CORVETTE RACING AT SEBRING: Disappointing End in Florida Classic
After leading during the day, sixth and eighth for Corvette C7.Rs
SEBRING, Fla. – Corvette Racing’s two Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs each led in class at Sebring International Raceway on Saturday but ultimately ended the 62nd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida on disappointing notes.
The No. 4 Corvette C7.R of Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Robin Liddell finished sixth in GT Le Mans for the second round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. The car led in class for significant portions throughout the race before two late spins and an engine issue with 30 minutes remaining put a halt to the car’s charge.
Up until that point, it was smooth sailing for the No. 4 Corvette. Gavin set the class’ fastest race lap (1:59.521).
The No. 3 Corvette C7.R of Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Ryan Briscoe had an up-and-down day with the “down” part coming into play again with four hours to go. The trio eventually finished eighth in class after suffering an opening-lap collision and fuel pressure problems that ultimately resulted in the replacement of the Corvette’s fuel pump just past the eight-hour mark.
The No. 3 Corvette also lost a lap early with front bodywork damage it sustained on the opening lap when Garcia was hit by a competitor from behind and shoved into a BMW ahead of him on the opening lap. But timely yellows and strategy calls put the Spaniard into the lead just past the halfway point.
The next round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship takes place on the Long Beach (Calif.) street circuit from April 11-12.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“It is a shame. It went from a disaster to really enjoying the fight back. The car was running really good. The team did a really good job just to get it back after we crashed on the first lap, and the car was behaving really good. Good strategies, and step-by-step we were going up. It was going perfect. Then again, everything went south. It’s definitely something we need to take care of for sure. We can take this as learning and try to fix every single thing because we have the speed, we have best team and we have a really good car.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“It’s been up and down all day. It didn’t start so well. Antonio got hit from behind on the first lap and smacked into somebody else. There was quite a bit of damage to the front – the fenders and we had to change the whole nose. We went a lap down but got that back and into the lead of the race. Then we had the unfortunate issue with the fuel pump and spent time trying to fix it. The car was pretty good. We could drive as fast as anyone out there. It was a shame about the little things. But the Corvette Racing guys were great. We all are massively disappointed.”
RYAN BRISCOE, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“The engine started running worse off the corners like it wasn’t running clean. It started to get worse and worse and worse as we went on. In the end it was the fuel pump. At least we were able to go until we got a full-course caution so that helped us out a little bit. Unfortunately we were three laps down. It was just so good to have the lead and run 1-2. We were the quickest cars on the track, for sure. It’s just a real shame.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“It’s very frustrating that we had that problem and issue at the end. Up to that point we were looking very strong. I got in the car toward the end to do the last couple of stints. I had a couple of issues inside the cockpit with lights that we moved around after night practice. And we’re still finding our way a little bit with this new car. I got a bit hot coming into Turn 17 and had a bit of a spin. We caught back up to the Viper and Porsche. As I was right there with them, we started to have this problem with the engine and it started to miss a bit. I was pushing harder and harder to try and keep up. I pushed a little too hard coming out of Turn 5 and looped it off there. It was pretty clear we had a problem after that. It was a case of managing the situation until the finish. But I think the guys did an absolute fantastic job with the car this weekend. For 11 hours we had one of the quickest cars and best cars. We were in a position to fight with anyone and seemed like we were the class of the field.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“It’s a bummer. It’s unfortunate, for sure. It was kind of like Daytona, unfortunately. The car was good for 95 percent of the race. That last five percent now has been a little bit of a problem. But it’s a new car. I’m excited about how quick we’ve been… and good teamwork. The No. 3 car guys had a problem early on and they were able to fight back from that. We had our own little issues throughout the race. I kept fighting and got back up front there toward the end. It was just unlucky.”
ROBIN LIDDELL, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“It was disappointing obviously. Tommy (Milner) and Olly (Gavin) did the lion’s share of the work, by far. And it would have been their win really, and the team’s win if we’d gotten to that point. But obviously it’s disappointing. We came pretty close at Daytona and then again here. But ultimately we’ve got to be reasonably happy with the performance of the car and obviously the team. But it’s always hard when you get close to the end in a race like this, looking like you’re going to get results, and then you start running into difficulties. But essentially it’s just new car blues. Having these two races as the first two of the season makes it incredibly tough. I think the car has shown itself to be not just a contender, but a race-winning car. It’s been a great experience. I’m happy to have the opportunity to drive for Corvette. On that side, it’s good.”
DOUG FEHAN, CORVETTE RACING PROGRAM MANAGER
“The Sebring 12 Hours typically is one of the most challenging and unpredictable auto races in the world. Today was no different. Similar to the first race of the year at Daytona, the Chevrolet Corvette C7.R showed its tremendous potential with both cars leading significant portions of the race – including the No. 3 after facing adversity on the opening lap. At Corvette Racing, we don’t give up and that was on full display again. We’re encouraged with the performance of both Corvette C7.Rs and are eager to get back to racing at Long Beach.”
Release Date: March 15, 2014