IMSA at VIR Aug 23-25, 2019
Corvettes finish 3rd & 4th at VIR as Porsches win on the way to the 2019 GTLM title
Unable to match the pace of the Porsches, the 2 Corvettes were part of a thrilling battle for 3rd on the podium (and 4th) ahead of Ford and BMW.
(Each month in Vette Vues Magazine Jan Hyde brings readers up to date on that latest in Corvette racing in his column Keepin’ Track. Keepin’ Track reports reflect VUES gained first hand from credible sources that may vary from reports found elsewhere. Photos courtesy of Jan Hyde.)
Below is the Chevrolet Corvette Racing Press Release:
Garcia, Magnussen third just ahead of Gavin, Milner in No. 4 Corvette
ALTON, Va. (August 25, 2019) – Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen returned to the GT Le Mans (GTLM) podium in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on Sunday with a third-place finish in the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR.
The duo in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R recorded their fourth straight top-three finish at Virginia International Raceway on the heels of victories in 2016 and 2017 and last year’s runner-up result. Corvette teammates Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner were right behind in the No. 4 Corvette C7.R, their best result since a third-place finish at Long Beach in April.
The result moved Garcia and Magnussen back into third place in the GTLM Drivers Championship with two rounds left in the season. The two Corvettes, lacking overall pace to the race-winners, were part of a thrilling battle inside the final 30 minutes for the final podium spot.
Both Corvettes opted for three-stop strategies following an early-race caution that saw all GTLM cars pit just 22 minutes in. Magnussen – who started second and Gavin – who started fifth – each drove double-stints to start. Gavin, who gained two spots on the first round of stops thanks to a speedy tire change and fuel fill, was the first GTLM driver to make his second stop an hour into the race.
Magnussen handed over to Garcia 20 minutes later and was part of a tight fight with Dirk Mueller in the No. 66 Ford in the midpoint of the race. It was a close battle with the two cars making contact at the end of the backstraight but both got away relatively damage-free.
The two Corvettes and the two Fords were nose-to-tail following the final round of pit stops with 35 minutes remaining. Garcia made a daring move at Turn Four to move back into the podium, and Milner followed him through by overtaking both Fords a couple of corners later.
Corvette Racing’s next event is the IMSA Monterey Grand Prix at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Sept. 13-15.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED THIRD IN GTLM: “t was a strange race. I don’t know if we had anything for the Porsches. There was a lot going on in both stints. Initially the power was good and I could gap the Fords. But at some point after that, I had a strange feeling that felt like understeer. Then I realized I was having to give more right-turn input than left. There was probably something going on there but not due to the contact with the 66. Once I realized it wasn’t the tire going down, I could get in a rhythm and it seemed to work. It’s unfortunate to have contact with Dirk (Mueller). I didn’t want to have that, but once you’re that close. I locked up completely and was over the curb trying to avoid him. That took away a little of the gap I had over the other cars but still had time to dump grass out of the radiator after that off. It was super tight the rest of the way and was fun. It’s not a win but we will take a podium.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED THIRD IN GTLM: “A podium is great for the championship, but we are so hungry for a win. The team did great this weekend. The car was solid all the way through. We had an exciting qualifying yesterday. Good racing today. There was a small miscommunication between Antonio and Mueller but they both came back from that. On the podium is great but we want to win. A fantastic weekend.”
(Being aggressive on strategy in attempt for IMSA Win No. 100) “t is not due to lack of trying. We are there. We are right where we need to be. Unfortunately, we miss out just a little bit. Today we didn’t leave anything on the table. We will just have to find a little bit more if we are to win one of these pretty soon. I’m super happy with everything the team has done. The preparation of the car, the strategy, execution of the pit stops. Everything is fantastic. It’s just not enough for winning.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED FOURTH IN GTLM: “We battled hard today. I don’t think we had as fast of a car there at the start as the sister car. We seemed to be working the rear tire pretty hard and that bit me a little bit. But we made some changes and the track rubbered in so that started to help Tommy a little. There was plenty was action like there always is here. Lots of cars defending hard and racing hard. This track has so much grip sometimes and there is only one line. Trying to pass people can get frantic. In the end it kind of worked out our way a little bit. We’ve been on the on the receiving end of it a few times, but today we benefited a little bit from some other people’s aggressive racing. It was good to get fourth place and to get the 3 Corvette on the podium. But we are so desperate for a win. It’s crazy how long it’s gone. It would be fantastic to get a win at some point before the end of the year. The guys at Corvette Racing certainly deserve it. They worked super hard through that last-minute engine change Saturday before qualifying. That got us a starting spot further up the grid than we would have been if that hadn’t been done just before qualifying. The pitstops today were excellent; the guys did a great job and the strategy worked out for us. It’s positive as we move toward Monterey. We can actually start chipping away to get in the top-three. To get that win would be amazing.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED FOURTH IN GTLM: “All-in-all it was a good day today. Really at the end, we made the right strategy calls. We needed to work on the car a little bit throughout the race, and made good changes. Fourth place isn’t what we come here for, but I think based on how the race played out we can be pretty happy. I know Olly struggled there in his first stint with his tires; with that in mind, I was careful with them in my first stint and that may have hurt me in the end. So we made a change and tried to improve all of it essentially. At that point, knew what to expect from the tires as well. My second stint was quite a bit better than my first I felt. Of course, that was a fun pass there with the two Fords that were fighting pretty hard. All-in-all a good day for the team. We still have some work to do for sure but I’m proud of the team and the effort all weekend. We’ve definitely had a rough year. Having races like we had today where maybe it wasn’t perfect, but everybody did a great job today. Sp two to go. We will try and get a win before the end of the year.”
2019 CORVETTE RACING BLOG COVERAGE
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