CORVETTE RACING AT LE MANS: Garcia Fastest Driver in GTE Pro Class on Test Day
Mission accomplished for two Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs ahead of 24 Hours
• Oliver Gavin fourth-quickest in class as No. 64 team goes for second straight Le Mans win
• Focus turns to race-week preparation for what will be hard-fought class battle
• Team going for ninth class win in 17th Le Mans appearance
• Corvette Racing with five straight Triple Crown event victories
LE MANS, France (June 5, 2016) – Corvette Racing ended the Le Mans Test Day with the fastest time in the GTE Pro class as Antonio Garcia set a lap of 3:55.122 (129.680 mph) in the No. 63 Konica Minolta/Mobil 1/Sirius XM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. Garcia, who celebrated a birthday Sunday and will team with Jan Magnussen and Ricky Taylor, led a Corvette Racing effort that focused on race setup and strategy as the team works toward what it hopes will be a ninth victory at the French endurance classic.
Both Corvettes were among the four fastest cars in what should be a highly competitive fight in GTE Pro. Oliver Gavin in the No. 64 Corvette C7.R was fourth-fastest with a lap of 3:55.837 (129.245 mph). He, Tommy Milner and Jordan Taylor are the defending class winners at Le Mans, and Gavin and Milner won the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring to open the season.
Both Corvettes recorded significant mileage around the 8.5-mile Circuit de la Sarthe. The No. 64 Corvette turned 81 laps while the No. 63 Corvette posted 73 laps. The entire day was run in warm, dry conditions which allowed the team to maximize its efforts to find the best race setup for the 2016-spec Corvette C7.Rs.
Sunday marked the first time at Le Mans for the cars, which feature a number of changes from 2015 including a larger splitter at the front and diffuser at the rear of the Corvette. Side skirts and a repositioned wing also are among the most notable changes, along with updated safety features that are now mandated on all GTE Pro cars.
Corvette Racing engineers, crew and drivers will spend the days leading up to next week’s practice and qualifying sessions pouring over data to fine-tune the performance, reliability and efficiency of the two Corvettes. The task is monumental given the quality and quantity of the other manufacturer-based teams in GTE Pro.
The 84th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours is set for 3 p.m. CET/9 a.m. ET on Saturday, June 18. Practice and qualifying sessions are scheduled for June 15-16.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 63 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “It's been a while since we've had such a clean test day with no worries. That helped us a lot in going through our test program. We're happy with where we are, and we're well prepared for the race. Now we have a ton of data to go through, but it looks like it will be a great race with a very competitive field in GTE Pro."
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 63 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: "I'm quite happy with what we've achieved today. We had a problem-free test and tried some different possibilities for the race. It's always a bit of a guess to know how much grip the track will gain throughout the race week, but we're in good shape."
RICKY TAYLOR, NO. 63 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: "It was great to be in Le Mans with the Corvette Racing team for the first time! The balance of the car was very good, so I could take my time to get up to speed. It's a pity about the red flag which cut short the last session while I was driving, but I'm sure the car will be very strong."
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 64 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: "It's been a productive day. It's very close between all competitors in the GTE Pro class. I feel that we've learned a decent amount and that we're in a good spot. The weather was quite stable throughout the day and we'll have to see what the race week brings."
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 64 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: "It was great to be back and get the Le Mans experience going again. It's nice to come here with a car that's a bit different from what we had here in last couple of years with the new aero package. We were trying to make sure we ticked all the boxes, and we did that. We also tried some different things and learned a lot from that. We were pretty quick and finished fourth in class which is a good place to be in. We're all fairly comfortable with the car, so it's ‘Mission Accomplished’ as far as the Test Day went."
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 64 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: "It was good to be back. It always takes some ten laps to get back into the rhythm of things, but the car felt very good, so I'm happy. You do feel a little bit better aero. At Le Mans you’re completely trimmed out so any additional downforce you can get without the drag is important, and I think that’s what Corvette has done with this new C7.R – increased the level of downforce and reduced the drag.”
DOUG FEHAN, CORVETTE RACING PROGRAM MANAGER: “We come to Le Mans each year with our list of items and settings to work through to put us in the best possible position for when we come back for the race. That is what we accomplished today with both our Corvette C7.Rs. Antonio going quickest in the class is a good indication of the quality of the effort our engineers and crew have put forward. Although we are pleased with today's results, we realize we still have more work to do. Preparation, strategy and execution are what we have used to win eight times at Le Mans, and it’s what we will count on again this year.”
Article by: Ryan Smith
Media contact: Judy Kouba Dominick