CORVETTE RACING AT BALTIMORE: Garcia, Magnussen Lead 1-2 GT Finish
Season’s second victory for No. 3 Corvette duo in wild street race
BALTIMORE (Aug. 31, 2013) – Corvette Racing scored a 1-2 class finish today in one of the wildest and unpredictable sports car races in memory at the Grand Prix of Baltimore and the seventh round of the American Le Mans Series. Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen won for the second time this season in the ALMS’ GT class driving their No. 3 Compuware Chevrolet Corvette C6.R. Defending ALMS GT champions Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner were runners-up for the second consecutive season on the Streets of Baltimore in the No. 4 Corvette.
Magnussen moved from third in class to first – and around Milner – on a restart with a little less than 20 minutes to go. The 1-2 finish was the team’s first since last year’s Laguna Seca round. It also increased Chevrolet’s lead in the GT manufacturer championship, as well as Corvette Racing’s margin in the team standings.
Garcia and Magnussen moved up to second in the drivers’ championship and sit just two points behind Gavin and Milner with three rounds left in the season.
“Congratulations to the Corvette C6.R drivers and crews on their 1-2 class finish in the ALMS GT class in Baltimore,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet US Vice President, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “Both teams demonstrated exceptional driving, quick pit work and tremendous perseverance. Oliver Gavin and Antonio Garcia did a terrific job of adapting to intense, ever-changing racing conditions. And finally it was great to see Jan Magnussen and Tommy Milner drive to the front after the final restart.
“Today’s Corvette Racing results were important for manufacturer, driver and team standings,” Campbell added. “However our focus remains on the three final races in the ultra competitive GT class.”
ABC’s 1 p.m. ET Sunday broadcast of the race will be one to see. The race featured a nearly one-hour, red-flag period after a massive crash blocked the circuit immediately following the drop of the green flag. The race length was shortened from two hours to approximately 70 minutes, and both Corvettes were involved in a slight incident on the subsequent restart. The drama continued for Garcia, who lost radio communication with the Corvette Racing crew and did not hear the call to pit just 12 minutes after the restart. He made an evasive maneuver and spun 180 degrees to make the pit entry at the very last minute.
Milner rejoined the race in third place and Magnussen fourth. Milner chased down Maxime Martin’s BMW and moved to second with 41 minutes left, and Magnussen followed suit one lap later. The race’s fourth and final caution period led to Magnussen’s move on Milner and another BMW going into Turn 1.
Corvette Racing returns to action at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, for the eighth round of the ALMS championship. The race, set for 3:45 p.m. CT on Saturday, Sept. 21, will air Sept. 22 at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R
“It was one of those situations you don’t like. We had just started to accelerate and could avoid people. But those that were three or four cars behind me couldn’t do anything at all. The situation is that no one practiced that line (around the curbing) before the start. So you don’t know how much you will jump (over the rail line). You have the chicane when we are racing to slow us down but not at the start. We are going straight. Maybe that is what caught people on the start when they went to power and jumped more than they thought. On the inside, the jump is heavier.
“I was on the lucky line because I just followed the car in front of me and it looked like it was the right one. After we crossed the rail line, I started to see people spin around. I tried to find my spot and carry on. Afterwards when I saw on TV what happened, that was not really good for the fans for sure. At that point, the race lost what looked like half of the cars.”
Loss of radio communication before the pit stop: “I got the call that when the pits were open, we were coming in. I had no other radio communication afterward. When I saw a Ferrari that was a lap down pitting, I didn’t know if it was my turn. If it was the BMW or maybe someone else pitting then I would follow. But as soon as I saw Olly (Gavin) pitting, I did a 180-degree turn to get into the pitlane.
“The main thing is that there was no communication. I started the race thinking it was a two-hour race, and then following the caution I was told we were doing a pit stop and a driver change. That’s when the radio went off completely. As soon as I saw the cars following me go into the pit, I decided I needed to go in too.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R
“It was a really weird race – a sprint race with really no pit stops. There was one in the beginning once we restarted the race but everyone had the driving time limits to figure out. We got a little bit messed up in the pit stop because of a radio failure so there was no way to tell Antonio that the pits were open. It was impossible for him to know if it was all cars, just P cars or just GT cars. He made the right decision. He stopped, spun it around and only lost a couple of spots when we could have lost them all. It was good thinking and reaction on his part. After that, it was a matter of going as hard as we could. We didn’t have to worry about tires or fuel. We just needed to go.”
Pass for the lead: “I was trying to pass one of the BMWs, and he got balked by someone. I had to get around and in front so I could defend and not give him the position back. I got a little off-line and locked up the inside-front a little and the car shoved me to the inside of Tommy. It wasn’t a planned move but when I got halfway there, I thought ‘To hell with it. I’ll just go!’ It was a clean pass, and Tommy used his head. We were just trying to race and maximize our points to get both Corvettes ahead of the BMW. We were successful in that.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R
“I’ve never been quite in anything like that before. You see a wreck like that at the start, and you think it’s going to be nasty. Cars start bouncing around and ricocheting everywhere and there is nowhere for anyone to go. I was off-throttle as the Level 5 car went into the wall. I thought for sure he was going to bounce back across. Immediately it was all being waved off. We came around and just sat there. No one knew what to do for the next 45 minutes. For the restart, I moved from the left side of the grid to the right side, and starting on that side is much tougher. You get such a bigger jump across the train tracks than on the left.”
On the starts the last few races: “There is something strange going on at the front of the grid with the way these races have been started. Someone is absolutely jumping the gun, and that’s making it unsafe for all of us. That’s a bit crazy.
More on the day: It’s pretty amazing that we were sitting in a wreck at Turn 4 – both cars – with others and somehow we’ve managed to pull a 1-2 out of that! It was one of those wacky races that you couldn’t take your eyes off of. You have to take every single one, and I’m very happy to take second in this one.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R
“It was a weird race, unfortunately. What can you say? It’s a tight street race and you can see what happens when one car gets turned around. Fortunately we missed all of it. There was a lot going on, and we’re happy to come home with some good points. Jan snookered me there at Turn 1. But that’s what he should do. We’re all here to race and win. I had to brake a little early because I was on the dirty line. But great day for Chevrolet and Corvette Racing.”
CORVETTE RACING AT BALTIMORE: Garcia, Magnussen Lead 1-2 GT Finish