CORVETTE RACING AT VIR: Tough Going for Pair of Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs
Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor led Corvette’s drive at the Oak Tree Grand Prix with a 7-place finish at Virginia International Raceway (VIR). The finish keeps Garcia in the lead of the TUDOR United Sports Car Championship’s GT Le Mans driver standings and the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R entry first in the class team championship.
Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner in the No. 4 Corvette C7.R finished 9th in Sunday’s race after Milner was forced off track midway through the race and lost four laps. (punted off track by the VW…I mean Porsche (sorry)) Two races remain in the TUDOR Championship inaugural season. Corvette Racing has 4 class victories on the season and the most of any team in GTLM.
Gavin and Milner looked to be the stronger of the 2 Corvette entries in the first half of the race. Gavin opened with a strong run that saw the Brit move from 9th at the start to 5th by the time he turned the Corvette over to Milner. Tommy was battling with the eventual race-winning Ferrari just prior to the halfway point when he was hit hard from behind by another GTLM competitor (damn VW’s).
The impact pushed Milner far off the track and heavily damaged the left-front of the Corvette C7.R and ended their podium challenge. The Gavin and Milner duo hoped to replicate their 2012 American Le Mans Series class victory at VIR.
Taylor started the No. 3 Corvette C7.R in place of Jan Magnussen, Garcia’s regular teammate. As a precaution following a crash involving Magnussen in Saturday’s practice session, the Dane and Chevrolet Racing management agreed he would not race.
Sunday morning’s warmup marked the first laps in the Corvette C7.R around VIR for Taylor, who drives for Corvette Racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He drove a measured stint following a careful start and was 2nd when he pitted at the 53-minute mark to hand off to Garcia.
The Spaniard drove a solid double-stint and led with 50 minutes left when he made his final stop for fuel and tires. Try as he might, Garcia was unable to advance from 7th place. The result pushed Chevrolet out of the lead in the GTLM manufacturer championship.
The next TUDOR Championship race for Corvette Racing is the Lone Star Le Mans on Saturday, Sept. 20 from Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas. The team also will field a Corvette C7.R in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s six-hour race on the same day.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“This was a very difficult and frustrating day. First of all, it disappointing not having Jan race but we were fortunate to have Jordan. He did a great job in his stint, especially for not having been in the car on this track. The Corvette Racing team was great on our pit stops. There were no mistakes. The result is what it is. Everyone on the team did what they needed to do. We got the maximum result we could out of the car.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“It was difficult. I don’t know what I should have expected. Jumping in the car for the first time on the day of the race is tough. I’d never taken the start before. I was a little cautious and a couple of guys got past. When things settled in, I think we had good pace. Once we saw where we were, we started saving fuel and made up a lap or two on some of the other guys. It put us in decent position for what we had.”
OLIVER GAVIN NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“The start was a little bit messy. It wasn’t a fantastic start for the Falken in front of me. The Ferrari ran wide out of Turn 10, and when he came back on just as I was coming into 11, he bombed me. Then I got side-by-side with one of the Porsches on the way down into Turn 14, and he didn’t give me enough room. As he was trying to go through on the outside, we touched and we both were sideways; he lost the rear and spun around. It was just a racing incident. After that, it was a matter of catching the Falken car. It was good racing with Bryan (Sellers) and he gave me lots of room; it was decent and fair. Jordan (Taylor) was good with me. He was trying to get a feel of things being brand new and fresh with the car. and gave me plenty of room at Turn 1. We both tried to get through that first stint without any contact or problems.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“The breaks continue to go against us. I was racing hard with the Ferrari going into the brake zone off the backstretch. I had to give up the position and in doing so lost another spot before being hit hard by an impatient Porsche. That was our race. I had to come in and have most of the left-front replaced. It’s a real shame because Oliver had a good stint to put us in the position to challenge the front-runners.”