CORVETTE RACING AT DAYTONA: Six-Hour Update
No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R among the GTLM leaders; No. 4 Corvette encounters trouble
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 26, 2017) – Corvette Racing’s No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R was among the leaders in a rapidly changing Rolex 24 At Daytona after six hours of the opening race of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Mike Rockenfeller stood fourth in GT Le Mans (GTLM) in the No. 3 Corvette as rain began pelting Daytona International Speedway. Teammates Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia each drove solid triple-stints to move the Corvette from seventh at the start to as high as second in class.
The cold temperatures and light rain played havoc with tire selections near the quarter mark of the event – one that Corvette Racing is attempting to win for the third season in a row.
The No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette C7.R, the class-winner in 2016, was 10th in class after it lost power with Marcel Fässler at the wheel just shy of six hours. That happened only a few laps after Fässler, driving with fellow defending class winners Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner, was hit from behind by Harry Ticknell while running third in class behind Garcia.
After stopping on track, the No. 4 Corvette came back to the garage where the crew changed the power controller. Shortly after returning to competition with Gavin at the wheel, the Corvette had to pit with a broken lower control arm – presumably from the earlier contact. It was 13 laps down at the six-hour mark.
The Rolex 24 was the site of Corvette Racing’s debut on Jan. 31, 1999. Since that first race, the team has competed in more than 170 events around the globe with 102 victories worldwide – including five wins in 2016 that led to a sweep of IMSA GTLM Manufacturer’s, Driver’s and Team championships for a total of 11 Manufacturer titles for Chevrolet.
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R “That was a good start to the race. At the moment we are trying to find out in what direction the balance is going to go. Right now I quite like this Corvette. We aren’t quite as fast as a couple of our competitors. But we have a good race car and we are being safe. In another 18 hours the real race starts so we are being smart and safe, and making good decisions.”
(You’re feel pretty good considering you started with a triple stint?) “I felt fine. I thought I was doubling but they asked me if I could do another and I felt good. This was a great way to get going. I’m warm now!”
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – QUALIFIED SEVENTH IN GTLM: “It wasn’t bad. We are lacking some pace. Whenever the faster cars decide to go, then they go. But this isn’t all about pace; traffic also plays a role. That’s why I was out there fighting so hard with the leader. We may be missing a little pace but with the rain who knows. We don’t know how the track will develop. We need to stay out there and not make mistakes. If we are still lacking pace later, we can try something different to get up there. But I think it will be another classic Daytona. No one will know how it ends up until the end of the race. We hope to be up there.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “The first lap, as it always is here, was difficult to weigh the risks of looking to pass someone, shooting a gap with so many cars. You try to weigh the risks. It was a good first couple of laps. I was able to pass a couple of cars and it seemed to go backward and forward. The Fords looked slow in starting. Maybe their tires seem to take a bit to come up. Then it was a stint-long battle between one of the Porsches and the 67 Ford with Jan just in front of them. We went back and forth a little. With three or four laps from the end, I managed to get past Richard (Westbrook) in the 67. Overall it was a good first stint. I was pleased to get it done and out of the way. I don’t feel too bad myself, get some rest and pace myself a bit through the race. It’s gone well so far and these are positive signs for later in the race.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “The car has been the best it’s been all weekend. So far the balance on the Corvette has been really good and so has the grip in the Michelin tires. This team excels in consistency and teamwork and strategy, and those are three key things you need to win the race.”
(The temperatures have come down in practice. Has the grip come up?) “It seems that way for us. Certainly the car feels better with more grip. Unfortunately all our competitors are on Michelins so it seems like they have picked up their pace as well. There are a couple of small things we can do with tire pressures and things like that make our cars quicker. We seem to be quite good in the draft, so if we can get up with the leaders then we can hang with them. That’s all you can ask for. We’re definitely close enough now while we weren’t in practice. We have an idea where we stand now. For us, there’s no reason for us to push. You can push to gain a couple of tenths but you eventually lose those anyway. We are more concerned with having a good Corvette at the end of the race.”