Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen extended their GT Le Mans (GTLM) Driver’s Championship lead with a fourth-place finish at Road America in the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase.
An early strategic call and some late-race luck propelled the No.3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R from eighth at the start to just off the podium in the seventh GTLM round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. This all despite a drive-through penalty awarded to Garcia after contact with a Porsche in Turn One.
"Knowing what the pace was and our starting position, we had nothing to lose." said Garcia "That’s why we went off-sequence on our first stop. The only thing we could do is keep pushing. We needed some help from a full-course yellow, otherwise our last stop was going to be longer than others. Another great call by Corvette Racing put us fourth after the last stop. The Corvette was good and improving, but it wasn’t enough to keep up with the rest of our competitors. I did make a mistake into Turn One with the No. 911; I didn’t see him go back across the track and maybe I caught him out by braking a little too soon. I maybe moved a half-meter to the left and didn’t see him. For sure it wasn’t on purpose. For sure I’m frustrated with our pace over the last few races. We are having to fight from the back the whole time. Today was good for the points but we definitely deserve more."
Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner were fifth in their No.4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R despite late-race contact that sent Milner off track on the final lap.
The two Corvettes qualified seventh and eighth, but the No.3 Corvette went on an alternate pit strategy early following a full-course caution 15 minutes into the race. The strategy paid off with three yellow-flag periods in the final hour, which allowed the No.3 Corvette to gain two positions in the pitlane with 45 minutes to go.
The No.4 Corvette stayed on the same pit strategy as the lead cars, and Milner found himself fourth with 37 minutes to go. He was able to hold off a challenge from the much-faster, fifth-place car over the last 10 minutes until the late touch.
"All weekend we have been missing a bit of pace." said Milner "Even at the end, we didn’t have enough to run with the top three cars. These days it’s all about points and getting as much as we can for Chevy and the team. I did the best I could at the end keeping up with the Fords but they kept getting away. I had a big fight with the 25 BMW at the end; he was definitely quicker than I was but I did whatever I could keep him behind me. Once he caught up to me, it was difficult for him to get by. The last two laps were good fun. I was struggling with tires toward the end and he was on newer ones. Unfortunately we came together in Turn Three. I gave him some room but it wasn’t enough. It worked out OK for us in the end. We finished ahead of them after all and the No. 3 Corvette got good points. Overall on the weekend, if you would have told us we would finish fourth and fifth after qualifying, we would have signed up for that right away. But it is frustrating to be in there with a chance at the end and see your competition just drive away."
Corvette Racing’s next event is the Michelin GT Challenge at Virginia International Raceway on Sunday, Aug. 27.
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