Looking at the back ends of Porsche 911 RSR’s is not how the Corvette Racing team wanted to start the Grand Prix of Mosport last weekend, but Oliver Gavin and Jan Magnussen managed to convert their eighth place start into the team’s first American Le Mans Series victory of the season.
The #3 Compuware Corvette C6R, driven by Tommy Milner and Olivier Beretta, took P6 at the end, after contact with a Porsche forced extended repairs during the 2 hour, 45 minute race.
Racing on the 10-turn, 2.5-mile road course this weekend was anything but boring, as a full course caution, coupled with penalties, reset the running order after 28 laps. After making a pit stop under the yellow, Gavin returned the #4 car to fifth place and then slid up to P3 as two cars served penalties.
Not long after, the second place Porsche took an off-track excursion and Gavin began an epic battle with the Risi Competizione Ferrari, driven by Toni Vilander. The result might well have been some of the best racing seen at Mosport this season.
“We started coming on these big clumps of traffic, and things started getting crazy,” Gavin said. “I had this mad battle with Toni, where he passed me going into Turn 2 and then he went around the outside of a GTC car. I managed to undercut them both and come back around the outside into Turn 3 – it was fantastic racing!”
However, the dicing got a little too intense at Mosport’s infamous Turn 5 – Moss Corner – and contact with the Ferrari resulted in a tire puncture for Gavin’s Corvette. Jan Magnussen took over at the resulting pit stop and rejoined the race in P3. Dirk Werner’s #55 BMW had moved into the lead, followed by Vilander in his Ferrari.
With a half hour remaining, Magnussen managed to pass Vilander for second and ten minutes later, the lead BMW was forced to serve a stop-and-go penalty for avoidable contact. Magnussen would have clear air for the rest of the race.
“I knew that for us to get a good result out of this race, we had to be 100 percent focused every second,” Magnussen said later on. “We could never relax, just push all the time. To pull a win from where we were after qualifying is just fantastic. These guys have done it before and they’ll do it again – you can never count Corvette Racing out.”
For the #3 car, driven by Tommy Milner and Olivier Beretta, contact on the course had more serious effects. Milner, after starting from P8 on the grid, managed to move up to fourth place before contact with the Porsche took both cars off track. Rear suspension damage would keep the C6R in the pits until just over an hour remained in the race. Beretta took the car back out and drove under the checkered flag in sixth place.
“Tommy did a very good job; we were just unlucky to be touched by a gentleman driver and that was the end of our race. I was hoping for a yellow to close up the field, but it didn’t come, so I just brought the car home,” Beretta said.
The American Lemans Series heads to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, in Lexington, Ohio, for the next round on the calendar, August 5th and 6th. The green flag will fall at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time.