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CORVETTE RACING AT WATKINS GLEN: Third Straight Victory For Garcia, Magnussen

Win equals GT Le Mans championship leads; Gavin and Milner fourth after penalty



WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (June 29, 2014) – In its 15 years of existence, Sunday marked Corvette Racing’s first event at Watkins Glen International. The team made its debut one to remember with a dominating GT Le Mans (GTLM) victory in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen for Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen in the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R.



The duo led most of the day to earn their third straight class victory in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. In the process, Garcia and Magnussen moved into the lead of the GTLM driver’s championship, as did Chevrolet in the manufacturer standings and the No. 3 Corvette C7.R in team points.



“The Corvette C7.R team's first race at Watkins Glen was exciting given the challenging track and intense competition that kept the pressure on all race,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. Vice President, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “Antonio and Jan drove a great race and the crew executed quick pit stops. We are thankful to come out of The Glen with a GTLM class win and the class championship lead.”



Garcia and Magnussen also won the third round of the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup – a four-race championship made of the TUDOR series’ four endurance events.



The Garcia/Magnussen combination led 154 of the 185 GTLM laps. Magnussen drove the opening stint and took the lead from the pole-sitting BMW on the first lap. Despite holding as much as a 30-second lead at various points, the final minutes were tense ones. A full-course caution with 25 minutes left brought the Corvette inside its fuel window for the rest of the race. A final yellow period just after the restart meant a final-lap dash that saw Garcia hold off the second-place Viper by 0.185 seconds.



Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner finished fourth in their No. 4 Corvette C7.R after running second to their teammates for most of the day. A stop-and-go penalty inside the last hour for what race officials judged to be avoidable contact halted their podium charge.



The day wasn’t a complete loss. Gavin and Milner moved into the lead of the Patrón Endurance Challenge with just the 1,000-mile Petit Le Mans remaining at the end of the season.



The next round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship is the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix presented by Hawk Performance from Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The race, which Gavin and Milner won last year as part of the American Le Mans Series, is set for 2:05 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 13.



ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R

“The car was really good. I was running perfect. Jan (Magnussen) made perfect start and pulled a gap. Then we got a caution but we made the gap back up from zero to almost 20 seconds. Whenever I was able to go full-on we went up to almost a 30-second lead. Strategy-wise we were like two or three laps short (on fuel) I believe. We decided because the Viper … maybe they gambled a little bit more at the beginning so they were out of sequence to stretch their fuel to start with; they were good to go to the end. We decided to go too, and it was hard. To go through traffic, it was really difficult to save fuel. At the end we would have been OK to the end (without the last caution). That yellow obviously helped us a little bit more just in case. We weren’t really on it, but I believe Corvette Racing again did a perfect race. I think we led everything but qualifying.”



JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R

“I have to say I am so pleased for how things have gone for the team this year, with the No. 3 car especially, but how we have developed a new car and we keep finding better things to do with it. We are finding better race speed over one lap over the whole distance and making the Michelin tires last for the whole stint. We have a fantastic race car. It’s a very competitive category and you have to be on your game with everything you do. There is no room for any mistakes otherwise you lose it.”



(First race in the Corvette C7.R at The Glen) “I have been here before in other categories, the GRAND-AM GT and also the GRAND-AM DPs earlier. Driving the Corvette C7.R around here is just a fantastic feeling. It’s such a fast race track. It’s almost like there is a part missing of the corner – normally you would have a big braking zone downshifts and everything getting the car ready to rotate and then shoot out the corner. Here that little bit is gone so basically for every corner you barely touch the brake, downshift, back to full throttle. It’s all about the momentum here to build the speed, and that is where dealing with all the traffic was very important; you didn’t get bogged down too much because it would kind of ruin your rhythm. I think both of us did that really well today.”



OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R

“Certainly we made a step forward with the car after yesterday morning. We went back to basics with stuff, we changed a lot chassis-wise with the car. So was it the perfect setup? No because it was just really a bit of a stab at it, but it was good enough to race and be in the hunt. I genuinely think we should have had a second-place. Tommy (Milner) did a great job at the start and really got us in a fantastic position. It looked like we were going to be able to race cleanly for second.



(Race impressions) “On the double stint that I did, the first on the medium tire was good and I hung with Jan (Magnussen) pretty much. And then on the harder tire it was trickier. It made it a lot more difficult. But we were still there still in second-place looking like we were going to be able to fight for that and then Tommy (Milner) just got a crazy decision with the penalty. We went back and forth for a long time and it’s a great shame that it ruined our race. We went from second to fourth and I think we should have really had a second. That would have been a great result for the team and the guys. They worked so hard over the whole weekend.”



TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R

“First and foremost, I’m very proud of our guys. After Oliver (Gavin) and I were not very happy with the car in practice they put a lot of work into trying to fix the car and it seems like that we have done that. The car was certainly quite a bit better in the race. We were just kind of behind the eight ball – just needed some more practice time to kind of fine tune it, but I think we are back in the ballpark again. That is obviously really encouraging for going forward.

(Race impressions) The race was pretty good. I had a really fun start there. It was just a shame that I got a penalty for something that I don’t believe should have been a penalty. Obviously the race control saw it differently. We can only just move on and kind of put that behind us and be proud of what we achieved. Obviously a great job by the No. 3 car guys; they executed very well. Our guys did as well. We had great pit stops, great strategy calls… they did everything right. We deserved a podium today, but we had it taken away.”



DOUG FEHAN, CORVETTE RACING PROGRAM MANAGER

“Today was emblematic of one of my key racing axioms – 25 percent great car, 25 percent great team and 50 percent good fortune. We had all those in our corner today, backed up by flawless pit stops and a great strategy by our engineers. With plenty of power from GM Powertrain, you add all that up and it’s a victory in our first visit to Watkins Glen International in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen. I couldn’t be more proud of our guys for standing on that top step. Everyone worked very hard to earn this one.”



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Ryan Smith Judy Kouba Dominick
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Corvette takes P and GTLM wins - Michelin Alley


You can now rename Watkins Glen as “Corvetteville” – the GM brand was the car to have in both Prototype and GTLM competition at the latest round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship today.

While Richard Westbrook used the straight line speed advantage of the Corvette Daytona Prototypes to pass the Le Mans-style P2 car of Alex Brundle on the penultimate restart to take the win, Antonio Garcia pushed Corvette Racing to its third consecutive victory in GTLM with Danish ace Jan Magnussen.

The late race yellow with 25 minutes remaining changed the face of the race. Alex Brundle’s Oak Racing Morgan-Nissan had the pace of the field but needed a yellow to stretch his fuel mileage to the finish.

The yellow (caused by contact between Alex Tagliani’s PC car and the GTD Porsche of Ian James) was a double edged sword for Brundle. He needed the yellow for fuel mileage, the but the restart allowed the lapped Frisselle brothers DP to get past him into turn one and then race winner Richard Westbrook (teamed with Michael Valiante) powered by on the run to the bus stop.

Despite being quicker on the pack half the circuit, Brundle (teamed with Gustavo Yacaman and Ho-Pin Tung) was unable to get back past even in the final lap dash which was created by another late race yellow-causing crash between Renger van der Zande and Scott Pruett.

For Garcia, the yellow saved their race as the Spaniard was saving fuel over the last stint with both Dodge Vipers coming strong at the finish.

The win by Garcia and Magnussen (pictured right) pushed them into the championship lead. The duo also became the first pairing to score three consecutive class wins in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

Dominic Farnbacher and Marc Goosens celebrated the debut the retro red and white Viper livery with second place ahead of their teammates Jonathan Bomarito and Kuno Witttmer

Other class wins went to CORE autosport (Jon Bennett, Colin Braun and James Gue) in PC and Turner Motorsport in GTD (Dane Cameron and Marcus Palttala.

Top three in class (overall in parentheses):
(1) #90-P Richard Westbrook (Corvette DP) 191 laps
(2) #42-P Alex Brundle (Morgan Nissan) 191 laps (0.877- in class) (0.877- overall)
(3) #5-P Joao Barbosa (Corvette DP) 191 laps (1.587- in class) (1.587- overall)

(6) #54-PC Colin Braun (Oreca FLM 09 Chevrolet) 186 laps (-5 Laps overall)
(7) #88-PC Martin Plowman (Oreca FLM 09 Chevrolet) 186 laps (8.127- in class) (-5 Laps overall)
(8) #52-PC Gunnar Jeannette (Oreca FLM 09 Chevrolet) 186 laps (9.159- in class) (-5 Laps overall)

(11) #3-GTLM Antonio Garcia (Chevrolet Corvette C7.R) 185 laps (-6 Laps overall)
(12) #91-GTLM Marc Goossens (Dodge Viper SRT) 185 laps (0.185- in class) (-6 Laps overall)
(13) #93-GTLM Jonathan Bomarito (Dodge Viper SRT) 185 laps (3.165- in class) (-6 Laps overall)

(25) #94-GTD Dane Cameron (BMW Z4) 178 laps (-13 Laps overall)
(26) #555-GTD Townsend Bell (Ferrari F458 Italia) 178 laps (2.087- in class) (-13 Laps overall)
(27) #44-GTD Andy Lally (Porsche 911 GT America) 177 laps (-1 Laps in class) (-14 Laps overall)

Corvette takes P and GTLM wins - Michelin Alley
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Oliver Gavin’s Column: Corvette Making History at The Glen
on 01/07/2014 12:13 in Guest Column, Latest News, United Sportscar Racing News


While many of us up and down the pit lane had raced at Watkins Glen International before as participants in the Grand-Am Rolex Series, this weekend marked an inaugural visit for the TUDOR United Sportscar Championship and, amazingly, a debut also for Corvette Racing. There are not so many places Corvette Racing can’t have raced at in the USA, but this was one of them.



The team made it a weekend to remember with a resounding victory in the GTLM class for our sister C7.R of Jan [Magnussen] and Antonio [Garcia], but for me and Tommy [Milner] the sun didn’t blaze down on us quite so brightly. We were on course for a podium finish, having held second place behind our team mates for much of the 6-hour race, but a stop-and-go penalty inside the last hour for what race officials judged to be avoidable contact interrupted our plans and we ended up fourth.

Massively disappointing as this was, the points we got were enough to move us into the class lead in the four-event Tequila Patron North American Endurance Championship with just the 1,000-mile Petit Le Mans remaining at the end of the season.

We’ve been chasing a mysterious handling imbalance for pretty much the whole of the last two months, including Laguna, the Le Mans test and the race itself, so we decided that drastic action was called for. After Friday’s practice session, we made some wide-ranging set up changes for Saturday and feel now that we’ve made a big step forward. We went back to basics with stuff, changing a lot chassis-wise. It wasn’t perfect as we haven’t had time to fine-tune it yet, but it was a lot better than it had been, and good enough to race and be in the hunt at the front of the field. The class is so competitive you’ve got to be at the top of your game in every respect.

Qualifying wasn’t too bad considering all of the above, and Tommy did a brilliant job at the start of the race and really got us in a fantastic position. It was really hot and intense racing throughout the whole six hours, and every lap felt like it was a qualifying one and it was all looking good until the penalty and the late yellow which closed up the field for everyone.



On the double stint that I did, the first part was on the medium compound tyres, and that was good and I was pretty much able to stay with Jan in the sister car. On the harder tyre we used for the second stint it was trickier and it made it a lot more difficult. The track rubbered in a lot during the six hours, but I don’t think I’ve seen as much discarded rubber/marbles lying off the racing line since I did karting. I suppose it’s the combined result of the 53 cars in our race plus the Continental Challenge race from the previous day.

Anyway, we were still there in second-place – looking like we were going to be able to fight for that – and then Tommy just got what we felt was a crazy decision for a penalty. At first they wanted to give us a stop/go plus 75 seconds for contact when Tommy was already into the corner, and which saw our car’s left rear being touched by a GTD car’s right front, but the team successfully argued that was excessive. There was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing about it before we were finally given a stop and go which effectively ruined our race. Tommy went to see the Race Director afterwards to try and understand why he’d been penalized but, even after seeing the footage, it’s a bit of a mystery.



That dropped us down to fourth which, considering how tight it was in the class on the one and only green lap at the end of the race, we did well to hold on to. Second would have been a proper reward for the guys on our No.4 Corvette who all worked extremely hard this weekend, but the progress we’ve made with it is very encouraging for the rest of the season and I think we’re back in the game now. It was a great job and a fantastic result in front of a huge Corvette Corral (nearly 400 cars over the weekend) by the No.3 crew, and hats off to Jan and Antonio, but it’s definitely our turn now! Big congrats too to our endurance team mate at Spirit of Daytona Racing, Richard Westbrook, who won overall in a Corvette Daytona Prototype with a great pass on the last lap. You can safely say it was a pretty good day for Chevrolet!

Oliver Gavin?s Column: Corvette Making History at The Glen
 
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