mercredi 16 mars 2016
Corvette Racing chasing back-to-back victories at 12 Hours of Sebring
Sebring and Corvette. They go together like America and apple pie. In fact, they have for 60 years now – America’s longest-running endurance race and America’s sports car. The relationship continues in 2016 as Corvette Racing returns to Sebring International Raceway for this weekend’s 64th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida.
Corvette Racing is the defending winner in IMSA’s GT Le Mans class. It was the second leg of a Triple Crown season for the team, which became the first in 15 years to win the world’s three biggest endurance races in the same year: Sebring, the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
A year later and Corvette Racing is back at Sebring looking to start a season two-for-two. Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Marcel Fässler in the No. 4 Corvette C7.R won at Daytona in a historic 1-2 finish by 0.034 seconds – the smallest margin of victory in the Rolex 24 regardless of class. Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller were second at Daytona in the No. 3 Corvette.
The pairings are the same for the 12 Hours, and it’s a formidable lineup. Between them, the group has 13 class victories. Gavin has five wins, Magnussen four, Garcia two, and Milner and Fässler one each; the latter’s was an overall win 2013. Magnussen and Garcia were part of the winning lineup a year ago.
The number of production-class victories for the Chevrolet badge at Sebring also is staggering. The Bowtie ranks second in Sebring history with 27 class victories. Of those, 22 were by a production-based Corvette… including nine for Corvette Racing since 2001. In all, Corvette Racing has 98 victories worldwide.
This year’s 12 Hours has added meaning for the Corvette brand as it marks the 60th anniversary of Corvette’s initial foray into motorsports. Corvette raced for the first time in the 1956 Sebring 12 Hours with five entries, one of which placed ninth overall and won its class.
The same year, work began on two special Corvettes that would race in the 1957 Sebring 12 Hours – the Corvette SS and Corvette SR2. Both were purpose-built race cars that provided a foundation for future production Corvettes in terms of technology and aerodynamics. In order to highlight the early days of Corvette as a racing brand, a Corvette SR2 and Corvette SS will be on display this weekend in the Sebring Gallery of Legends.
Since the mid-50s, Corvettes have been constant entries at Sebring. That heritage was amplified when Corvette Racing arrived with the beginning of the American Le Mans Series in 1999.
In addition, Corvette Racing routinely tests at Sebring – not just to prepare for the event but also perfect many of the components that are common to the C7.R and the Corvette Z06 production car.
That first race at Sebring for the Corvette C5-R ushered in a new era of racing Corvettes at the historic track. The introduction of Corvette Racing occurred two months earlier in the Rolex 24 At Daytona but Sebring served as sort of a full circle return for the Cross Flags. This weekend marks the 17th consecutive season Corvette Racing has fielded two cars for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, plus the team has conducted a number of tests at the track over the years – including in early February.
The 2016-spec Corvette C7.R is an updated racecar due to changes in Automobile Club de l’Ouest regulations for top-level GT cars that compete in the IMSA GTLM class. There are a number of aerodynamic changes including a larger splitter at the front and diffuser at the rear of the Corvette. Side skirts and a repositioned wing also are among the most notable changes, along with updated safety features that are now mandated on all GTLM cars.
The powertrain on the Corvette C7.R is unchanged from 2015 with a 5.5-liter V-8 Chevrolet small block powering the race car. The Corvette C7.R will use E20 fuel during the IMSA season and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Corvette Press Release