Second-place finish moves No. 3 Corvette into GTLM points lead for first time in 2018
DANVILLE, Virginia (Aug. 19, 2018) – Corvette Racing’s Jan Magnussen and Antonio García moved into the lead of the GT Le Mans (GTLM) Driver’s Championship for the first time this season following Sunday’s Michelin GT Challenge at Virginia International Raceway for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Magnussen and García placed second in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R – their fourth runner-up finish in five races and seventh podium result of the season. The defending GTLM champions provisionally lead the championship by four points with two races remaining.
Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner placed sixth in the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R as their race came undone just as it started. Milner started the race seventh but was sent off track from contact with another GTLM car on the first lap. He was able to continue but the Corvette suffered damage at the front-right, which impacted the car’s performance.
Milner drove the first 57 minutes before handing off to Gavin, who reported similar struggles in his nearly 50-minute run. He swapped out to Milner for the final stint with the native Virginian able to set some of his best lap times toward the end as he began catching the fourth- and fifth-place cars before time ran out.
García began his race fourth and drove the opening 55 minutes nursing a knee injury. Magnussen took over and drove the final two stints in a marathon effort. He made two stops – one for fuel only during the race’s lone full-course caution period with 90 minutes left and another for fuel and Michelin tires with 52 minutes to go.
The final stop was critical in that the Corvette Racing crew got him out ahead of one of his championship contenders who had pitted two laps earlier to hold on to second place and valuable points. It was a fight to the end with Magnussen driving as hard as he could for the closing stint.
Corvette Racing’s next event is Sept. 7-9 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
ANTONIO GARCÍA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED SECOND: “Another second, which isn’t exactly what we were looking for. But in the end we’re keeping on with more and more points toward the championship. I’m happy with the race and happy with how Jan drove. The injury was unfortunate but I was able to do an hour and then gave it over to Jan for the biggest part of the race. It was really tough and very warm for him, and he drove great. We have the lead in the championship now, so let’s see if we can maintain that.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – FINISHED SECOND: “That was a tough race because of the heat. We had planned on doing two drivers changes, but with a mishap before the race we didn’t want to risk putting Antonio back in so he can be ready for the rest of the season. So I stayed in. It was just a tough race. Our car was good. The hardest thing was just after the safety car when we didn’t stop. I had so much pickup on the tires and I couldn’t get the car going no matter what I did. Traffic destroyed our chance to get the BMW, so it was a matter then of keeping second place. And that was hard work. That was as fast as I could go every single lap trying to find every little bit of road. It feels really risky when we do it because it’s a lot of points if you finish third. It’s nice that it worked out the way it did. But we want to win. It’s been almost a year since we won a race, and that’s wrong! We have six podiums in a row and the championship lead with two races left – a normal race and a long race. A lot can happen. Four points is nothing, but it’s better than being four points behind!