Restarting fifth with only five minutes remaining, Corvette Racing pulled off a miracle Sunday at Road America. Tommy Milner navigated a series of incidents in the closing laps and made a last-lap pass on the No. 67 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT of Richard Westbrook to win the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase alongside co-driver Oliver Gavin.
It was the fourth IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship win and sixth podium of the season for the GT Le Mans (GTLM) points-leading No. 4 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R.
“It was extraordinary, it was an epic win for us,” said Gavin, who watched Milner carve through the field. “Everyone was in disbelief. I think there were plenty of people at the truck thinking, how’d we win that?”
Lined up directly behind the Prototype leaders on the final restart, Westbrook tried to hold off the No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTE of Toni Vilander for the lead when the No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR of Nick Tandy got a run on the leading Ford and Ferrari from third. Tandy moved to the inside of the top two for the lead when contact forced his Porsche into a spin in Turn 5.
That moved Milner into the third position after he also got around the No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR of Frederic Makowiecki. Milner found himself in second with two laps remaining when Vilander’s Ferrari spun after making contact with the No. 55 Mazda Prototype of Tristan Nunez.
Despite a one-second lead, Westbrook’s wounded Ford was no match for Milner who made the winning pass on the final lap and went onto win by 0.730 seconds.
““It was a wild swing of emotions,” said Milner of the final three laps. “My mindset at the end of the race was to hopefully catch the Porsche in front of me and try to make something there. During the yellow they said on the radio there was a chance we could restart but we might finish under yellow. I went from bummed to not being able to race for fourth to seeing all of the guys ahead of us.
“Then seeing the Ford in the lead, knowing how close we are in points, I sort of hoped we’d be there. Everything happened in front of me. The Porsche spun, then the Ferrari got taken out, I got some help for sure. I was able to get by the 912 and then get close to the Ford. It looked like they were a little hurt, but I don’t know how we went from fifth with three laps to go.”
Westbrook and co-driver Ryan Briscoe finished second and now sit 13 points, 264-251, behind Milner and Gavin with just three races remaining.
The No. 100 BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLM of John Edwards and Lucas Luhr rounded out the GTLM podium. The series of late-race incidents relegated the Ferrari of Vilander and co-driver Giancarlo Fisichella to fifth, and the Porsche of Tandy and co-driver Patrick Pilet to seventh.
IMSA Press Release