CORVETTE RACING AT COTA: Championship Leads Intact Leaving Austin
Big points day for Chevrolet, Corvette Racing, Corvette DPs
• Garcia, Magnussen advance to third place in GTLM
• Gavin, Milner increase GTLM Driver’s Championship lead
• Prototype win for Ricky, Jordan Taylor as Corvette DP scores podium sweep
• Chevrolet adds to lead in pair of Manufacturer races
AUSTIN, Texas (Sept. 17, 2016) – Corvette Racing met its goal Saturday of a solid points haul to maximize its championship position heading into the final race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R placed third in a closely fought GT Le Mans (GTLM) class in the Lone Star Le Mans race at Circuit of The Americas.
The result was a key one for Chevrolet in the GTLM Manufacturer’s Championship, as the Bowtie Brand earned second-place Manufacturer points and its nearest rival received fourth-place points. Chevrolet, going for its 11th Manufacturer’s title in IMSA competition, unofficially leads by 20 points heading into the season-ending, 10-hour Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in two weeks.
GTLM Driver’s Championship leaders Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin placed fifth Saturday in GTLM and grew their points advantage from seven points to 11. The No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R has won four times this season and has led in points from the start of the year.
The Prototype standings also favor Chevrolet and its Corvette Daytona Prototype teams after Saturday’s race. Ricky Taylor and Jordan Taylor won overall in their Wayne Taylor Racing No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP as they led 70 of 75 laps for their third win of the season.
Chevrolet also leads in Prototype points for the Engine Manufacturer’s Championship – a title it has won four consecutive years since the program began in 2012.
Garcia and Magnussen drove from eighth place in class at the start to third in the span of two hours. Magnussen drove the opening 43 minutes and picked up three spots during that time. The other big development early on was the ability of both the No. 3 and No. 4 Corvette Racing crews leapfrog their closest championship challenger thanks to a quick first pit stop.
Gavin, who started sixth, pitted from that position at the same time as Magnussen before handing off to teammate Milner. The championship co-leader held firm against a tough challenge from his leading championship rival as the two cars came together as Milner defended his position just before the halfway point. He emerged unscathed while the competing car lost 12 laps due to damage.
In Prototype, Corvette DPs won for the sixth time this year and fifth in a row. Chevrolet-powered teams also swept the Prototype podium for the third consecutive race.
The Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype won by 1.421 seconds as Jordan Taylor finished ahead of Action Express Racing’s Dane Cameron and the No. 31 Whelen Engineering/Team Fox Corvette DP. The Taylor have won more than any other driver combination in the category and solidified their hold on third place in Driver points.
Cameron and Eric Curran used their fourth consecutive podium to vault into the lead of the Prototype Driver’s Championship for the first time this season. Unofficially, the Cameron/Curran combo are now one-point ahead over their Action Express Racing teammates Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi, who placed third in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP.
Marc Goossens and Ryan Dalziel in the Visit Florida Racing No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Corvette DP placed seventh in class after losing time due to a loss of drive just past the 30-minute mark.
The final race of the IMSA season is the 10-hour Petit Le Mans presented by Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort on Saturday, Oct. 1 from Road Atlanta. The race begins at 11 a.m. ET with live television coverage across FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2 and IMSA.tv with IMSA Radio coverage and Chevrolet on-board cameras available on IMSA.com.
CORVETTE RACING GTLM QUOTES
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS-XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED THIRD IN GTLM: “The further we went into the weekend, the better the Corvette was. From the first practice through the warmup and race, we never stopped working on it. At points, we made some big swings on the setup side because we had nothing to lose. At some point we found our way a little bit. The first surprise was that in qualifying, we weren’t as far off the pace as we thought. The warmup was the same. It was very hard, especially with traffic. At the end, I think we had a Corvette that could have challenged the race winners. We’re looking forward to Road Atlanta now and wrapping up the Manufacturer’s Championship for Chevrolet. We have a really good chance, and I really want to win that race. I’ve come close a couple of times so that will be my focus.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS-XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED THIRD IN GTLM: “It was a pleasant little surprise. I think that it’s a good couple of spots better than I thought we were going to be. The car was quite good in my stint. We were able to kind of keep up with the guys in front, whereas I thought we would be out of it real fast looking at the practice times and qualifying. But the race car was pretty good I have to say… better than I thought it was going to be. I’m happy for the result. I’m happy for Corvette Racing and Chevrolet getting closer to that manufacturer championship.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS-XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED FIFTH IN GTLM: “This could be a real turning point for us in the championship. I think we will have to go to Petit Le Mans and get a seventh or an eighth place if the No. 67 was to win. It’s not a super comfortable cushion, but we just need to execute at Petit. I think we just need to be smart. We weren’t the greatest today, we weren’t the fastest. We were battling with the car a little bit and we made a couple of changes during the race. One was the wrong way and the other one was, I think, back in the right direction. But we need to go back and look at the data to see where we were missing it. Ultimately, we came away with scoring good points. We have extended our lead in the championship and at this time of the year that is all you need to be doing. You just need to be executing, getting the points on the board and extending our points lead. Looking at all the practice sessions, all the qualifying and everything that we did, I really didn’t think we were going to be coming away with extending our points lead over the No. 67. But we have, and it’s positive. We move forward and we go to Petit very positive.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS-XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED FIFTH IN GTLM: “Coming away with the points lead we have was best-case scenario. It’s not really how I would have liked to have gotten that points lead. We struggled all day today and really all weekend… just looking for pace and just sort of comfort driving the car. That part wasn’t so much fun, but yeah, we lucked out today for sure. We definitely had, as Olly (Gavin) said, we’ve had either all of the luck in the world or none of it. Today it looked like we had none and then we had all of it pretty quickly there. Part of me feels bad for the No. 67 guys, but that is kind of a bummer way to lose some points. But I can’t say I’m too unhappy about it. We’ve all fought really hard all year long and some races we’ve had some good races and so have they. Now it comes down to Petit Le Mans where the gap is fairly large, but we still need to execute for the whole race. We certainly can’t just jog across the finish line there; we still have to push hard. It will be a big challenge for sure, but we are in a good spot.”
CORVETTE DAYTONA PROTOTYPE QUOTES
RICKY TAYLOR, WAYNE TAYLOR RACING NO. 10 KONICA MINOLTA CORVETTE DP – PROTOTYPE RACE-WINNER: “It was an awesome race. We had the best car today, and not often do you have the best car and everything goes your way and everything goes right. Today, we had a little hiccup with traction control cutting out for a couple of laps; it was a bit of a panic for the guys with about 40 minutes about how we were going to get it working again. With a one-second lead with no traction control, (40 minutes) would have been a long, long time. But they worked through it and Jordan controlled the race after that.”
(ON HIS STINT) The conditions were not that bad. The car was very comfortable inside. The car was great. We were able to build such a good gap and Jordan was able to bring it home from there.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, WAYNE TAYLOR RACING NO. 10 KONICA MINOLTA CORVETTE DP – PROTOTYPE RACE-WINNER: “It was obviously a good day, our third win of the year. We had a strong car so I knew we had a shot at it when Ricky won the pole. Then Ricky had a flawless run, pulled out a 10-second lead and I knew, basically with me finishing it, it was up to me to lose it. I think we pulled it out to 15 seconds and then something happened – either I made a mistake by spinning or we had a traction-control problem. I spun, and the next five laps we were fighting what turned out to be traction-control problems and I was probably freaking out on the radio a little bit. Thankfully, the guys got it sorted, we fixed it. By that time, we only had a two-second lead so the race was back on. It got a little close, but the only thing that made it close was traffic coming and going. It was a good race. We had a little battle, but obviously a great day for us. Konica Minolta and DLL had 70 people here, so it couldn’t have been a better weekend for us.
(MORE ON THE RACE): “Well the spin, I don’t know if it was my mistake or the problems we were having caused the mistake, but either way I knew with it being my stint I had to kind of bring it back to the guys because of the lead we had that Ricky (Taylor) built. I’m just happy. It’s our third win of the year. DLL is here and Konica Minolta… and thank you to Continental Tire.”
(THIRD STRAIGHT 1-2-3 for CORVETTE DP) “The Corvette DP has been great for years. This was the third race in a row we finished 1-2-3 just shows the dominance of the car. The car’s been developed a lot and we’ve learned a lot. It’s been good to me, it’s been a fun car to drive.”
Article by Ryan Smith and Judy Kouba Dominick
Photo by: Richard Smith