CORVETTE RACING AT ROAD ATLANTA: Championship Sweep in GT Le Mans
Gavin, Milner claim Driver’s Championship in No. 4 Corvette C7.R
•Team Championship for No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette team to go along with Chevrolet Manufacturer’s Championship
•Garcia, Magnussen take third in GTLM Driver’s Championship
•Gavin, Milner, Chevrolet also sweep Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup
BRASELTON, Ga. (Oct. 1, 2016) – Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner captured the GT Le Mans (GTLM) Driver’s Championship in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on Saturday with a third-place finish alongside Marcel Fässler at Petit Le Mans presented by Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort. It is the second championship for the pairing, the 10th for Corvette Racing and goes along with Chevrolet’s GTLM Manufacturer’s Championship clinched earlier in the day.
The No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R also won the GTLM Team Championship – the 11th in program history. Gavin and Milner needed to finish seventh in class or better to clinch the title.
“Oliver, Tommy and Marcel teamed up again to drive a smart race and capture a podium finish that delivered valuable points,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. Vice President, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “As a result, Oliver and Tommy clinched the 2016 GTLM Driver’s Championship. Congratulations to the entire Corvette C7.R team on their preparation and execution all season long.”
Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia and Mike Rockenfeller placed fourth in class in the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R after losing four laps due to a mechanical problem early in the race. The fight-back and result was good enough to give Garcia and Magnussen third place in the GTLM Driver’s Championship.
There was more good news as Chevrolet and Corvette Racing swept the Manufacturer’s, Driver’s and Team championships in the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup.
Gavin, Milner and Fässler ran in the top half of the GTLM field for virtually the entire race. Milner began from the seventh position, but the new GTLM co-champion was able to move up to second place after his two-hour, 30-minute drive. Help came in pitlane, too as the No. 4 crew gained Milner a spot at each stop.
Gavin took over and drove to the lead shortly after a full-course caution period three-and-a-half hours into the race. He never dropped before second before handing over to Marcel Fässler, who had won at Daytona and Sebring with the Gavin/Milner duo. He ran in podium position for nearly three hours before a slight off-track excursion in Turn One. He recovered nicely and was solidly in the top-five at the end of his stint.
Milner got back in the No. 4 Corvette with three hours to go and moved back into podium position less than an hour later. Gavin drove the final 75 minutes to put a wrap on the championship season.
Garcia, Magnussen and Rockenfeller were the equals of their teammates on pace in the early going. Garcia started second, and the No. 3 Corvette ran in podium position until a mistake on the pit stop shuffled the car back in the GTLM order. Magnussen took over 90 minutes in and began charging through the field before a throttle malfunction cost the No. 3 Corvette team four laps barely two hours left in the race.
Through smart strategy, heads-up driving and solid pitwork the rest of the way, the Garcia/Magnussen/Rockenfeller trio gained back three laps and finished behind the team car in class.
Corvette Racing will open the 2017 IMSA season in the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 28-29.
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – GTLM DRIVER’S CHAMPION/FINISHED THIRD IN GTLM RACE: “Woo! That feels really good. It doesn’t have the initial shock of a win, but deep down this is a pretty satisfying end of the season. We had four wins… a couple of bad races, but we had some amazing ones as well. I just don’t know what to say. Most of all, I am just really happy. I feel really fortunate to be a part of this Corvette Racing team and Chevy. Every year, every weekend, every practice session, I always have the best stuff. That is all a driver can ask for. Yea…I’m happy. This is perfect!”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – GTLM DRIVER’S CHAMPION/FINISHED THIRD IN GTLM RACE: “We’ve had a fantastic year. It started off with a fantastic race at Daytona. That was just epic to get that result. The one-two and the way we did it was just phenomenal. Then the win Sebring with Tommy – he was a rock and just steady the whole race. It was phenomenal again! He was a legend. We’ve just managed to pick up some great finishes throughout the season. Then to get the 100th win at Lime Rock – I think that is where Tommy and I really started believing that we could actually win this. Yes, the competition had some good results up to that point and we needed to stop their momentum, and we did that there. That crazy finish at Road America… We just sort of arrived here and knew what we needed to do. We executed really well and got another podium and another third place like last year. It is a great way to wrap up the championship in this way. I mean we got the Manufacturer Championship for Chevrolet, the Driver Championship, the Team Championship and the North American Endurance Cup Championship. We got it all. I’m thrilled… just thrilled. I’m thrilled for Tommy and thrilled for the team. Having Marcel (Fässler) on the team here in America has been just brilliant. He has been like our lucky charm in the car. He has been brilliant to have in the car. We want him back next year.”
MARCEL FÄSSLER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED THIRD IN GTLM RACE: “It was a very good experience for me, for sure. I'm really, really happy that I could be a part of the No. 4 car, especially today when they won the championship. This was not always quite easy because on one hand you want to push for the win, but on the other hand you have to keep in mind that you are going for a championship title. The Corvette was really great again, and it was a lot of fun. It was an incredible three races for me… two wins - Daytona in the first appearance for me, then Sebring and now another podium here. The championship for Olly and Tommy, it is really great. Also the title for Corvette Racing… it is amazing to be part of the whole team."
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS-XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED FOURTH IN GTLM RACE: “It was close to the front, but also very close to being all the way at the back. Basically that is how it is in GTLM. The Corvette behaved how we expected. The track was obviously a lot different that it was this morning (in practice) after several hours between Practice Three and qualifying with all these races in between. I think we did a good job on guessing on what the track would do. The track was definitely slower than this morning but we followed what it would do. I didn't put together a complete lap. I did three almost identical laps; if you take the best part of each lap, I'm sure I could be up front. So it is always good to have the pole position, but we have had a couple this year. We just need to win this one."
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS-XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED FOURTH IN GTLM RACE: “I took it very easy to begin with. I didn’t want to risk the car; I really wanted to find the balance and see where we were compared to everyone else. It wasn’t great at first. I was struggling with top speed, plus I had a little too much understeer. We made an adjustment to the car, which made it a lot better. It was very well-behaved and fast. I was able to charge. Things are quite good and I’m very happy. Calm and collected is the strategy for the next 20 hours, I think.”
MIKE ROCKENFELLER, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS-XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED FOURTH IN GTLM RACE: “Obviously we were hoping to fight for the victory here. But first, congratulations to all my teammates and to the team for all of the success this year. We fought hard. We dropped back when we had the issue early in the race. I think we lost four laps and we gained three back. When I was in the car, we were lucky with the yellows. We tried hard and at the end, we were just missing one lap to be able to fight for victory. It didn’t happen. The No. 3 car just had issues this season in the long races, but I really enjoyed being a part of Corvette Racing this season. It was my first time and with my teammates, I had a great time. I hope I will be back next year.”
Article by: Ryan Smith and Judy Kouba Dominick
Photo by: Richard Prince