Final Race for C7.R as end of Era is Completed at Petit Le Mans

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Final Race for C7.R at Petit Le Mans on Saturday, October 12, 2019, as the C7.R Corvette Race Car Era was completed.

While at the Petit Le Mans on Saturday, October 12, 2019, the C7.R Era was completed.
While at the Petit Le Mans on Saturday, October 12, 2019, the C7.R Era was completed.

Corvette Racing ended its 6 years run with the Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. This marked the Corvette Racing program’s 21st season of racing. During that time, it won 17 times around the world and helped Corvette Racing claim three Drivers’ Championships and two Manufacturer titles for Chevrolet. 

Before the race, Chevrolet Racing debuted the 2020 C8.R Corvette race car, which will be making its competition debut at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January.

Final Race for C7.R – End of Era: P4 for the #3 Corvette and P7 for the #4 C7.R

The final race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar series season, held at Michelin Raceway Raod Atlanta, gave the Corvette teams a fourth and seventh place class finishes. They had hoped that Saturday was to send the C7.R off with a victory, but it didn’t happen. The Corvettes started seventh and ninth on the GTLM grid.

The No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette C7.R of Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen, and Mike Rockenfeller led Corvette Racing’s effort in the final race of the season. 

Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, and Marcel Fässler took the finish shortly after that in the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette.

Team Struggles during C7.R’s Final Race

The team struggled with tire grip throughout the first part of the race. A couple of extra pit stops to chase tire compounds combined with a five-hour run of green-flag racing didn’t help the team’s quest.

Things turned in a positive direction for the No. 3 Corvette in the second half as Magnussen and Rockenfeller took turns in the class lead as fuel and tire strategies came into play for late in the race. Garcia drove the final two-and-a-half hours, including a hard charge on fresh tires with 30 minutes left that resulted in the No. 3 Corvette going from fifth to fourth on the final lap of the race.

The result meant Garcia and Magnussen finished tied for second in GTLM Drivers’ points with Chevrolet third in the Manufacturers’ standings.

The No. 4 Corvette team attempted a similar comeback in the race but was beset by contact from an overtaking car with Fässler at the wheel in the fourth hour. The resulting spin for the No. 4 Corvette didn’t help the team’s tire woes. Milner had led late in his stint during the pit stop cycle, but the contact and extra pit stops to chase the Corvette’s handling set back the No. 4 team.

Drivers thoughts as they C7.R Corvette Era is completed:

ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED FOURTH IN GTLM: 

“It was difficult right away. Starting last in the class didn’t help things today. We were playing catch-up all day. Knowing how tight everyone was made it tough to do anything different than the rest on strategy. We made some gambles on tires, but that meant an extra stop. “

“After that, we were out of sequence and did almost four or five hours keeping the same pace as the 67 Ford and the Ferrari. We were just waiting for a yellow. It was a little bit unfortunate that there wasn’t a yellow until the last 30 minutes. We showed we had their pace, but I don’t know if we could have passed them to win the race. It’s a shame not to know if we could have been on the same strategy and done something different to put our competitors on the ropes; everyone seems to get nervous when we are very close.”

“So we were fighting, but it was fighting from far back, and we weren’t much of a threat. We tried that late stop to try and gain some positions for a podium and second in the championship. But another year is done, and another podium championship finish for Jan and I…eight in a row.”

JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED FOURTH IN GTLM: 

“We gave it the best shot we had to try and get second in the championship, but one point short. We tied for second, but obviously, Porsche takes that because of race wins. Knowing how everything panned out, this was the best we could get out of it, I think. Everyone wanted a win for the C7.R to send it off, but it wasn’t in the cards. We put on a good show…the best we could.”

MIKE ROCKENFELLER, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED FOURTH IN GTLM 

“On the first stint, we had a massive oversteer, so we changed the rear wing setting on the pit stop and tire compound. The balance was better with the wing change but the tire just died on the left-rear really quick. It happened on both cars. I came in for the previous compound, and we left the setup as it was. In that stint, I have to say we were pretty good and competitive. I had a feeling that cooling off would help us. We needed a yellow, but we were in the game. It just never happened, and others had a really strong pace. That is racing sometimes.”

OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED SEVENTH IN GTLM: 

“It was a tough one for us on the No. 4 side. We always seemed to be chasing the balance and chasing the tire. We got it in a bit of a window at one point and were looking good at one point. But we ultimately couldn’t find that transition from when the track started to cool down into the darkness. We just couldn’t seem to dial out the understeer in the car.”

“Chuck (Houghton, No. 4 Corvette race engineer) worked super hard on the timing stand trying to find a solution for us. All the guys did… once again, amazing stops and tireless work with lots of feedback going back and forth between the drivers.”

“We really were working as hard as we could, but P7 is where we ended up, and it’s tough. It’s a shame that’s the way we finished off the story of the C7.R. But onward and upward and this team will bounce back. We have a new car coming for Daytona so eyes forward to the new mid-engine Corvette.”

TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED SEVENTH IN GTLM:

“We didn’t have the balance today. Nothing really went our way, and we struggled with understeer for me almost the entire race. I think all of us did unless we had some tire issues at certain stages. It was just kind of a frustrating race and a bummer to finish like that. It was not the best year overall, obviously with me missing a couple races and no wins this year, which is a bummer as well. But I felt like we went out on a high note there with a big smoky burnout there at the end for all the fans in (Turn) 10 with the C7.R for the last time. Hopefully, they enjoyed that.”

MARCEL FÄSSLER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED SEVENTH IN GTLM: 

“For me, my biggest issue was getting hit by a prototype in my first stint after about 15 laps or something like that. I had a really bad flat-spot on the tires and had to pump up the brake pedal all the time. For sure, the grip level wasn’t very good. That made things not very comfortable to drive. We went to another compound, and I got a blister almost immediately. At first, I thought I was losing fluid on the left-rear because it was a strange kind of feeling, especially at Turn One. I lost the car for about two or three laps and all the trust in the car. We came in, and the tire was blistered pretty bad. So it wasn’t an easy one-and-a-half stints; things weren’t so good. It wasn’t what we were looking for.”

As the C7.R completed its final race we look to the new C8.R’s debut. Corvette Racing will open the 2020 IMSA season with the Rolex 24 Aa Daytona on Jan. 25-26 with the new C8.R.

You can follow the Corvette Racing team minute by minute during the races on their Twitter account https://twitter.com/CorvetteRacing


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