CORVETTE RACING AT LAGUNA SECA: Gearing Up For Monterey Repeat
Riding high after first victory for Corvette C7.R at Long Beach
· Magnussen, Garcia aiming for repeat of 2013 victory
· Gavin, Milner were winners in 2012 GT race
· Final TUDOR Championship race before 24 Hours of Le Mans
DETROIT (April 29, 2014) – Fresh of its first victory of 2014 with the new Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, Corvette Racing heads back to California where it looks to win for the third straight season at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The two-hour Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix is the fourth round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, and Corvette Racing looks to keep rolling as well as moving up in the GT Le Mans standings.
A victory near the picturesque Monterey, Calif., coastline would continue that nicely. Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen in the No. 3 Corvette led the charge at Long Beach with a wire-to-wire victory while Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner were third in the No. 4 C7.R. The driver pairings remain the same for Monterey, which plays host to the TUDOR Championship for a two-hour race starting at 2:45 p.m. PT on Sunday. And like Long Beach, the GTLM class will race together with the lead Prototype category.
Like many other places on the TUDOR Championship schedule, Laguna Seca has witnessed its share of Corvette Racing highlights. The team has six victories at the track since 2004, five pole positions – including three straight by Magnussen from 2007-09 – and seven fastest race laps.
Laguna Seca also is where the Corvette C7.R broke cover in public during last year’s Monterey Historic Festival weekend. Milner drove the new racecar – in camouflaged livery at the time – for a couple of laps. This time around, it’s a safe bet the C7.R will be traveling quicker and more aggressive around the circuit.
Success is difficult to come by there, however. The climate in the Monterey area is notorious for changing often throughout a weekend. Track temperatures can rise and fall suddenly, and sand frequently blows onto the circuit – both can create slick and slippery surface conditions. As a result, handling and stability will be at a premium. That should play into the hands of Corvette Racing given the construction of the Corvette C7.R.
Based on the 2015 Corvette Z06 production car, the C7.R’s rigid frame gives the car improved cornering ability and stability. Those factors plus the Corvette’s impressive braking performance and tire management will be key to the team’s success this weekend.
Live television coverage of the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix starts at 5:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.
The TUDOR Championship is the result of a merger between the ALMS and GRAND-AM’s Rolex Sports Car Series. Corvette Racing will compete in 11 races around North America plus the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Corvette Racing Display: For the Fans in Monterey
As if the on-track action at Laguna Seca isn’t enough for fans, the Corvette Racing display will have a number of activities and vehicles for spectators to take in, including:
Production vehicles such as the North American Truck of the Year, the Chevrolet Silverado, as well as the Camaro, Sonic and Impala.
Showcars on location include a Corvette C7.R, and both a Corvette Stingray coupe and convertible, the North American Car of the Year.
Fans can see a sample of engines, parts and accessories available for purchase from Chevrolet at their local Chevrolet dealer.
Other activities at the Corvette Racing Display include a variety of interactive games for adults and kids.
Fans who sign up with Corvette Racing will receive a special commemorative t-shirt.
The Corvette Racing display opens 9 a.m. Friday and 8 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
(Race outlook) “We are going back to Laguna with a different format; the last three years I ran there in long-distance races. Last year was especially close – mostly because of the yellows – but at the end it was a big win for us. It was the first win of the year for the No. 3 car and where things started to turn in our favor for the championship. Between Jan, myself and the whole No. 3 Corvette team, we’ve always felt pretty confident at Laguna Seca. No one is exactly sure how the new Corvette C7.R will work there, but there is no reason to think it won’t work better than the C6.R. The other manufacturers will be strong so we need to keep performing the way we have this season – especially the way we did at Long Beach.”
(Keys to success) “Laguna is always very difficult to approach because you never know the temperature and how the tires are going to work. It can be a really cold race or a race with very nice temperatures. It will be very important to anticipate that in order to make the car work. The track is a little narrow so you really need to make the tires work otherwise there is a point where you can struggle quite a bit.
“It will be a shorter race but also a two-category race. So that means things may be very clean. As a result, it is very important to keep in touch with the lead car… if it’s not us. It could be another race like Long Beach with no yellows. Personally, I’d very happy to run another race like that where we led from Lap 1 with no yellows!”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
(Track impressions) “Laguna Seca is one of my absolute favorite tracks. I’ve always enjoyed driving there and it’s in a fantastic area. The track is very interesting. The layout suits the Corvette and suits my driving style. It’s always a great feeling driving there. We have had some success there in the past. Last year, we won the race and it was what really kicked off our championship run. I’m looking forward to another good result. It would be nice to back up the Long Beach win with another one at Laguna Seca.”
(Last year’s race) “The thing that stands out is that while Antonio was in the lead for all of his stint, the rest of us on the No. 3 car were sitting there thinking what was going to go wrong. We had been so close to winning races in 2012 and the smallest mistakes cost us wins. It wasn’t really until the car crossed the line that we accepted we had won the race! We were so used to losing it in different ways. So that was fantastic and really started our championship run. It proved to everyone that our car could win. It was the first win for Antonio and me. Hopefully we can have another great race with a bunch of points and maybe another win.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
(Track thoughts) “Laguna Seca is a great race track. It’s one of the premier tracks in the U.S., and one that everyone enjoys going to. It’s a great part of the world, and the layout is a unique one. It’s a challenge to get a good lap together there. Generally it’s a low-grip surface and you can be punished for mistakes. But it is a circuit that has a great flow to it and one that you get a lot of satisfaction driving around.
(The past and present) In the last few years – particularly with the GT car – Corvette Racing has been very competitive there. The No. 3 car won there last year, and Tommy (Milner) and I won there the year before. It seems that whatever setup we land upon seems to one that work well there. Our car is solid on the brakes and seems to rotate in and to the apex of the corners, and we can bear down on the apexes pretty well in most of the medium- and slow-speed corners. It just seems that our car can work efficiently there and I can see that the C7.R is strong in all those departments. We’ve improved the traction with the new car, and all of those things should help us going back to Laguna. I’m buoyed by our performances in all three events we’ve done so far in the TUDOR Cha
mpionship. We have a fantastic car in the C7.R, and I feel that right now we can fight with everyone for the victory. That’s a great position to be in. We are in a nice spot where we can attack and hope to come away with great results.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
(Progress so far) “I’m not surprised that we had good results at Long Beach. We saw in all the testing and racing during the first few events that the Corvette C7.R was quick and competitive. Each time we go to a track this season, it’s the first time there with the C7.R, but there is still lots of carryover from years past and a wealth of knowledge that we can pull from. Judging from how the car has performed, we should be extremely competitive at Laguna.”
(Rolling out the C7.R last summer in Monterey) “That was obviously something that was pretty cool. It was my first experience sitting in the car. It’s great to now go back there with the race car. The two laps I did at the Historics were not really in anger… I was very conscious of the fact that I needed to be sure that nothing went wrong! It’s exciting to go back to Laguna where the public first saw the car. It would be great to win there, and it would be even better if it were Oliver and I to get a victory this time!”
(Laguna preparations) “Laguna is definitely tough in regards to tire wear and balance of the car. There’s not as much sand as there used to be that comes on the track but there is still quite a bit. The track has definitely improved that by putting curbing in certain areas which makes it difficult to bring sand on the circuit. But it’s definitely a prominent feature of the track. Laguna is a place that if you don’t have the balance of the car spot on, you’ll suffer throughout a stint. Getting the setup spot-on is pretty important. So far this year, we’ve rolled off the truck with cars that have been pretty well-balanced. I’m optimistic that it won’t be a problem for us. Depending on how our pace is compared to our competitors, you work that much harder to find any advantage. The schedule is pretty compressed so it’s important for the guys back at the Corvette Racing shop to make sure they get the balance as good as it can possibly be so we can fine-tune things in practice instead of swinging wildly at it.”
DOUG FEHAN, CORVETTE RACING PROGRAM MANAGER
“It’s always great to return to the Monterey Peninsula, especially coming off our well-deserved victory at Long Beach. Laguna Seca is one of the sport’s iconic venues and a place where Corvette Racing has a long history of success. To win there requires a car with great braking and handling along with proper tire selection, pit stop execution and good track management by the drivers. I think the C7.R, the crew and our drivers have clearly demonstrated all those capabilities in the first three events this season. Combine all that and it should make for another exciting weekend of racing for all our Corvette fans!”