CORVETTE RACING AT ROAD ATLANTA: Halfway Update
CORVETTE RACING AT ROAD ATLANTA: Halfway Update
BRASELTON, Ga. (Oct. 13, 2018) – Corvette Racing found itself in prime position halfway to challenge for a race victory and championship through the 10-hour Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in the final race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season. The No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R – the GT Le Mans (GTLM) Championship leader – ran fourth following a restart at the five-hour mark, just ahead the No. 4 sister Corvette.
Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Marcel Fässler all had cycled through in the No. 3 Corvette as Garcia and Magnussen seek a second straight GTLM Driver title. All they need is a fourth-place finish in class to repeat as Driver and Team champions. Garcia began second but stormed to the lead with a strong move into Turn One on the opening lap.
Meanwhile, Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin had taken turns in the No. 4 Corvette through the first five hours. Milner drove an inspired opening double-stint to go from eighth at the start to third by the time he handed over to Gavin. A variety of early-race pit strategies by the GTLM field kept the order shuffling.
A victory today would be Corvette Racing’s ninth in Petit Le Mans and 107th victory overall – plus 100th in IMSA competition.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “That was really good. I really want to win this race, so I went for it on the opening lap. My pace was really good even saving the tires and fuel. Everything seemed to be very good. Even in the middle in the stint when everyone is kind of equal, I could open a tiny bit but it made all the difference in the second half. I could really go for it. The Porsches went off sequence but I like our pace and I’m confident. This has been a good start.”
DOES GOING HARD AT THE START LET YOU KNOW WHAT KIND OF CAR YOU MAY HAVE TOWARD THE END? “That was something I was trying… kind of test everyone to see where they were. Even taking care of the tires at little I could hold the pace and gaps to the other cars. But that thinking was more of a long-term thing. It would have been crazy to go super fast this year. Tire degradation will be way better toward the end, so maybe you don’t need to think about that as much. But for sure, the ultimate pace is good.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “Really positive first stint. Obviously I’m a little disappointed from the qualifying effort but I felt really confident yesterday that we had a good race car and it’s good to feel that in the first two stints. I think we have the two fastest race cars over a stint, so we’re really happy with the car. We’re making some small adjustments to make it just that much better. As always with these long races, it’s always nice for the driver to get those first laps in, get comfortable, get into a rhythm and now we can get into the flow of the race. We just need to stay out of trouble and have a good car for the end. If we can do that, we have a good chance to do really well.
HOW WILL TRACK AND AIR TEMPS CHANGES IMPACT YOU FOR THE NEXT STINT? “For me, it will probably be around the hottest that we’ve seen (this week). It won’t affect us too much. Hopefully, it will be worse for the competitors. Just trying to be very conscious of taking care of the tires. If you do that, it pays big dividends at the end of the stint. It seems like we’re able to do that, and we might not be the fastest cars the first 10 laps but the last 10 we have a really good car. That’s where it really matters. I’ll focus on my next stint, make no mistakes and hopefully be in position to win.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “Trying to stay within sight of or within a couple of spots of the 67 (Ford entry). The car feels nice; I’m happy with the progress that we’re making. Everybody is going as fast as they can but nobody is really fighting. I imagine it will be at least another two or three hours before we start seeing any strategy being implemented. I think we’re now just seeing now far every car can go on a tank (of fuel).
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU FELT OR SAW THAT GAVE YOU AND INDICATION OF HOW THE CAR MAY BE LIKE WITH TWO HOURS TO GO? “I think the issues that I had about the handling of the car, as the track rubbers in, usually helps that kind of stuff. I think we’ll have a good car for the rest of the race.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “The run started off OK, a bit frantic. The usual GTLM stuff; everybody battling, fighting hard. I got with Nick Tandy a little bit coming out of (Turn) Seven, which was typical. I wanted to be inside of him and we both tried to run out the corner at the same time and I ran out of road and I pushed him on the grass. Not necessarily the way I wanted to race Nick. We carried on, caught up behind Jan (Magnussen) and then it went full-course caution.
“We already talked before the start that my stint I would try this option tire and I think everybody had a good idea what was going to happen. But we needed to do it just to see. I knew after 10 laps that it was going to be a battle. Laps 20-35 got pretty nasty. The wear when it would kind of unstick me when I would either try to pass in traffic or I would get caught by P cars. You just have very little ability to maneuver the car properly on that tire, and you just have to try to thread it through the racetrack. As soon as you break up your rhythm and break up your line you’re hung out to dry. Then the way some of the P cars are being driven is just ridiculous. We say it every year, but they are just not respectful of what we need to do with our cars. I lost a mirror and you think, ‘Why?’ We have six hours to go. You’re smacking bit of my car, you’re going to be smacking bits off your car. We don’t need to do this and it just added to my frustration. By the time I got out I was pretty frustrated. The next time I get in I’m sure I’ll be on the right tire. The car fundamentally is fast on the right tire. You want to keep the pressure on these Ford guys and BMW guys to make the mistakes.”
MARCEL FÄSSLER, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “If I had clear laps, I could run quite OK but too often I was stuck in traffic. I was fighting the car a little bit with too much oversteer. We changed it for my second stint, which was much better so I could push and keep my time stable. But the first stint was really tricky. I never could find a rhythm. It wasn’t easy at all for me.”