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•Winning duo leads 84 laps in GT-only event and solidify third in GTLM points
•Third straight win and fifth of season for Corvette Racing
•Chevrolet increases lead in GTLM Manufacturer Championship
•Gavin, Milner remain first in GTLM Driver Points
ALTON, Va. (Aug. 28, 2016) – Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen won the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR on Sunday, the second overall victory for Corvette Racing in its history and the first for the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R of the season.
It was Win No. 102 for Corvette Racing, which has won five times in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class this year in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The victory also was the second for the team at Virginia International Raceway.
Garcia and Magnussen combined to lead 84 of the 90 laps including the last two following a late-race caution period. The margin of victory was 0.802 seconds although Garcia’s lead before the yellow flag was a steady 3-4 seconds.
It capped a highly successful weekend for the No. 3 Corvette team. Garcia was quickest in Friday’s practice, and Magnussen claimed pole position. The duo won at VIR together for the first time after placing third in the 2013 American Le Mans Series GT class.
Magnussen set the tone from the outset by leading from pole position. He drove the first 49 minutes – most of the time with a lead of less than a second. Garcia drove a double-stint to close in what he described as qualifying conditions. The final stop with 53 minutes remaining proved to be key as the No. 3 crew performed one of its best fuel and tire stops of the season to solidify Garcia’s lead.
Class championship leaders Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner retained their GTLM points lead despite a ninth-place class finish for the 2012 ALMS GT race-winners at VIR. Gavin set the fastest lap of the race but had an unfortunate crash that brought out the race’s only caution. The incident came moments before reports of fluid down near that area of the track.
Milner qualified second behind Magnussen but fell back at the start in a frantic run through the first corner. He remained steady and moved back up through the field to fifth before a small off-track excursion just past the 40-minute mark. With two races to go, they still unofficially lead the GTLM Driver’s Championship by seven points with two events remaining.
The next event for Corvette Racing is the Lone Star Le Mans on Saturday, Sept. 17 from Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas.
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – OVERALL AND GTLM RACE-WINNER: “We were all pretty equal all day in the class. The Corvette Racing team did a great job with the tire pressures. We had a plan where we would be better from the middle of the stint and not so much in the beginning. It wasn’t much fun early on with the tires but as things went on our Corvette got better and better. I’m super happy. It’s our first win in a long time. We have had plenty of opportunities, so I’m really pleased and hopefully this starts a streak for us now!”
WE TALKED EARLIER AND YOU THOUGHT THE FIRST STINT WAS SPECTACULAR, BUT WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT ANTONIO’S STINT? “It was a fantastic drive by Antonio. He kept the gaps and opened them a little bit. I know it got a little scary at the end with one lap to go. It scared the hell out of me. But he did a fantastic drive and always does.”
WINNING FIRST RACE OF 2016: “Oh man! It’s about time! It was a great job by the whole team all week. Green with one lap to go… I don’t know what that was about; it scared the hell out of me. The No. 3 Corvette team has had a tough run this year and it’s great to be back in the Winner’s Circle.”
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – OVERALL AND GTLM RACE-WINNER: “It was really hot and super close. It was a very difficult, tricky race. The racing line was super narrow; I think that’s why we saw some mistakes at the end. I had a few up and downs in the race. Our pit stops were perfect. After the tire pressures went up and stabilized, the Corvette felt great. I was able to make a little bit of a gap in traffic but it went back and forth. It was just like qualifying except you are trying to save fuel. Luckily I was able to run a good pace and economy with our Chevy engine. I got a really good job on the restart and already had a good gap at the start-finish line. I’m happy for Jan and everyone at Corvette Racing. We have been so close so many times this year that I really think our No. 3 Corvette crew deserved it today.”
YOU HAD TO SAVE FUEL AT TIMES AND THEN YOU SAW THAT FULL COURSE CAUTION AT THE END. FUEL WAS NO LONGER A CONCERN, I THINK IT WAS MORE ABOUT THE CARS BEHIND YOU? “Yeah, it was a very hard race. My team got me a three- to four-second gap and then it was a classic green/white/checkered. Not even green then white, it was like white and checkered. It was an amazing race and the Corvette was brilliant. So I just need to thank the whole Corvette team and Chevy. Corvette Racing did a fantastic job today. It really paid off to be out testing on Monday and Tuesday (at Road Atlanta). I have to say, because the car was fantastic.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED NINTH IN GTLM: “It’s obviously a disappointing way to end the day. We heard reports that there may have been oil or fluid down near the final turn so maybe that contributed to the incident. The Corvette C7.R is a very strong and well-built car, and we are always thankful for that. It seemed like today we got behind and never could catch up. That is how difficult it is in this championship. We are still thankful to maintain a points lead and will do whatever we can to protect that lead over the final two races.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED NINTH IN GTLM: “It’s hard to pass and make up ground. I kind of got hung out at Turn One and didn’t have much grip. I had to play some avoidance also with a couple of the cars in there and had some junk on my tires. My first lap free from the pitlane was a case of me going too fast and got loose. The car would understeer behind everyone else, and I didn’t realize how loose it was. It was a mistake on my part.”
DOUG FEHAN, CORVETTE RACING PROGRAM MANAGER: “This race today was victorious today on two different levels. Obviously for the Corvette Racing team, Jan and Antonio to bring the No. 3 Corvette home first after battling all day against the best competition of the world speaks very highly of not only the crew work but the engineers that put together a setup that they could race for an entire day in this extreme heat. That should never be overlooked. On another level, I think this is one of the best races we have had since the sports car merger in 2014. The Balance of Performance was very, very tight. You only had to look at the practice times, qualifying or the race times to see that any of the cars that started the race today had the capacity to win. And that’s what makes great racing. So we were all winners today – everyone who participated today in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.”
Article by: Ryan Smith and Judy Kouba Dominick
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