CORVETTE RACING AT WATKINS GLEN: Westbrook, Valiante Repeat at Six Hours
Fifth victory in six races for Corvette Daytona Prototype
•Second win of 2015 for No. 90 Corvette DP to regain championship lead
•Barbosa, Fittipaldi third in No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP
•No. 3 Corvette C7.R fourth in GTLM in first race since 24 Hours of Le Mans
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiante are repeat winners at Watkins Glen International. The VisitFlorida.com Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype won the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen on Sunday as rain wreaked havoc on the sixth round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Corvette DPs took two of the three spots on the overall podium on a successful – albeit wet – day for Chevrolet.
Westbrook and Valiante, in the No. 90 Corvette DP, reclaimed sole possession of the TUDOR Championship’s Prototype Driver’s points lead with the victory. The result also increased Chevrolet’s advantage in the Manufacturer standings.
Action Express Racing’s Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi finished third in their No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP and stand second in points. The also maintained their lead in the Prototype standings of the Tequila PatrÃ³n North American Endurance Cup – a collection of the TUDOR Championship’s four long-distance races.
In GT Le Mans, Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen in the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R led the Corvette Racing effort with a fourth-place class finish. The pairing drove a loaned Corvette from Larbre Competition while the original No. 3 car is being repaired following the 24 Hours of Le Mans two weeks ago.
Despite being in a ‘new’ Corvette, the pairing were in contention for a podium position throughout. A late yellow allowed the competitors ahead of them to make it to the end of the race without a late stop. The results were enough for the No. 3 Corvette to retain their lead in Tequila PatrÃ³n North American Endurance Cup GTLM points.
The race for Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner ended with an hour left as the No. 4 Corvette C7.R crashed following a restart at the first turn on the slick and slippery surface. Up until that point, the Corvette had led in class by as much as 12 seconds despite being a lap down early due to another spin.
Westbrook started the race third and moved into the lead for the first time 33 minutes into the race. He and Valiante hung around the rest of the leaders from the one-hour mark onward and moved into position for the victory with a final pit stop 70 minutes from the end of the race. The No. 90 Corvette DP pitted a lap after Joey Hand, who had to stop for a late splash for fuel 10 minutes from the end.
Five yellow-flag periods and a race stoppage filled the last 90 minutes as conditions turned treacherous. Steady rain pelted already saturated grounds and caused standing water in a number of spots. Westbrook had to remain particularly focused during some of the heaviest rain when his windshield wiper malfunctioned.
Action Express Racing’s Eric Curran, Dane Cameron and Max Papis placed fourth in Prototype with their No. 31 Whelen Engineering/Team Fox Corvette DP. The Wayne Taylor Racing No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP of Ricky Taylor, Jordan Taylor and Max Angelelli retired following a crash inside the final hour
The next round for the TUDOR Championship is the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix presented by Hawk Performance on Sunday, July 12 from Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The race will air live at noon on FOX Sports 1, with radio coverage available on IMSA.com.
CORVETTE DAYTONA PROTOTYPE QUOTES
MICHAEL VALIANTE, VISITFLORIDA.COM NO. 90 CORVETTE DP – PROTOTYPE RACE WINNER: “It is unbelievable. It has been a tough weekend for us. I haven’t been well this weekend and just wanted to stay out of trouble. These were really tough conditions today, but the team did a great job. I have one of the best teammates in the paddock (Richard Westbrook) so I’m extremely pleased. I can’t believe we did it twice in two years here.”
RICHARD WESTBROOK, VISITFLORIDA.COM NO. 90 CORVETTE DP – PROTOTYPE RACE WINNER: “To be honest at one point I was thinking I don’t care who’s where, I just want to get home safe because it was just rivers everywhere. It was a handful keeping up with those safety cars as we had no wiper. To come back and get a repeat victory here, I don’t know how we did it. It’s such a great feeling. He (Michael Valiante) did such a great job, and the team did an awesome job. We are all going to go get some sunshine back in Florida now. I’m delighted to get home in one piece and still have the Watkins Glen crown.”
JOAO BARBOSA, ACTION EXPRESS RACING NO. 5 MUSTANG SAMPLING CORVETTE DP – FINISHED THIRD IN PROTOTYPE: “It is disappointing when you have a really fast Corvette DP and have a really good race until it starts raining and then you are off sequence a little bit. It just didn’t go our way. The last yellows and red flag kept us from moving up. It is a bitter third place but we are still good points in the championship. There are still a lot of races to go. It is a little disappointing. But when you finish third and are disappointed you have to take it as a plus. Congratulations to the 90 team, they had a great race. You just move to the next one.”
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, ACTION EXPRESS RACING NO. 5 MUSTANG SAMPLING CORVETTE DP – FINISHED THIRD IN PROTOTYPE: “Joao pretty much said it all. We had a strong car, strong team. But unfortunately there were a bunch of different circumstances and 95 percent of them were out of our control made the race not go our way. It went more the 90 car’s way. Hats off to them. They probably did a better race than we did or they were just in a better situation at the right time exactly where they needed to be. They won, but as Joao said, we collected some very strong points in the championship. Let’s turn the page and move on to the next one. I want to thank Cider Tree for their first experience with us. Plus Mustang Sampling and Chevy for giving us the opportunity to again finish on the podium.”
JIM LUTZ, CHEVROLET CORVETTE DP PROGRAM MANAGER: “Congratulations to Michael, Richard, team owner Troy Flis and the VisitFlorida.com Corvette Daytona Prototype team. Today was probably one of the most difficult conditions we’ve seen with the Corvette DP. Preparation, focus and resilience were the keys to today’s victory. We are very happy to leave here today with the fifth win for Chevrolet and the Corvette Daytona Prototype.”
CORVETTE RACING QUOTES
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED FOURTH IN GTLM: “That was a nightmare, I have to say. There were a few points when it was very scary. When I got in the car, I went out on slicks and then it started to drizzle. After awhile we went on some scuffed wet tires from this morning, which were OK for five to 10 laps before it really started raining hard. I could barely stay on track and aquaplaned before and when I was behind the safety car. For sure this was a race to reanalyze a lot to see what we did good and the mistakes we can learn from. Fourth place out of here means we minimized the damage somewhat, especially for the championship.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED FOURTH IN GTLM: “I think we got away with a better result than we probably should have. Fourth place isn’t too bad right behind the BMW for the championship. It was probably the least amount of damage that could be done. Everyone did a fantastic job this weekend with the ‘new’ car but we still have a little bit to go. We have some time to think before Canada and hopefully we’ll be back to where we need to be. Today was a really difficult race for anyone to make the right decisions at the right time and to adapt to the situations was really difficult. The start of the race was really scary on slicks when it wasn’t the conditions for slicks. But we made it through and came home with good points for the championship. We won’t be celebrating but it’s good enough.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED SEVENTH IN GTLM: “It was ultimately a disappointing day for us. We had been good and quick, Tommy got us into the lead, and we caught a break on strategy to get ourselves in a good spot. Our Corvette was good in the dry and appeared to be decent in the rain. Unfortunately when I came to take the restart, I came into Turn One around a GT Daytona car and all of a sudden the 911 was on my outside; I knew I was in trouble because in the rain there is grip only on the outside right at the exit. I tried to slow up but when I hit the apex and at the front of the car it felt like I hit glass. It just skated away from me. I never want to have any contact with other drivers. There was just nowhere I could go. Trying to slow the car gently and roll through was my best option. I don’t know if I could have done anything else. I’m just really disappointed for the Corvette Racing guys. We got ourselves back in the hunt after being in a difficult spot early on. I’m just sorry we couldn’t come out with a result that I felt we deserved.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED SEVENTH IN GTLM: “The conditions today were really tough. From driving in fairly wet conditions on slicks and then on wets was the right call. The series did a great job in letting us race while we could, and then when it was too wet they threw the caution and red flag. From my perspective, they did everything right. The lap where I thought I was going to wreck on the straightaway was when they threw the caution. It was just an unlucky day for us. Ultimately, I’m really proud of our guys for fighting back. We lost a chance early to get us back on the lead lap, but Chuck (Houghton, engineer) and the rest of our team were on the ball to get us back up to third, and I was able to drive to the front. I was happy with that and the strategy in the end. There are a lot of positives to take away from today.”
DOUG FEHAN, CORVETTE RACING PROGRAM MANAGER: “Intense rain always creates havoc and the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen was no exception. We had cars capable of winning and led on a couple of occasions throughout the race. But 25 percent great car and 25 percent great team was not enough to get the job done; we simply didn’t have the element of 50 percent good fortune in the equation today. So we will go back, evaluate our effort, regroup and get ready for Canadian Tire Motorsport Park – the fastest track on which we compete. That event should be an awesome battle!”
Release Date: June 28, 2015