dimanche 20 mars 2016
Second straight win for Corvette C7.R to start 2016
Corvette Racing’s Triple Crown streak continued Saturday with a 10th class victory in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida. Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Marcel Fässler in the No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R won their second straight race to open the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) season to go along with a victory in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
It is the second straight victory at Sebring for Corvette Racing and the third in four years. Milner drove the final two hours and 50 minutes to win by 2.882 seconds. The team has won the last five of the world’s top endurance races – Daytona and Sebring in 2015 and 2016, plus the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2015.
“Great driving, teamwork and execution in the pits were keys to today’s GTLM class victory for the No. 4 Corvette C7.R team in the 12 Hours of Sebring,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. Vice President, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “To come from two laps down and win in a field as competitive as the IMSA GTLM class is a true reflection of the never-give-up attitude of the Corvette Racing team.
Campbell added, “This win is special because it Corvette Racing’s second consecutive win at Sebring and follows win at the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona. The IMSA season is off to an exciting start.”
Milner drove the first two hours, 50 minutes in Corvette Racing’s No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R and was third at the time of a red flag for lightning and track conditions. Milner had led the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class midway through the opening quarter thanks to a strong first pit stop by the Corvette Racing crew and being able to take on wet tires 90 minutes into the race just before the pit entry closed due to a crash on track.
Fässler got in the No. 4 Corvette not long after the two-hour, 15-minute stoppage and drove in some of the most challenging conditions. He switched from slick to wet and back to slick Michelin tires during his stint as the track surface and weather changed throughout with his pace improving as his stint wore on. Gavin then took over on a dry track with less than five hours to go. He drove two-plus hours and got the Corvette back on the GTLM lead lap before Milner drove to the end.
The No. 3 Corvette C7.R of Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller also was a contender for a repeat victory at Sebring before the car suffered heavy damage when another GTLM competitor hit Magnussen at the entry to Turn One, which sent both cars hard into the outside tire barrier. Magnussen, part of the GTLM-winning effort with Garcia a year ago, had just taken the lead in class with less than a little less than five hours remaining in the race.
Magnussen was evaluated and released from the Sebring infield care center, but the car suffered significant damage to the driver’s side and rear internal components. The No. 3 Corvette Racing crew worked feverishly to repair the car, and it returned to the race less than 45 minutes after it arrived in the team’s paddock.
Despite the setback, the No. 3 Corvette completed enough laps for ninth-place points.