Antonio Garcia, class pole-winner Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller placed third in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) category with their No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXMChevroletCorvette C7.R. It is the second Rolex 24 podium for the trio after they finished second two years ago, and it gives Garcia and Magnussen positive momentum as they seek to defend their GTLM Driver Championship from last year.
Chevrolet and the Corvette Racing team swept the GTLM Manufacturer, Driver and Team titles for the second straight year in 2017. Sunday’s results laid the groundwork for another strong challenge for the IMSA season.
In the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXMChevroletCorvette C7.R, the trio of Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Marcel Fässler placed fourth and had a similarly clean run throughout Saturday and Sunday. Either Corvette Racing entry likely would have claimed victory in any other season, given that neither Corvette went off-track or made a mistake. It’s a hallmark of the program, which has won 106 races around the world, 12 Manufacturer and Team championships, and 11 Driver titles during its years in IMSA.
“I think we can be happy. We again didn’t make any mistakes by the drivers, the pit stops were fine… we may have had an unscheduled stop for brakes. Other than that, everything worked perfect. We just didn’t have the pace. It was a little bit like what happened a lot last year. If this was Lime Rock, I’d be super happy with third. But here at Daytona or Le Mans, you only want to win. That’s part of our driver mentality… we want to win these races. But we can be proud. Our guys did a fantastic job. We showed all we had and gave it all. If the Fords were faster than us, we can’t do anything else but congratulate them. We just didn’t have enough to fight them, especially with the limited number of yellow flags.”
“This year’s race was a lot difference than previous years because of the lack of safety car periods. Usually, you had to get the car right for the last three or four hours, and then in the last hour you had to nail it. This year, you had to push the whole way. By the end of it, we didn’t have enough, which is a shame because we ran a good race. We didn’t go throughout any issues but we didn’t hit anything and the car is in one piece. We ran out of brakes at the end because we were pushing the whole way through. So that’s something we’ll have to look into. It’s the most physical Rolex 24 I’ve ever done. I didn’t do one stint behind the safety car. I think I did 10 stints and every one of them was full-on. We’ll go back, look at everything and get ready for Sebring.”
“At the end, we had quite a good race. We just didn’t have enough in our Corvettes to win today, but that is racing. In the end, we showed very strong performance… the car, the crew and the engineers. The car stayed in one piece and we had no technical problems. We’ll attack again next time and try to win at Sebring. This is a great start for Corvette Racing in the points, but there is a small disappointment because we wanted to win again.”
“Today was tough… hard, demanding. But the team never, ever gave up. They always had a plan and a strategy to try and get us back to the front. We worked through any problem we had. We didn’t have a completely faultless race; there were some issues and problems we had to work through. But that is what this team is fantastic at – working through the problems. Yes, we got fourth place today but that’s great points for us. Last year we finished ninth here, and it wasn’t a particularly good start for us. But this year we have good fourth place points. It gets us a good start in the championship. That’s positive. We are now moving ahead to Sebring. That race is another classic and another gem in the endurance racing crown. We are looking forward to that. But 24-hour races are tough; they are brutal. And today’s was just another one of those. I was surprised that there were only four cautions throughout the entire race. That was really, really surprising. So this was a good, solid fourth place to the team. Good points and we will move on to Sebring.”
“What an incredible race. I guess this race set every record for distance traveled and laps completed with really no big issues for us whatsoever. We can be really proud as a team. The cars were faultless. Just missing that little bit of pace and when you don’t have that many cautions, you can see the gap to the winners. Congratulations to those guys, You could see they had a great race. For us at Corvette Racing starting our 20th year in competition… no better way to start the season by getting both cars to the finish with no problems and no issues. That’s really impressive.”
“This was really pretty awesome. The race kept me very busy during the night with the rain because it was actually quite difficult to judge how much standing water there is. I had a big moment once in the oval when I was close to spinning as a result of hydroplaning, but somehow I was able to manage it. At the end of the day we had no mistakes; we did everything right. But I have to say we just didn’t have the pace of our opposition unfortunately. This race is normally known for a lot of cautions. There were hardly any this weekend so that didn’t allow us to have the opportunity to put pressure on the top two cars. I think we can still be happy and proud of the work we have done. There were no mistakes, the strategy had everything right, but it didn’t pay off. Now we are looking forward to Sebring with good points.”