If you’ve ever been involved in a competitive sport, you know how something out of your control can easily throw even your best season out of whack. Unfortunately, that’s what happened to Corvette Racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last month but it seems that luck has once again turned in the team’s favor as they finished the 4th round of the American Le Mans Series this weekend with 2nd and 3rd-place positions in the GT class. This makes the fourth podium finish in a row for Corvette Racing and the second time both cars have finished within the top three this season.
Corvette Racing went into the July 7th American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park with the hopes of better luck than they had at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and that’s exactly what they got for the full 2 hours and 45 minutes of racing Saturday. While most of the field battled with tire walls and each other, the Corvette Racing No. 3 C6.R driven by Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia, and the No. 4 C6.R driven by Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner remained mostly unscathed through the race session.
That’s pretty remarkable considering the race started with the threat of thunderstorms ahead and four yellow flags were thrown over the next three hours.
Unfortunately, due to all the crashes that occurred at the fourth round of the American Le Mans Series, the race ended under caution, freezing the field with just nine minutes left to go. At the time of the last caution, Magnussen, who had his 100th career American Le Mans Series start on Saturday, was in the second place position looking for the perfect opportunity to make his move on the front-runner, Porsche’s Joerg Bergmeister.
“At the end I was looking for that one opportunity to try a do-or-die pass, but it never came,” Magnussen told Corvette Racing. “I needed a little traffic to get in Joerg’s way to be able to pass him. The only issue we had was that when I got close, I’d lose some aero downforce on the front end so I didn’t have the grip to do a normal pass. After our previous results at Lime Rock, second is a fantastic result for the team.”
Last year, Corvette Racing suffered their worst team finish of the 2011 season at Lime Rock Park, crossing the finish line in 9th and 10th places. This year, things shaped up a bit differently for the team.
Milner was able to start the No. 4 C6.R on the pole this year after a disqualification and pit-start took out the No. 44 Porsche and No. 55 BMW. A bad restart after the first caution, however, got the Corvette stuck behind the pack, losing a few positions. Garcia, on the other hand, who started the No. 3 Corvette in 4th for the race, was able to move toward the front after the first caution, passing Milner and maintaining his 2nd-place position for the race finish.
In addition to placing 2nd and 3rd in the 4th round of Le Mans, the Corvette Racing team was able to add to their driver and manufacturer championship points. Right now, Gavin and Milner sit at the top of the driver points list with 72 points, followed now by Garcia and Magnussen with 64. Chevrolet is also enjoying a bit of the high life with a 10-point lead on second place for the manufacturers championship in the GT class. The No. 3 C6.R also won the Michelin Green X Challenge for the event.
Corvette Racing will be facing the 5th round of the American Le Mans Series on Sunday July 22nd as they take on the Grand Prix of Mosport at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Bowmanville, Ontario. Best of luck goes out to the team for another podium position in the 5th round.