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• Impressive drive-back nets fourth for Milner, Gavin, Fässler
• Result caps championship-winning day for Corvette Racing, Chevrolet
• Four GTLM victories on season for Corvette Racing
BRASELTON, Ga. (Oct. 7, 2017) – Corvette Racing capped its championship-winning season Saturday with a runner-up finish at Road Atlanta’s Petit Le Mans for Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. It put a Bowtie on a day that saw Corvette Racing and Chevrolet sweep the GT Le Mans (GTLM) Manufacturer, Driver and Team titles in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R of Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Marcel Fässler placed fourth in a stellar late-race comeback.
The 10-hour endurance race in the rolling hills of north Georgia was a classic in every sense of the word. The top seven GTLM cars finished on the lead lap, and rarely were they separated by more than 30 seconds.
Six cars led in GTLM over the 392 laps and just under 1,000 miles. The No. 3 Corvette led four times, but even more key were the positions that the team gained with excellent pit work and strategy throughout. Especially key was a late stop for fuel and tires that put Garcia, who started and finished the race, into second place after entering the pits third. That solidified Chevrolet’s hold on the Manufacturer Championship with 50 minutes left.
Garcia ended one second back from the winning BMW with Milner only 21 seconds further back.
The latter’s late-race effort was particularly stout as he passed three cars in the final five minutes. He opened the race in tricky wet conditions and handed off to Gavin with Fässler driving the middle portion of the race. Creative strategy and more stellar pit work kept the No. 4 Corvette within sight of the leaders for much of the day
The 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship opens with the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 27-28.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED SECOND IN GTLM: “I really cannot expect anything else. We gave it all we had until the last lap. Actually for a moment, I thought I had some chances for a win when an hour before I thought it was done. That is the spirit of Corvette Racing. That has been the spirit all year long. We never give up. Big thanks to Jan and the whole crew. For me it was very, very easy for me to believe I couldn’t make it to the end because I was in the car for three hours. After one hour, I was like ‘Don’t tell me I have to do another two.’ They really kept motivating me. That is part of their job and I am very thankful for that. Big thanks to Team Chevy, the whole Corvette Racing team and the whole Corvette community. I think other than maybe Long Beach, this was a perfect season, so thank you all!”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED SECOND IN GTLM: “A fantastic day and a fantastic race. The whole category has been so close all day long. It was difficult to really make a difference out there… to pass people. You kind of had to wait for mistakes, but nobody made mistakes. Traffic could sort of play into it, so it was kind of waiting for the right place and the right time to take advantage. We had great strategy. Beating the 67 Ford out on that last stop was very important. That Ford got taken out by a prototype later on, but it was important for us to get out ahead if for nothing else than to prove a point.”
MIKE ROCKENFELLER, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED SECOND IN GTLM: “Congrats to Corvette Racing. It’s amazing what they achieved this year, especially Antonio and Jan; they had a fantastic year to win the Driver Championship. The Manufacturer Championship was secured for Chevrolet so I think we fulfilled almost everything this weekend. We wanted to win as well, but the BMW was too strong. Congrats to them. It’s been a good year with Corvette Racing. The three races I did were really strong. The win at Sebring was really strong and very competitive. At Daytona we were strong, just not quite enough to win. And here at Petit Le Mans we were in the hunt for the victory. So I am I am very happy, and I hope I can be back with the team. I did my best to help as much as I can. It’s not always easy to jump in as the third driver without so much seat time, but my teammates help me a lot. It is just great to be part of Corvette Racing and I’m looking forward to the future.
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED FOURTH IN GTLM: “It was great racing all the way through… very tight and close in our class. I had an excellent battle with one of the Porsches. I managed to pass him twice; we were quicker than him in certain parts of the track, and they were quicker than us at other parts. It’s just great racing. Petit Le Mans generates such great competition and racing. Everyone at Corvette Racing was on their game with pit stops and strategy all day. There was so much to play for but very little lap time between the cars. You just couldn’t pick a winner until the end.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED FOURTH IN GTLM: “Mission accomplished! That is what we set out to do at the beginning of the year was to win everything, and we just about got that done. We missed the endurance championship, but we got the rest of them. I’m super proud of this team a super proud of the guys on the No. 4 Corvette. We had a rough year this year but those guys didn’t quit. Their last pit stop was probably their best. I can’t thank Olly and Marcel enough. We have a lot of fun here for sure, but it will be more fun next year when we have some better results.
“It is a team effort totally. I’ve never heard in the seven years I have been here anyone on this team having conflicts in any way. Olly and I had a pretty rough year this year, but we tried in any way we could to help the No. 3 car in whatever situation that we need to. We all work together to help get Chevrolet a championship and whichever car is in the hunt for the title, we do all we can. For some reason we seem to have this seesaw effect… when one car is running well and has all the luck in the world, and the other one doesn’t. Then it switches. Last year we had all the luck in the world, and this year we had very little luck. We got a good win at Long Beach and we were plenty quick in a lot of places. It is easy to look at the bad things, but there are a lot of good things to build on for next year.”
MARCEL FÄSSLER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED FOURTH IN GTLM: “It was very busy out there in my stints. There were cars all around but there was a lot of good overtaking, especially after restarts. Once we got running, I got caught up and Rocky (Mike Rockenfeller) went by. I didn’t want to risk doing something to hurt the sister car. Maybe I was a little too careful and had a couple of cars go by. After that the pace wasn’t too bad. The rear tire degradation made it difficult to race the last few laps. I made a little mistake in Turn 3, so we had to pit a little early. So I’m not really happy about that. But what I am happy about is that Corvette Racing has won the Manufacturer, Driver and Team championships. It has been great to be a part of Corvette Racing again this year.”
Article by Ryan Smith and Judy Kouba Dominick
Photo by Richard Prince
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