(BOWMANVILLE, ONTARIO, Canada) Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen keep their Driver’s Championship lead in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GT Le Mans (GTLM) class after a fourth-place finish at the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The BMWs of Alexander Sims and John Edwards and the Ford GT of Richard Westbrook finished only seconds up the road.
The number 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R moved up three positions from their seventh-place starting position during the race. The Corvette Racing crew and engineers’ solid strategy and execution gave the team a great advantage during the two stops the team made for tires, fuel and driver changes.
“My stint was pretty uneventful apart from trying to navigate through traffic,” said driver Jan Magnussen. The car is about what it was in qualifying with the same kind of balance. We may have been a little faster than the Fords but there was no way around them. It’s difficult; any time you get close to anyone here, you start losing performance. Hopefully our guys can come up with some interesting strategy and keep us ahead of the Fords.”
Magnussen drove the opening hour in the No. 3 Corvette with he and Gavin line astern for their first stints. After a fairly uneventful opening–an hour and 50 minutes–the race’s first full course caution period gave way to a heavy rain on the back part of the 2.459-mile, 10-turn circuit. Garcia and Milner – by now in for double-stints to the end of the race – stayed out on dry tires, as did the rest of the GTLM field.
“There was the potential for third place, but on the other hand I’m glad we made it to the end without damage,” explained driver Antonio Garcia. “It was very tricky and conditions were dreadful in the rain. With all the traffic and people going at it, it was difficult to stay on track. It’s a bit disappointing because we could’ve have both Fords behind us, but that is racing.” The fourth place result also kept Chevrolet in the Manufacturer’s Championship lead and the No. 3 Corvette first in Team points.
Olivier Gavin started the race behind the wheel of the number 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. “My stint at the start of the race OK… a bit of a challenge. It soon became clear that it would be our two Corvettes and the two Fords racing together. Jan and I tried to find a way through before they dove in early for the pits. Our car for my last 10 to 15 laps was very loose. When you add on the tires I did in qualifying with the ones I did in the race, the tires were well beyond their stint in life. I was trying to get it through to the end of the stint for Tommy. We were just flat out not fast enough.”
Gavin and Tommy Milner in the number 4 Corvette were classified eighth in class after a heavy shunt late in the race with when he tangled with the Cadillac prototype of Jordan Taylor. Milner went hard into the outside tires but fortunately walked away uninjured — testing the safety features of the Corvette — which did its job. Milner was checked and released from the infield medical center shortly thereafter.
“This is never the way we’d like to end a race,” lamented Tommy Milner. “I looked at the replay and it appears that the contact was due to three cars trying to occupy a space that was made for two cars. The competition in this series is very tight and, unfortunately, it is inevitable that these things will happen. The good news is that no one was injured. Corvette Racing will repair our Corvette C7.R in time for the next race, and we look forward to what we hope will be a better outcome.”
Co-driver Olivier Gavin was thankful for Milner’s lucky escape, “It’s disappointing to end like that. It was a nasty accident for Tommy. I’m very glad he is OK. Corvette Racing and Chevrolet focus so much on drive safety. Tommy couldn’t have been in a better and safer car than our Corvette. It’s a testament to the build of the C7.R and the chassis on the production car that Tommy was able to walk away.”
Garcia weighed in on Milner’s crash as well, “It’s a shame the No. 4 Corvette wasn’t there at the end. I’m glad Tommy is OK, though. We again proved that even though we had the slowest car we scored good points. We need to keep going, analyze our performance and find ways to improve. Let’s see if we can do that and come up with another win.”
The track remained damp on the far side for more than 20 minutes before the No. 4 Corvette’s incident with Milner running seventh and Garcia fifth. Another torrential storm, with five minutes left in the race, caused another crash for a prototype car and the third full-course caution. The Mobil 1 race ended under a yellow flag.
The next event for IMSA GT is the Northeast Grand Prix from Lime Rock Park on Saturday, July 22. The GT-only race is set for 3:05 p.m. ET with FOX Sports 2 airing the race live at 3 p.m. ET. Live audio coverage will be available from IMSA Radio via IMSA.com.