CORVETTE RACING AT INDIANAPOLIS: Action Express Kisses The Bricks
Barbosa, Fittipaldi give Corvette first Indy win; Corvette C7.Rs place fourth and fifth in GTLM
· Fuel strategy makes the different for No. 5 Action Express Corvette DP
· Podium streak continues for Westbrook, Valiante
· Garcia, Magnussen maintain GTLM championship lead
INDIANAPOLIS (July 25, 2014) – Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi made history Friday by taking the Corvette brand to Victory Lane at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time. The duo drove their No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype to a win in the Brickyard Grand Prix for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
The Action Express team chose to gamble on fuel at the end of the race and went the last 52-plus minutes on the same tank of fuel as Barbosa took the win by 48.964 seconds. It was the first win at The Brickyard for the Corvette DP program.
In GT Le Mans, Corvette Racing’s two Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs finished fourth and fifth in their first race at Indianapolis.
“Today’s win by Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Action Express Corvette DP was a great example of teamwork,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. Vice President, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “Joao and Christian optimized their performance while also managing fuel efficiency each lap. Smart driving, fuel management and crisp pit stops resulted with their first win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was great to watch the team kiss the bricks after the win.
“Also congratulations to Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiante on their streak of four straight podiums including one win in the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP.
“The No. 3 and No. 4 Corvette C7.R drivers and crews again demonstrated their ‘never-give-up attitude with strong runs that netted them fourth and fifth finishing positions despite numerous challenges during the race,” Campbell added. “It was a total team effort focusing on maximizing their opportunity for good finishes and championship points.”
Corvette DP: Fuel Strategy Wins Out for Action Express Racing
The race both started well and ended well for Action Express Racing. Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Corvette DP led from the outset, going from fourth at the start to first after the first two corners. At the end, Fittipaldi and Barbosa added an Indianapolis victory to go with their season-opening triumph in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Michael Valiante and Richard Westbrook made it two Corvette DPs on the podium. They were third in the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Racing entry. Through eight races, Corvette DPs have been on the class podium 14 times.
The result increased Chevrolet’s lead in the Prototype engine manufacturer championship. Fittipaldi and Barbosa also moved back into the lead of the driver’s standings ahead of Wayne Taylor Racing’s Jordan Taylor and Ricky Taylor, who teamed to finish fourth.
GTLM: Fourth and Fifth in First Visit
Antonio Garcia and fellow class championship leader Jan Magnussen saw their four-race winning streak in the TUDOR Championship’s GT Le Mans (GTLM) class come to an end with a fourth-place finish. Magnussen in the No. 3 Corvette C7.R was running in the top-five early before he was hit by a slower car and spun just past the 20-minute mark.
After dropping back to 10th after the collision, Magnussen worked his back up to third before handing off to Garcia with 53 minutes left. The Spaniard was able to maneuver around Oliver Gavin in the No. 4 Corvette for fourth in the closing minutes.
Gavin and Tommy Milner went from 10th in class at the start to finish fifth. It was the best result for the duo in the No. 4 Corvette C7.R since a third-place showing at Long Beach in April. Milner gained four spots in the first 10 laps and held a steady pace throughout.
Garcia and Magnussen maintained their lead in the GTLM driver’s championship, as did Chevrolet in the auto manufacturer standings.
The next round of the TUDOR Championship is set for Sunday, Aug. 10 from Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.
JOAO BARBOSA, NO. 5 ACTION EXPRESS RACING CORVETTE DP
“I was saving fuel the whole time once I go in the car. We knew that would be the difference between one less pit stop at the end. That proved to be just a perfect decision. I was struggling a little bit in the beginning. It was hard to keep the other cars behind me. I was able to keep a good pace. The Corvette DP was awesome. Action Express did an excellent strategy, excellent pit stops and gave me the lead at the end for the last hour. I was able to manage the fuel consumption, the traffic, avoid mistakes and bring it home. I am very proud of winning at Indy with such a great bunch of guys at Action Express. It is awesome to win here – such a great place with such great history. To win Daytona and Indy in the same year – what an unbelievable achievement and feeling.”
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, NO. 5 ACTION EXPRESS RACING CORVETTE DP
“It was definitely a smart, exciting race. Action Express gave me a very, very good car. We had the consistency; we had the speed throughout the race. I just had to keep it cool at the beginning of the race for my stint. I had to push but couldn’t afford to make any mistakes. Obviously Joao went out for a longer stint, and he did an excellent job, and he brought it home. We are really, really happy. This took a monkey off of our back, like we were knocking at the door a couple of times. I don’t know what to say. It is fantastic And I think we are unofficially back in P1 in the points right now. It couldn’t have been better.”
MICHAEL VALIANTE, NO. 90 SPIRIT OF DAYTONA CORVETTE DP
“We came here not with a great car, and the team did a fantastic job making as many gains as we could before the race. We were close. Richard and I talked and wanted to make sure we got on the podium today because we didn’t think we had the car to win. We achieved that goal, but we are going to have to roll off the truck better the next couple of rounds if we want to contend for a championship. We have a four-race streak going, but we want to be back on top.”
RICHARD WESTBROOK, NO. 90 SPIRIT OF DAYTONA CORVETTE DP
“We are just keeping this incredible run going. Since Detroit, we’ve been on the podium – second, first, second and now third. That is where we need to be if we want to be vying for the championship. That is our goal now. So yes, I am pretty happy. It would have been nice to have a bit more pace. We’ll come after them at Road America. It was so close at the end. It was a tough one, but it has been a good Indy for us compared to last year. It is just 200 percent better.”
JIM LUTZ, CORVETTE DAYTONA PROTOTYPE PROGRAM MANAGER
“Congratulations to Action Express Racing, Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi on their second victory of the season. It took a terrific team effort by the drivers, engineers and crew to put the Corvette Daytona Prototype in Victory Circle both at Daytona and now at Indianapolis. Having two Corvette DPs on the podium here is no small feat. More importantly, Chevrolet was able to extend its engine manufacturer points lead heading to Road America.”
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“Who knows… (without the contact) we may could have fought for the podium at the end. We’ve been fighting really hard the whole season to be up there. We were not necessarily the fastest but we did it by being smart. Today we had probably the slowest car out there and still managed to place fourth and fifth. I hope there will be a time where there will be a Corvette fight like we had except for P1 and P2. It was fun and really good but would be even better if it was for a win.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“It was such a shame about the contact out there. I’m not sure what happened. I think the guy on the inside lost it and hit me, and spun me around. Up until then, the car was pretty decent. We were fighting with everybody. Traffic was really bad out there. It is really, really hard to do anything other than follow the guy ahead. I don’t know if the car got damage, but it seemed we lost a little bit after the contact. We’ll have to maximize our points score today. Hopefully we will have a better race at Road America.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“I think we’re gaining on the car. Chuck Houghton (No. 4 engineer) worked pretty hard on that overnight. Tommy drove a great first stint. It was pretty crazy there especially when Jan spun around, there was a lot of smoke everywhere and Tommy did a great job of missing that. When I got in, we knew it was going to be tough to the end fighting with Antonio. I had a little bit of a braking issue. I got balked up in traffic too on one lap and Antonio got by. This track makes for hectic and crazy racing. Both our cars finished with plenty of bumps and scraped. We certainly made some progress and it was good to get a good, solid fifth place with no problems. Onward to Road America to see what we can get there.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“That was a long stint but a lot of fun. Sometimes you are in the car for a long time, whatever that was, and you are racing nobody or anything, and it is boring. But that was the complete opposite of boring. That was chaos. It was just madness on the race track everywhere…every lap. There may have been three or four laps total that I did that were very calm. But it was a lot of fun. The car felt good, so the guys did a great job getting the car to where it needed to be for the race.”