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• Gavin, Milner retain GTLM points lead with two wins and runner-up in 2016
• Dekra Green Award for No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R
• First Corvette DP podium sweep since Sebring 2015
LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 16, 2016) – Wayne Taylor Racing won its second straight race at Long Beach to lead an overall sweep for the Corvette Daytona Prototype program, and Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner extended their GT Le Mans (GTLM) championship lead with a runner-up finish in their No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R at Saturday’s Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix.
Jordan and Ricky Taylor won by 2.958 seconds in their No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP with Action Express Racing’s Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa second in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP. Eric Curran and Dane Cameron finished third in Action Express’ No. 31 Whelen Engineering/Team Fox Corvette DP. It’s the first 1-2-3 finish for Corvette DPs since the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in 2015.
The GTLM race was a Corvette 1-2 for most of the race’s second half. Milner and Gavin appeared headed for their third straight victory to open the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) season until Milner was hit from behind by Fred Makowiecki’s Porsche entering the final turn with two minutes left in the race. Despite the contact, Milner recovered to finish second.
Corvette Racing was going for the 100th victory in program history. Starting fourth in class, Gavin had to pit 30 minutes into the race with a suspected left-front tire puncture. It changed the strategy of the race with Milner having to go 70 minutes on a tank of E20. He took the lead with 53 minutes remaining. The race’s only full-course caution erased an 11-second lead over teammate Antonio Garcia in the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette, which Jan Magnussen qualified and started from fifth.
The restart saw the two Corvettes nearly nose-to-tail for the better part of 20 minutes. Unfortunately Garcia’s Corvette spun at Turn 4 with nine minutes left. He made it back to pit lane but the car couldn’t be repaired. He and Magnussen finished ninth.
The race stayed green until the finish despite the incident in the final corner that knocked Milner from the lead. The No. 4 Corvette did win the Dekra Green Award, which goes to the GTLM car that best combines performance with efficiency.
In the Prototype race, Ricky Taylor made an opening-lap, Turn 1 pass stick as he and brother Jordan led all but three of the race’s 75 laps. What’s more, the Wayne Taylor Racing and No. 5 Action Express Corvette DPs ran 1-2 for 57 laps including the final 36. Fittipaldi had qualified on pole position.
Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marc Goossens placed sixth for Visit Florida Racing in the No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Corvette DP.
The Taylors have now been either first or second the last three years at Long Beach. Cameron set the fastest lap of the race in the Action Express No. 31 Corvette DP for the second straight year. Unofficially, the Mustang Sampling Corvette DP has moved into first place in the IMSA Prototype Championship while the Whelen Engineering Corvette DP moves into second.
The next race for Corvette Racing and Corvette DPs is the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday, May 1.
CORVETTE RACING QUOTES
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED SECOND IN GTLM: “It was fairly well under control until I had a wiggle apparently. But that wiggle was tiny. I just got wrecked basically. Two Porsches running nose to tail… it is pretty clear what happened there. It is pretty disappointing that this is the kind of racing we have here where we are better than that for sure. At the end of the day, it could have been worse for us for sure. Second place is obviously great points. Oliver was unlucky there with the puncture (tire) and it was looking pretty bleak for us for a little bit there. But with the yellow, and we were at the right spot there at the end. There were very difficult conditions there after the yellow flag I was locking fronts all over the place and then the tires came back and they were good. Then with three to go, just taken out. It’s disappointing but certainly could have been a lot worse. I don’t mind finishing second if it is clean and it happens the right way, but that wasn’t the right way. It hurts a little bit to be second in this case the way it happened, but again, end of the day second place is great points for us. We can hold our heads high that we raced as hard as we could today, the right way.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED SECOND IN GTLM: “When you look back on today at the end of the year, we would hope that this was one where we ended up getting a good result from it. Yes, we felt like we got robbed of the victory. But with the puncture we had early-on and the pit stop, Tommy having to save fuel, the tires only lasting for so long… for us to come away with second place is a very good result. If you had asked us after the pit stop or told us we were going to finish second, yes we would definitely taken that. It is a little hard to swallow right now. We felt like we were going to win and we were robbed of that.”
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED NINTH IN GTLM: “It was not the outcome we expected. We played our strategy very smart. With the pace we had early, we showed that we had to do something. We didn’t have the fastest car but we were – up until the yellow – first and second. For sure the first yellow helped the 4 car stay in the lead. The Porsches were very fast. If I wanted to stay ahead of them, I needed to have the best drive of my career. There was a lot of pressure from them. Maybe there were some taps but nothing special. Then a mistake happened. I can’t say I felt contact. We probably need to view the replay but I was driving the whole race on the limit. That’s what happens on a street circuit sometimes. It can bite you at some point. I wasn’t going to be happy to finish second, so I was doing all I could to try to win the race.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED NINTH IN GTLM: “My stint itself was pretty uneventful. I wasn’t really in a position to attack anybody. We started getting messed up in traffic and lost a lot of ground to the guys in front. I tried to take care of things, but it was difficult. We did a bunch of laps in qualifying, so we were starting to lose a lot of performance in the tire. I was just taking care of things.”
CORVETTE DP QUOTES
RICKY TAYLOR, WAYNE TAYLOR RACING NO. 10 KONICA MINOLTA CORVETTE DP – PROTOTYPE RACE WINNER: “I don’t know, ever since Konica Minolta has been with us starting at this race three races ago, we always perform really well. The guys give us an awesome car. It was a Corvette DP 1-2-3, which is very special. We couldn’t be happier. Jordan did and awesome job. Everybody was fantastic.
“I was devastated after qualifying. It’s nice to start on pole at Long Beach because track position is so important. I was thinking about that all night and, a 4 o’clock race start gave me all day to think about it. I had every situation planned in my head except for that one where (Fittipaldi) accelerated right out of (Turn) 11 and was a bit early, I thought. We were a bit trimmed out, so I was able to stay close, and it’s actually easier sometimes to be second because you’re not the first one feeling the new grip, so I had a little bit of an advantage just being able to attack. He didn’t give me a whole lot of room, but that’s racing. It’s good stuff.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, WAYNE TAYLOR RACING NO. 10 KONICA MINOLTA CORVETTE DP – PROTOTYPE RACE WINNER: “The 5 was on me pretty much from the get-go when I got in the car and was putting a lot of pressure on. And then when the yellow came, I really didn’t know what to expect on cold tires. Once we got going, I saw the 31 was behind the 5 and that kind of helped take his focus off me a little bit and he was probably having to look both front and rear. I was able to pull a little bit of a gap thanks to the 31 and kind of maintain that until the end of the race. Thankfully, we didn’t catch too much traffic in the last 10 to 15 laps and we were basically able to hold our pace and get to the end.”
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, ACTION EXPRESS RACING NO. 5 MUSTANG SAMPLING CORVETTE DP – FINISHED SECOND IN PROTOTYPE: “We managed to get by the Mazda going into the hairpin. The No. 10 was about FOUR seconds ahead or something like that and we managed to close it down a little bit. It was a pretty solid race. Hats off the them (No. 10); they didn’t have any mistakes. They deserved to win today. We finished second. If you can’t win, finish second and collect the points. I’m pretty sure that these points are going to make a big difference at the end of the year and that is key. We will keep rocking and see what happens the next race.”
JOAO BARBOSA, ACTION EXPRESS RACING NO. 5 MUSTANG SAMPLING CORVETTE DP – FINISHED SECOND IN PROTOTYPE: “Once I got in the car, I could see the No. 10 car really close, but it is very hard on a tight street course. I was trying to judge the slower cars to see if I could get an advantage but sometimes it actually works against you. It’s racing. I think we did everything we could and it was good racing. The Mustang Sampling Corvette was good all race long. The Action Express guys did a great job and we got great points today.”
Article: Ryan Smith | Judy Kouba Dominick
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