Reading Time: 6 minutes
•No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R led more than 350 laps in thriller
•Gavin, Milner, Pagenaud third in GTLM with No. 4 Corvette C7.R
•Action Express Racing, Wayne Taylor Racing finish on Prototype podium in Corvette DPs
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 25, 2015) – Corvette Racing returned to Victory Lane for the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Sunday, scoring a hard-earned GT Le Mans class victory in the opening race of the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Ryan Briscoe won in their No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R in Corvette Racing’s second race back at Daytona since 2001.
Garcia crossed the finish line by 0.478 seconds. The winning trio completed 725 laps – 2,581 miles – for the team’s second Rolex 24 victory. Corvette Racing captured and Rolex 24 overall win 14 years ago but didn’t race at Daytona again until last season in the first race for the TUDOR Championship as well as the Corvette C7.R.
GTLM pole-sitter Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Simon Pagenaud placed third in class following a strong run.
“This is my second 24-Hour race with this team,” said Mark Reuss, GM Executive VP of Global Product Development, Purchasing & Supply Chain. “To come here to see the Z06 in its second year win at Daytona is special. It has been a long time since this team has won at Daytona. Everybody on this team worked so hard and it shows. They never gave up, and there were a couple of things that went wrong as they always do in a 24-hour race. The car and the drivers and the team, they worked so hard, and it all came together. The harder you work, the luckier you get. So here today with the C7.R, just so proud.”
Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President Performance Vehicles and Motorsports added: “To have both of the Corvette C7.R teams on the GTLM podium for the Rolex 24 Hour is a testament to the Never Give Up attitude of the crew and drivers. Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Simon Pagenaud continually battled back from adversity to get a podium finish.
“It is a special day to take this victory in front of our Chevrolet and Corvette owners,” Campbell added. “The support from our guests in the Corvette Corral at Daytona and Chevrolet fans around the world is a huge reason for today’s success.”
The two Corvette C7.Rs were the class of the field throughout the race. For much of it, the GTLM fight resembled a 24-hour sprint race. The rate attrition was extremely high with nearly every car in the class experiencing at least a moderate amount of damage or mechanical trouble. The only one that stayed out of significant trouble was the class-winning Corvette.
The Garcia-Magnussen-Briscoe trio led more than 360 GTLM laps and took the lead for good with 90 minutes left when the then-class leader experienced trouble in the pitlane. The No. 3 Corvette responded shortly thereafter with a perfect stop for tires and fuel to increase its lead. Garcia – as he, Magnussen and Briscoe had been throughout – was precise and clean in the final run to the checkered flag.
Gavin, Milner and Pagenaud were the equals to their teammates three-quarters through the race. Despite two unscheduled stops to repair slight damage, the No. 4 Corvette ran with its sister car until Milner came upon a slow prototype car that nearly came to a stop just before the Turn 6 complex just three hours from the end.
The crew of the No. 4 Corvette had to repair front and front-side components and lost four laps in the meantime. Nevertheless, the result was enough to send both Corvette C7.Rs to the TUDOR Championship podium for the first time since last April’s Long Beach round.
Sunday’s results placed both Corvette Racing entries in the top two positions of the Tequila Patrón Endurance Challenge in GTLM. The competition is made up of the four long-distance events on the TUDOR Championship
Action Express Racing, Wayne Taylor Racing Post Prototype Podiums
Two Corvette Daytona Prototypes filled the TUDOR Championship’s Prototype podium at Daytona on Sunday. Action Express Racing’s No. 5 Corvette DP of 2014 Rolex 24 winners Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi and Sebastien Bourdais placed second – just 1.333 seconds from a repeat victory.
Wayne Taylor Racing’s trio of Jordan Taylor, Ricky Taylor and Max Angelelli placed third in their No. 10 Corvette DP. It marked the second straight season that multiple Corvette DPs placed in the Rolex 24 top-three.
“Congratulations to Wayne Taylor Racing, team owner Wayne Taylor, and drivers Jordan Taylor, Ricky Taylor and Max Angelelli on a strong effort today in the Rolex 24 At Daytona,” Campbell added. “In a race this close, it takes a tremendous level of preparation, focus and execution to be in contention. Today, the drivers, engineers and crew at Wayne Taylor Racing and Action Express Racing did just that. This is a very good start for Chevrolet in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Prototype class.”
The race featured 59 lead changes, and three Corvette DPs – Action Express Racing, Wayne Taylor Racing and VisitFlorida.com Racing – each led during the event.
The race was the first for the C7-styled Corvette DP with all four finishing in the race’s top-seven.
The 2015 TUDOR United Sports Car Championship continues with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida on Saturday, March 21.
NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA GTLM CLASS WINNERS
NATE SIEBENS: Let’s slide over to the GT Le Mans winners. Let’s start with the trio from the No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. It’s the team’s second Rolex 24 at Daytona win, first since taking an overall victory in 2001. It’s also Antonio Garcia’s second Rolex 24 win where Jan Magnussen and Ryan Briscoe, both this is their first win. Ryan, let’s start with you. How does that new Rolex feel?
RYAN BRISCOE: It’s beautiful. I’ve been coming here since 2005, so yeah; I wasn’t a big fan of this place until now. It’s just such a tough race. Jan and I were talking about it before we came in, for both of us it’s the first time we’ve ever done the race without going back to the garage. I think that was a huge part of us winning today was staying out of trouble. There’s so much action all race long. I felt like it was a sprint race out there from the word go, in our class at least, and the racing was very good but very tough, a lot of fun, but very hard fought. I think the key was keeping our nose clean, having a fast race car at the end of the day.
NATE SIEBENS: Antonio, obviously you know what it feels like to stand atop the podium here at Daytona. You did it in 2009 with Brumos Racing in an overall victory. Any difference here today with this group?
ANTONIO GARCIA: Not really. Every time you win here it’s very, very special. I’ve been chasing this victory since 2009, even if I won it back then. This is a very unique race. The first race of the year, so it’s very difficult to be at 100 percent right away for the team, for the drivers, and it was just a normal perfect race not normal I have to say. Everything ran perfect, and as Ryan said, we just kept our nose clean, and I had the best car to fight on the last eight minutes of the race.
NATE SIEBENS: Jan, you’ve had other big wins obviously in your career, but maybe put into perspective getting this one here for the first time.
JAN MAGNUSSEN: Well, it was a hard one for me to win. I’ve tried 11 times. I’ve always felt that I was within a shot of winning the race, but we always had to go back to the garage sometime to fix something, and that was the big thing this weekend was that we had a really, really fast race car, and we were able to push hard. We stayed out of trouble, no mistakes; no damage to the car, good pit stops, great pit stops, and that was the key to winning this race.
Q. Early in the morning I think you and some other GTLM teams drove nearly identical lap times with the prototype cars. Do you think this new United SportsCar Championship and GRAND AM together, we can see or expect in maybe one of the next races a GTLM car taking the overall win?
JAN MAGNUSSEN: I doubt that. This place is pretty unique. We have really long straights in the GT cars. The GT cars have quite good top speed, so that counts for us. I don’t know that the tracks that we’re going to that we will have a situation where a GT car can win overall, but that really depends on if they go completely berserk in the P class. Maybe.
NATE SIEBENS: Can you talk about the level of competition in your class? Seems like top to bottom every team and every driver lineup is really, really strong.
ANTONIO GARCIA: That’s the good thing about this race. It’s the first race of the season, and you have drivers coming from many other series. You have every single manufacturer has their best drivers coming here, and we show that, BMW, Porsche, Aston Martin, Ferrari. You couldn’t see a better lineup overall for all the manufacturers here. And I think we show that. Since lap 1 all the way to the last lap, we showed that GTLM is very competitive and teams are extremely competitive, too, and you can’t afford to do any single mistake. Very proud that I was in the right car, and we just did what we had to do, drive a perfect car.
NATE SIEBENS: Gentlemen, congratulations. Thank you very much for joining us, and we’ll see you all at Sebring.
Reach out to us to see how we can help solve your toughest design, engineering and production problems and bring your innovative vision to reality.