The #3 Corvette Racing C7.R recorded a remarkable fourth successive victory in the GTLM Class of the Tudor United Sportscar Championship at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park over the weekend. Drivers Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen increased their advantage in the drivers championship to 19 points over their nearest rivals. Antonio Garcia qualified the car in second place with a time of 1:15.278 behind a stunning lap from local fan favorite Kuno Wittmer in the #93 SRT Dodge Viper. As per usual, the top eight cars in the GTLM class all qualified within seven-tenths of a second of each other and the #4 Corvette with Olly Gavin at the wheel qualified in fourth place.
Sunday, race day, started with a very wet 20 minute warm-up session, which was stopped twice for cars that ran out of tarmac in the extremely treacherous conditions. It looked as though the race might also be run in similar conditions and for Corvette Racing that could have led to an overall victory as their two Corvette C7.R’s sat proudly on top of the overall timing sheets. This showed once again what a great chassis Corvette Racing has built alongside the excellent Michelin rain tires.
The morning rain eventually abated, and with the help of a strong breeze, the clouds blew away to the east giving way to blue skies and sunshine. By the time the race started, the track was completely dry and slick tires were the order of the day. For all of the teams, the only concern was the fact that the track would now be “green” i.e. all of the rubber deposited the previous days during practice and qualifying had been washed away by the mornings rain. The race as a whole was extremely well driven by all of the drivers, and despite the unknown levels of grip at the start of the race, there were relatively few cars off track and no full course cautions.
The DP, GTLM, and GTD cars were all running, but the PC cars were not. A couple of incidents to report, Tommy Milner in the #4 C7.R Corvette got tagged by Bill Sweedler in the #555 GTD Class Ferrari in the Quebec Corner dropping the Corvette back a couple of places in class. Sweedler had to serve a 45 second stop and hold penalty for the avoidable contact. Then, the GTLM Class leading #93 Viper with Kuno Wittmer at the wheel took to the grass to avoid a slower than expected #56 BMW and as a result destroyed one of the advertising signs and brought a huge amount of dirt and sod onto the track in the process. This let Jan Magnussen in the #3 Corvette C7.R take over the GTLM Class lead where he stayed until the chequered flag.
Thrills and spills
The drivers from the three class winners
The second half of the race saw some great battles in all three classes, none more so than the #33 GTD Class Viper driven by Jeroen Bleekemolen who managed to force his way past the Porsche of Kevin Estre on the penultimate lap after the Porsche was pushed wide by the #912 GTLM Class Porsche. The #4 Corvette C7.R struggled in the second half of the race and could only manage eighth place in GTLM.
The overall race went to the #42 OAK Racing Morgan/Nissan that had started from the pole position and was the class of the field. Richard Westbrook in the #90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP fought his way back up to second place overall after a terrible pit stop. He then had a great battle with Jordan Taylor who finished third overall in the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP.
The next race for the TUDOR United Sportscar Championship will be at Indianapolis on Friday the 25th of June on the Indy road course. Final note is a get well soon to popular Corvette DP driver Boris Said who crashed heavily in Turn 1 on Friday during practice in the Marsh Racing entry, which was withdrawn from the race because of the heavy crash damage. Please don’t try to make Boris laugh if you see him as he has a broken rib!