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MONTEREY, Calif. (May 4, 2014) – It wasn’t nearly as easy as last time, but Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen scored their second straight GT Le Mans victory in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship on Sunday. The duo won a hard-fought battle for the second consecutive season at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – this time in their No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R.
Garcia won by 4.710 seconds as Corvette Racing took its third straight win at the track and seventh since 2004.
“Today was another fantastic day for Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia and Corvette Racing,” said Mark Kent, Chevrolet’s Director of Racing. “It was a tremendous performance by everyone involved. The strategy and execution was perfect from the start. We saw again why this class of racing is among the best in the world.”
Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner in the No. 4 Corvette C7.R ran among the leaders early and often before finishing fifth in class after Gavin was hit from behind and spun off track late in the race.
Magnussen led all 42 laps of his stint, although this one wasn’t nearly as calm as his race to victory at Long Beach last month. Instead of a 10-second lead, he rarely led by more than a second and was under tremendous pressure. Twice, the Dane had to lock up the brakes going into the Corkscrew turn, the first time when he was pushed wide by a prototype just before the braking zone.
On a one-stop strategy following a pit stop and driver change at the one-hour mark, the focus of the battle turned to Garcia and Giancarlo Fisichella’s Ferrari. Garcia bided his time and used a slower car as a pick to move into the lead with 22 minutes left. With solid tires and great balance, he was able to steadily pull away.
Corvette Racing’s next event is the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 14-15. The next GTLM round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship takes place at Watkins Glen on June 29.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“I knew we had a really good car going into this race. The C6.R was successful coming into here, and I knew the Chevrolet Corvette C7.R would be good too. We proved that yesterday (in qualifying) because everything was running up to where we wanted it to. I knew the trick would be to save the tires because I saw Jan was having troubles with that. I knew he flat-spotted once or twice the front right, so it was difficult for me getting into the car knowing I had to save the tires. It was a good call on the pits just to do one stop. We lost a position to the Ferrari because Jan lost quite a bit on the in-lap and we lost maybe a second. I tried to overtake once or twice the Ferrari but I saw on pure pace that it couldn’t happen. Then getting back on my mind I knew I had to run those tires for half an hour, so I decided just to give up a little bit of pressure on them and just start saving tires as best I could. Doing that I wasn’t losing much time to them, maybe a little bit, and as soon as he caught traffic I could get him back. In the end if paid off pretty good and then I used traffic again. When I saw that prototype going to pass (the Ferrari), I really went for it and make a run as much as possible and he had no chance to block me. Then with 20 minutes to go I could use the tires I had saved.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“This is the perfect preparation for the team to go on to Le Mans full of confidence. We know when everything works we can win. Antonio did a fantastic job. He was fighting every lap. When the opportunity came there wasn’t a clear track where he was able to pass the Ferrari. As soon as the opportunity came he was there and then able to pull away for a safety margin. It was a fantastic job by the whole crew, the engineers, everyone at Corvette Racing.”
(His stint) “This was a tough stint. To begin with I had quite good grip and balance in the car. Towards the end there when the Porsche was catching me, I got pushed a little bit wide by the DeltaWing and had a huge lock-up into the Corkscrew which gave us a flat spot so that kind of took our edge away a little bit. I really, really had to fight for my position then.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“It was another one of those races where we showed a lot of promise, and it just didn’t really work out for us whatsoever. With the limited track time we got here, we took a bit of a shot with the setup of the car. For whatever reason, we were working our rear tires just a bit harder than most other cars out there. Tommy did a great job in hanging on to the car for so long with those worn rear tires. We took a gamble with the tires for my stint, and it was looking like it was going to be pretty good. Then the rear of the car just started to really snap away. It caught me out going into (Turn) Six – I ran wide up the hill there. I was able to get back on it and got going again. But then the No. 56 BMW was coming like no tomorrow; they had stopped and I knew they were quicker than us… I don’t know what happened, but as I came through the center of turn one, I got hit and turned around and we lost three spots. It kind of summed up our day really… very frustrating. A lot of effort from all the guys with the stop, and they did a great job. It is frustrating. It just seems right now like we can’t seem to catch a break. We always seem to be in the wrong place at the wrong time with people. We’ve got to turn that around. We go to our next race, which is our biggest race of the year, the Le Mans 24 Hours. Hopefully it is a really nice change in our fortunes this year because it has been a rather testing first few races for us. We need to go back, regroup and think about exactly how we are attacking these weekends and if we are doing something slightly wrong, we need to address it and fix it because we need to be 100 percent for our next big race in Le Mans.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“Tough stint there for sure. With the practice schedule, we didn’t get a whole lot of running. We weren’t too sure how long the tires were going to last. We found out pretty quickly in the race that we were on a little too soft of a compound early on so our lap times suffered quite a bit. Then I made a mistake in (Turn) Four and ran wide. We lost five or six seconds, something like that. Stuff like that makes a difference in a race like this with no yellows. It would be nice to get a yellow to pack everybody up, and go for the race. But, that is probably not going to happen. The gap was pretty big for awhile there, then it kind of closed up as Jan had issues as well. So he kind of brought the whole field back to me again so we aren’t too far away. But, it is hard to pass here, so every little mistake and things like that will definitely show itself at the end of the race.”
DOUG FEHAN, CORVETTE RACING PROGRAM MANAGER
“What an incredible day for Corvette Racing! Today, everything had to be perfect to win – the driving, the strategy and execution. Once again, Corvette Racing did it all and that is what enabled this victory. Two victories in a row is a great way to head to Le Mans – the most important race on our schedule.”
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