CORVETTE RACING AT LONG BEACH: Victory for Gavin, Milner in No. 4 Corvette
LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 8, 2017) – Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner won the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class at Saturday’s Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix of Long Beach in the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. It is the sixth class win for the team and Chevrolet at the historic Long Beach street circuit.
Gavin won for the fourth time at Long Beach, and the victory was Milner’s second at the event. They won together in 2012, and on Saturday came from sixth at the start to record a surprising but rewarding victory in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
“After a hard-fought battle, it was rewarding to see Tommy Milner roll the No. 4 Corvette C7.R into Victory Lane today at Long Beach,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. Vice President, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “Tommy and Oliver Gavin overcame adversity early in the race to be there at the end to capture the win.”
Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen, coming off a GTLM victory at Sebring three weeks ago, placed fifth in class Saturday with their No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. Garcia seemed headed for certain victory until a multi-car incident at the final turn blocked the track and brought a handful of cars to a stop – including both Corvettes. Garcia became trapped on the left-hand side of the track while Milner, on the right-hand side, was able to slip through the traffic jam and won by 1.830 seconds.
The two Corvettes found themselves running 1-2 in class with 10 minutes left despite different race strategies. Magnussen was caught up in an opening-lap incident and suffered damage to the front of the No. 3 Corvette C7.R. Garcia drove the final 78 minutes on the same set of Michelin tires and tank of fuel, aided by five full-course caution periods.
Gavin drove the first 42 minutes in the No. 4 Corvette before handing off to Milner. Not long after Milner left the pitlane, an incident – similar to the once that impacted the race’s finish – blocked the final turn with Milner stuck in the outside lane. Nearly an hour later, he found himself approaching the same situation but chose to take the inside line. As it turned out, it again was the lane that was able to clear the pileup.
“While the outcome of the late local caution was frustrating, it is the never-give-up attitude of everyone at Corvette Racing that continues to result in these exciting races and finishes,” Campbell said. “We had two strong race cars today and look forward to the next race at COTA.”
The next race for Corvette Racing is the Advance Auto Parts SportsCar Showdown on May 4-6 from Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas. FOX Sports 1 will air the race at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 6. Live coverage will be available on FOX Sports Go with live audio coverage from IMSA Radio is available on IMSA.com.
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – GTLM RACE WINNER: “This was a very bizarre day and finish. We will take this victory, and we’re glad that Corvette Racing and Chevrolet have won again at Long Beach. It was just a very unfortunate way that it worked out for Antonio and Jan. We’ve all raced together for so many years now. It’s definitely not the way Tommy and I would have liked to have won. But at the end of the day, a victory is a victory. The good thing for Tommy and I is that it has gotten us back in a good direction heading to COTA for the next round.
“The start was pretty interesting. Coming down into Turn One, it looked like Jan had been jumped by a couple of cars. On first laps here, you’re always looking to see who has their tires up to temperatures, who is using a little bit of extra road and who is taking chances. When I came to Turn Five, the Patron car was already backward going over the apex curb. Knowing that the camber falls away, I knew everyone would be going outside and into the wall. Three of us managed to avoid any contact and got through. From there, it was a lot of insane racing. “Yes it’s a 100-minute race but some people were trying to win it with 75 or 80 minutes left. My goal was to keep the Corvette clean and hand it off to Tommy at the appropriate point whenever the team called us in. We managed to do that and our crew managed to get us out and in front of the cars we felt we were racing. Even past that point, the race kept getting turned on its head. You never knew which way it was going to go.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – GTLM RACE WINNER: “It was a weird race today for sure. There was a lot of giving and taking throughout the day. As for the finish, I’ve never seen things work out that way for me or anyone else for that matter. You feel bad for the No. 3 guys, for Antonio and Jan. They had a great race and did everything right. It was just unlucky to lose it that way in a big pack. You need luck in racing sometimes, and today we had that on our side. It feels good for us to get a win and to get points for our No. 4 Corvette and Chevrolet.
“We were a bit behind at one point and it didn’t look like our strategy would play out for us. All those cautions allowed the cars who pitted early could make it on one stop for fuel. Our hope was to get past them if they had to make a late splash for fuel. That didn’t happen. I was hoping for another yellow to get us bunched back up again, which is what happened. I had 13- or 14-lap newer tires and I was able to get around the 24 and I went door-to-door with the 67. That allowed Antonio to get out in the clear, and then so was I. He was quick but then his tires started to go away. In that situation, getting by him was going to be really tough.
“In the last corner at the end, my first reaction was that the race was over. Antonio had a gap over me and also over the 67. I figured it would end up like that but I heard on the radio that there was another crash at the hairpin. At first the track was clear and then it wasn’t. I was in that exact situation earlier in the race and went to the outside; it didn’t work and I lost a spot there. I went to the inside this time, and it opened up. When I got out of the hairpin, I saw green but thought the race was over until they told me on the radio that we had won. It was definitely an unusual way to take a victory. Now we have to regroup as a team and get ready for the next race at COTA.”
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED FIFTH IN GTLM: “I’ve never been part of a finish like that. It’s for sure very difficult to go through; I’m very confused with how the officials judged both incidents in the last corner. Our No. 3 Corvette team did everything we needed to do in order to have the best chance at another victory. I don’t understand the ending and unfortunately for us the results are what they are. All we can do is put ourselves in position to go for a win the next race in Austin.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED FIFTH IN GTLM: “The start was unfortunate. I didn’t get a good getaway. I kind of got swamped going into Turn One. Then I was just in the wrong place going in to Turn Five when the Ferrari got it wrong with one of the prototype. I got caught in all of that and set put us back. We were on a different strategy from there. Our team did a fantastic job. It just an unsatisfying result.”