CORVETTE RACING AT SEBRING: Garcia Qualifies Corvette C7.R Third in GTLM
Rolex 24 winning trio to start on second row in class; Barbosa third overall for Action Express Racing
•Corvette Racing going for ninth class win at Sebring
•Milner, Gavin, Pagenaud to start seventh in class
•Corvette DPs take two of first five overall spots in qualifying
SEBRING, Fla. – Corvette Racing will start from the second and fourth rows of the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class for Saturday’s 63rd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida. Antonio Garcia in the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R was the third-fastest qualifier in class Friday as he, Jan Magnussen and Ryan Briscoe go for their second straight victory to open the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
Garcia’s best lap was a 1:58.828 (113.307 mph) in the car that won the Rolex 24 At Daytona in GTLM two months ago. Qualifying Friday was close as the top six cars were within 0.343 seconds.
Tommy Milner, driving the No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R with Oliver Gavin and Simon Pagenaud, qualified seventh with a best lap of 1:59.451 (112.716 mph). The trio finished third at the Rolex 24.
Corvette Racing has competed at Sebring every year with two cars since 1999. The team has won eight times with the most recent coming in 2013; Milner and Gavin teamed with Richard Westbrook for the victory.
“This is the car setup we are racing,” said Garcia. “In that way, I think we are in a really good position with how the car behaves over the stint. We know it is going to be really hard in the middle part of the race because it will be very, very warm. It will be a hard time for everyone but we need to be ready for the last three or four hours. Up to that point, we need to be patient. We have a car that will be fast, which is good.”
Chevrolet and Corvette Racing lead the GTLM Manufacturer, Driver and Team points standings in the TUDOR Championship. Like the Rolex 24, Sebring is a round of the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup. Chevrolet and Corvette Racing lead the GTLM standings as well in that competition, which is a four-race collection of the TUDOR Championship’s long-distance rounds.
Corvette DP: Barbosa Leads Efforts with Third-Place on Grid
Following a second-place finish to open the TUDOR Championship at the Rolex 24, Joao Barbosa put Action Express Racing’s No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP third on the Prototype grid for Saturday’s race.
Barbosa’s best lap was a 1:52.128 (120.077 mph) in the Corvette DP that he drives with Christian Fittipaldi and 2014 Sebring pole-winner Sebastien Bourdais. The trio finished third in last year’s race en route to the TUDOR Championship Prototype title.
Action Express Racing’s No. 31 Whelen Engineering/Team Fox Corvette DP will start fifth following Dane Cameron’s lap of 1:52.490 (119.691 mph). He drives with Eric Curran and Max Papis.
Richard Westbrook qualified sixth for VisitFlorida.com Racing in the No. 90 Corvette DP at 1:52.691 (119.477 mph), just ahead of Ricky Taylor in Wayne Taylor Racing’s No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP with a lap of 1:52.720 (119.446 mph).
The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring is scheduled for a 10:40 a.m. ET start Saturday. Coverage will alternate between FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2 and IMSA.com. Flag-to-flag radio coverage will be available via IMSA Radio.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “Everything ran according to plan. After all the other races Friday, we knew the track would be different than from our earlier practices. It was very greasy but the car behaved how we anticipated; that’s a key thing. This is the car setup we are racing. In that way, I think we are in a really good position with how the car behaves over the stint. We know it is going to be really hard in the middle part of the race because it will be very, very warm. It will be a hard time for everyone but we need to be ready for the last three or four hours. Up to that point, we need to be patient. We have a car that will be fast, which is good.”
DID YOU LEARN ENOUGH IN TESTING LAST WEEK AND PRACTICE THIS WEEK TO KNOW HOW THE CAR WILL BE ON THE LONG RUNS?
“Race week is always different from testing. You can come test here, but when it comes to race time it feels like another race track. We’ve seen that in the past, and that’s the knowledge that all the teams have. Even if you find perfect conditions in testing, you know the track is going to be different. The key is how you react to that. The car today was good enough even if the track wasn’t OK. We had really good balance.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “The track obviously we know is bad after a long race like that. It is hot today, the hottest its been the last couple of days. Greasy track. Had a lot of understeer. It sounds like most people in our class had the same track conditions, we had just made some setup changes to help the car that worked in the morning and didn’t work out in the afternoon. It is unfortunate, but again, it is a long race. I’d love to obviously qualify higher and its the time to kind of show what you’ve got a little bit. I think that was maybe over driving the car a little bit once I could tell that the car wasn’t exactly the way I wanted it, and that didn’t help my cause either. Little frustrating, but it is definitely not the end of the world. It is just one session. The car has been good in almost every other condition. It seemed to struggle a little bit in the hottest, hottest temperature. We’ll go back and work on that a little bit.”
DO YOU FEEL YOU LEARNED ENOUGH LAST WEEK THAT YOU HAVE CONFIDENCE IN HOW THE CAR IS GOING TO PERFORM?
“Absolutely being here so close to when the race is helps to be able to try some stuff in testing… some setup stuff to see if that was going to help. So we had sort of a direction to go while we were here. But everything is different. We just had a long, long support race putting their rubber down. That always plays a role a little bit in how it feels for us.”
CORVETTE DP QUOTES
RICHARD WESTBROOK, VISITFLORIDA.COM RACING NO. 90 CORVETTE DP: “I’m reasonably happy after practice. It’s been a real struggle here at Sebring chasing the track. The balance is changing all the time, like it is for most people. It seemed a little bit better there, but position wise not great… P6 but a lot closer to the pace with the other DPs so we’re really pleased about that. So we will put our heads down tonight, work out a plan and come back and fight for a podium.”
JOAO BARBOSA, NO. 5 ACTION EXPRESS RACING MUSTANG SAMPLING CORVETTE DP: “Qualifying was decent. The track temperature was very warm. That made the track a little bit more slippery. It wasn’t easy to put a lap together. But I think we have to be happy with P3. Realistically we were shooting for the top-five just behind the P2 cars. We are right there in the mix, and now it is not surprising that the P2 cars are faster here. They did pole in Daytona, so that was expected. As a team I think we can race much better. We have a strong car to run for 12 hours with that great help from my teammates and all the crew. Twelve hours is a long time, and we have to last 12 hours tomorrow. I think we have to be pretty comfortable about the outcome for tomorrow.”
DANE CAMERON, NO. 31 ACTION EXPRESS RACING WHELEN/TEAM FOX CORVETTE DP: “I’m pretty pleased with P5 and the second Daytona Prototype. We knew we were going to have a tough go here against the LMP cars. But we are pretty pleased with the balance, and again the car is good in all conditions. It wasn’t a perfect lap on my part but I’m satisfied for the first attempt of qualifying a prototype. Not too bad… I think we are ready to go for the race.”
RICKY TAYLOR, WAYNE TAYLOR RACING NO. 10 KONICA MINOLTA CORVETTE DP: “I think the bottom line is we’ll be alright in the race tomorrow, and that’s all that really matters when you get down to it. We’ve been working our way through a brake issue here this weekend and we’re definitely moving in the right direction, so that’s a good thing. The track conditions were quite different in that qualifying session than they’ve been the last two days, so we definitely learned a lot there. All in all, I think our team knows what it takes to get us to the end at the front. It’s just going to be a matter of going out there and getting it done.”
Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida – GT Le Mans (all times ET)
•10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Saturday, March 21 (FOX Sports 1)
•12:30-7 p.m., Saturday, March 21 (FOX Sports 2)
•7-10 p.m., Saturday, March 21 (IMSA.com)
•10-11 p.m., Saturday, March 21 (FOX Sports 2)
•8-10 a.m., Sunday, March 22 (FOX Sports 1 – highlights)
Release Date: March 20, 2015