After taking the win in the American Le Mans Series opener at Sebring, Corvette Racing dropped to a discouraging 4-5 finish at Long Beach just last month. But the season is far from over and the team is intent on proving their power for the remainder of the year, starting with their first-place finish at Laguna Seca over the weekend. And that’s not all. This win also marks the second year in a row that Corvette Racing has taken the title at the famed Laguna Seca road course and the first time the No. 3 Compuware Corvette and its drivers have brought in a win in a year and a half. Not a bad way to finish the third race of the season if you ask us!
With Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen as the pair behind the wheel of the No. 3 Corvette C6.R, Corvette racing had a good chance at taking top positions at the famed course for the second year running after Garcia qualified sixth on Friday, moving up to the fifth starting position for Saturday’s race after the Core Autosport Porsche failed its post-session inspection. Leading the No. 3 Corvette was the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R, driven by Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner, which moved up to the third starting position after qualifying in fourth.
Right at race start, the No. 4 Corvette had to overcome difficulties as they made contact with another vehicle, thankfully resulting in no damage. At the first hour, both cars stopped for fuel and tires, after which the No. 3 Corvette fought its way to the lead position, with the No. 4 Corvette hot on its tail. Unfortunately, the No. 4 car hit difficulties again when Gavin contacted the crew via radio about the car being stuck in 6th. A yellow-flag pit stop revealed that the car had a cracked hose in the gearbox, which although fixed on the track, cost the No. 4 crew five laps. They finished in 10th place overall.
While the No. 4 Corvette was fighting to stay alive, the No. 3 Corvette fought to keep its lead, with Magnussen stretching the Corvette and the second place team’s margin by nearly two seconds. During another caution flag around the half-way mark, Magnussen lost his impressive lead but pulled in once again for fuel and tires. Magnussen switched out with Garcia for the remainder of the race, with the No. 3 Corvette sometimes commanding the course by only three tenths of a second.
When all was said and done, however, the No. 3 Corvette held onto its lead all the way to the finish line. Although Magnussen and Garcia are certainly to thank for their astounding driving performances, both men acknowledged the crew’s role in their win in a recent news release from the team. In fact, the Corvette Racing team ended up spending four seconds less than their competition on pit stops, certainly adding to the team’s fluidity and success.
“I have to say, today was one of the most perfect races we’ve had with Corvette Racing,” Magnussen stated in a recent Corvette Racing press release. “We were under pressure the whole way. We never had a big lead, we really had to work through traffic and not get stopped by the slower cars and lose too much time. It was a matter of being precise the whole race. The pit crew made perfect stops. We didn’t have any issues in the pits. We did the driver change during only a short fuel, so there wasn’t a lot of time to make it. I am so happy we finally get a win over a year and a half. With this one, if you can’t win driving like this, you can’t win. It is a lot of pressure, but we have a great crew behind us the whole time.”
This Corvette Racing win marks the team’s 79th win in the American Le Mans Series, making it the most successful team in the series in history.