endurance race, Fittipaldi set a best lap of 1:14.508 (122.725 mph) in Action Express Racing’s No. 5 Corvette DP that he drives with Joao Barbosa and Sebastian Bourdais.

Fittipaldi and Barbosa entered the Petit Le Mans weekend leading the Prototype Driver’s standings in the TUDOR United SportsCar Series. In Saturday’s race, Barbosa and Fittipaldi each need to drive a minimum of 45 minutes to become eligible for points and clinch their first professional sports car championship.

In the Manufacturer standings, Chevrolet can clinch the first TUDOR Championship Engine Manufacturer title by having just one of its five Corvette DPs take the green flag Saturday. Corvette DPs swept the first three spots in qualifying. Ricky Taylor was second for Wayne Taylor Racing with a lap of 1:14.797 (122.251 mph) in the No. 10 Corvette DP. Third-fastest was Richard Westbrook in the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP at 1:14.920 (122.050 mph).

The Taylors are second and 22 points off the championship lead with Westbrook and Michael Valiante another point back in third.

Taking the TUDOR title would go along with Chevrolet’s DP manufacturer championships in 2012 and 2013 as part of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series. Adding in this year’s victories, the Corvette DP program has won 21 times since its debut a little less than three years ago.

The scenario is similar for Action Express Racing in the Team standings. The No. 5 Corvette DP has three victories to their credit this year – the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Indianapolis and Road America. As long as the No. 5 Corvette DP starts the race, Action Express will win its first team championship in Prototype competition.

Corvette Racing: Ready for a Long Fight

Standing second in GTLM Driver points, Antonio Garcia qualified sixth in class with a lap of 1:18.979 (115.778 mph) in the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R that he will drive with Jan Magnussen and Ryan Briscoe. The end result didn’t tell the entire story; Garcia was less three-tenths of a second off the front row in class. Nick Tandy’s Porsche was the fastest GTLM qualifier at 1:18.350 (116.707 mph).

Garcia and Magnussen have won four times in class, and the Spaniard is seven points off the championship lead. He and Magnussen were ALMS GT champions in 2013. Garcia needs a victory in the No. 3 Corvette and a fourth-place finish or worse by the leading Dodge Viper to claim the championship.

Tommy Milner was ninth in class with a 1:19.256 (115.373 mph) driving the No. 4 Corvette C7.R that he will share with Oliver Gavin and Briscoe. Like Garcia, there wasn’t much of a gap between Milner and a higher position- a half-second to the top-five.

In the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup, Gavin and Milner lead by a single point over a group of five drivers including Magnussen and Garcia. The gap is the same in the Team standings. Chevrolet is one point behind Porsche among manufacturers.

Corvette Racing’s success at Road Atlanta dates back to 2000 when the team won Petit Le Mans for the first time in the GTS class. It started a nine-year run that saw seven victories in class including a three-peat from 2000 to 2002. The last victory for the team came in 2010 when Gavin, Magnussen and Emmanuel Collard won.

PROTOTYPE QUOTES

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, NO. 5 ACTION EXPRESS CORVETTE DAYTONA PROTOTYPE, POLE WINNER:

“It definitely was a great job. If we didn’t have a competitive car, and didn’t have a lot of effort for the whole team and Chevy behind us, obviously we wouldn’t be in this position. We knew we had a strong car yesterday, but yesterday with the laps we did it was almost impossible to get a clean lap. The track, in my opinion was worse than yesterday. But we will definitely take it. We are very happy. It’s a good start, but I would rather talk to you after the race! Let’s get it over with, and let’s talk after the race!”

RICKY TAYLOR, NO. 10 KONICA/MINOLTA CORVETTE DAYTONA PROTOTYPE, QUALIFIED 2ND:

“We have a great car. With the No. 42 car not out there, that is when I realized we had a car for the pole. I just missed out on the track. I didn’t put together a very good lap. We only had three laps to do it. Maybe I was pushing a little too hard in one of the corners and I just never did get it right. I’m very disappointed but am very confident for tomorrow. I think we have a very good car.”

RICHARD WESTBROOK, NO. 90 SPIRIT OF DAYTONA CORVETTE DAYTONA PROTOTYPE, QUALIFIED 3RD:

“The two stoppages (red flags) hurt us. We struggle on our car with tire temperature and couldn’t get any temperature in them. It was nowhere near the operating window so we couldn’t get that quick lap in. But I’m encouraged for the race. I think we will have a good race car. It’s a 10-hour race, and qualifying doesn’t mean much.”

JIM LUTZ, CHEVROLET CORVETTE DP PROGRAM MANAGER

“That was a tremendous round of qualifying for the three Corvette Daytona Prototype teams. Having the top-three starting spots is a tremendous way to start the season-ending, 10-hour Petit Le Mans. Congratulations to Christian Fittipaldi on his first pole of the year and the No. 5 Action Express Corvette DP team on their second. They have set the perfect stage to make the march for a championship run on Saturday.”

GTLM QUOTES

ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R

“We have to be happy after what happened at COTA. We split the Vipers, which is good. In our position, we are only a tenth away from the best Viper so that puts us in a good spot for the race. We have to keep fighting. We can make some improvements in the car’s behavior. As the race develops, we should be heading in the right way. You can’t be happy that many positions away from pole but we did all we could. We squeezed everything out of the car. That’s what we have and it’s a good starting point for a long race tomorrow.”

TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R

“We have to look at the big picture. We had rain this morning and we’re still a little bit behind the eight-ball as far as our competitiveness goes, but that’s not really on our minds. Our focus is making our cars better. Certainly it was pretty slick with no real rubber on the race track. Both Antonio and I weren’t fairly unhappy with how the cars felt but that’s not a function of what we did; it’s a function of the race track and it’s the same for everybody. I think how we have the cars will suit the track for the race tomorrow. We’ll tweak some things here and there and make the cars a bit more reachable for tomorrow. Qualifying doesn’t matter for a 10-hour race; it’s how you race. These guys have always been really good on pit stops and strategy. We’re very driven and determined to have a good result this weekend. Hopefully that will push us through some of the performance deficits we have.”

TUDOR Championship – GTLM Standings

Driver Standings Team Standings Manufacturer Standings
1. Jonathan Bomarito/Kuno Wittmer – 300
2. Antonio Garcia – 293
3. Dominik Farnbacher/Marc Goossens – 283
4. Bill Auberlen/Andy Priaulx – 276
5. Dirk Muller/John Edwards – 275
7. Jan Magnussen – 269
8. Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner – 262
1. No. 93 SRT Motorsports – 300
2. No. 3 Corvette Racing – 293
3. No. 91 SRT Motorsports – 283
4. No. 62 Risi Competizione – 277
5. No. 55 BMW Team RLL – 276
8. No. 4 Corvette Racing – 262
1. SRT – 308
2. Porsche – 308 3. Chevrolet – 300
4. BMW – 300
5. Ferrari – 294

TUDOR Championship – Prototype Standings

Driver Standings Team Standings Engine Manufacturer Standings
1. Joao Barbosa/Christian Fittipaldi – 316
2. Jordan Taylor/Ricky Taylor – 294
3. Michael Valiante/Richard Westbrook – 293
4. Scott Pruett – 286
4. Gustavo Yacaman – 286
5. Ed Brown/Johannes van Overbeek
13. Eric Curran – 148
15. Boris Said – 141
16. Burt Frisselle – 132 20. Max Angelelli – 85
21. Brian Frisselle – 84
23. Sebastien Bourdais – 67
27. Jon Fogarty – 54
1. No. 5 Action Express Racing – 316
2. No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing – 294
3. No. 90 Spirit of Daytona – 293
4. No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing – 286
5. No. 42 Oak Racing – 286
10. No. 31 Marsh Racing – 210>
13. No. 9 Action Express Racing – 84
18. GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing – 14
1. Chevrolet – 331
2. Ford – 317
3. Honda – 297
4. Mazda – 270
4. Nissan – 239

Petit Le Mans (all times ET)

  • TUDOR Championship Warmup: 9 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 4
  • Petit Le Mans: 11:15 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 4

Petit Le Mans – Watch It (all times ET)

  • Race: 11 a.m. (IMSA.com), Saturday, Oct. 4; 3 p.m. (FOX Sports 2), Saturday, Oct. 4

Release Date: October 3, 2014