CORVETTE RACING AT PETIT LE MANS: Solid Start in Last Title Push
GT championship co-leader Garcia qualifies No. 3 Corvette fourth in GT; Gavin seventh in No. 4
BRASELTON, Ga. (Oct. 18, 2013) – The final race for the Chevrolet Corvette C6.R will see two of Corvette Racing’s GT challengers starting fourth and seventh on the GT grid for Saturday’s Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. Antonio Garcia qualified the No. 3 Compuware Corvette fourth with a lap of 1:19.128 (115.560 mph) in the finale of the American Le Mans Series.
Garcia and Jan Magnussen enter the 1,000-mile/10-hour race leading the GT drivers’ championship. With three wins this season, the duo needs a seventh-place finish or better Saturday with Jordan Taylor to clinch the title. Their only challenger for the title – Dirk Muller – will start fifth. The top seven cars were within 0.579 seconds of each other.
Garcia set his best time on his final lap of the session to beat Muller’s time. The No. 3 Corvette placed second in last year’s Petit Le Mans, and a similar showing Saturday would give Corvette Racing a drivers’ championship for the ninth time since 2001. Magnussen won the 2008 GT1 title, and Garcia was third in last year’s GT standings with Magnussen for his best championship finish.
In the ALMS’ previous round at VIR, Chevrolet clinched its 10th manufacturers’ championship, and Corvette won an ALMS team title for the 10th time.
Gavin, driving with Tommy Milner and Richard Westbrook, set a best lap of 1:19.440 (115.106 mph) in the No. 4 Corvette. The trio hopes to bookend their season with a victory to match a season-opening win in March at the 12 Hours of Sebring. Gavin and Milner – last year’s ALMS champions – stand third in this season’s drivers’ points and have a chance to move up to the runner-up position in the final standings.
Saturday’s race begins at 11:30 a.m. ET with live coverage alternating between FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2.
EDITORS: High-resolution images of Corvette Racing are available on the Team Chevy media site for editorial use only.
“We had a decent setup and decent pace compared to where we have been in past races. I felt like I could really attack. We seem to be a little closer to our competitors than where we expected. It’s a very good starting position for a long race. No one will be taking risks right away. The more toward the front you are, the less chance there is of having an issue. This is a good starting point. Now we need to run a clean race. Who knows – for sure we want to make 70 percent. After that, we will go for the win.”
“We are still searching for some punch out of the slow-speed corners. We also were looking for some direction change in the middle of the corners and made some adjustments before qualifying. I think we overshot with that. Now we have a car that is very much the other way and oversteering everywhere. I couldn’t attack any of the corners or carry my brakes all the way in. I was very nervous with the rear of the car, and my steering inputs were very, very small. It was the sort of stuff you expect when you have a little too much on the nose of the car and the rear is too light. But it’s a long race. We will take seventh place; we have worked our way up well from those positions all year. I’m pretty confident we can do it again. We will get the car right and will be there in the race.”
“One of the main goals of the session was to start in front of the BMW, which we accomplished. Antonio put in a great final lap, and Oliver positioned the No. 4 to help the team car fight for the championship. Now the goal is to have a clean, mistake-free race under very competitive conditions to wrap up our ninth ALMS drivers’ title – a remarkable feat over the last 15 years. The drivers, engineers and crew have performed brilliantly under pressure all season. Now it comes down to the final race. We are prepared and ready.”