(this article was written by Randall Shinn and originally published at corvetteracing.com)
CORVETTE RACING AT SEBRING: Seeking to Conquer the Bumps Once Again
Team going for 12th class victory since 1999 at Twelve Hours of Sebring
- Corvette Racing a winner at Sebring each of last three seasons
- Garcia, Magnussen, Rockenfeller defending GTLM winners
- Gavin, Milner, Fässler took class victory in 2016
- 200th event all-time for Corvette Racing
- Chevrolet nearing 40 class victories in Sebring 12 Hours
In its 19-plus years of competition, Corvette Racing has racked up more victories than any team in IMSA history. Those 98 victories have come on some of America’s classic road courses with 11 at the famed Sebring International Raceway. That’s where Corvette Racing returns for the 20th time in search of a fourth consecutive victory in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
This year’s running will be 20th straight appearance at Sebring for Corvette Racing – an odyssey that covers more than 11,000 laps and 40,000 miles and three generations of Corvette race cars. The team will add to that total when it fields its two Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs in the 66th annual running of America’s oldest sports car race. The 12 Hours is the second race of the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. It also is the 200th event all-time for Corvette Racing.
Sebring success has come often for Corvette Racing with all 11 of its victories have come in the last 16 years. The roster of drivers – Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette C7.R; and Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Marcel Fässler in the No. 4 Corvette – have combined for 19 victories in the 12 Hours.
Corvette Racing is on a three-race GT Le Mans (GTLM) class win streak at Sebring, and another victory this weekend will mark the second time that the program has scored four straight class victories… the last coming from 2006-09. The team also won three in a row from 2002-04. It extended Chevrolet’s record to 38 Sebring victories for the brand.
The two Corvettes and Chevrolet sit second in the GTLM Championship following the first race of the year. Garcia, Magnussen and Rockenfeller finished third in January’s Rolex 24 At Daytona with Gavin, Milner and Fässler in fourth. Both Corvettes ran flawless races – doing so again will go a long way to making it a dozen Sebring wins.
Chevrolet, Corvette on Display at Sebring
This year’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring will again feature a heavy dose of Chevrolet – the official vehicle of Sebring International Raceway. In addition to the two Corvette C7.Rs, the field also will include a Chevrolet Corvette Z06 that will serve as the event pace car. The Corvette C7.R and production Corvette Z06 represent the closet link between race car and street car with the two sharing a common aluminum chassis, engine technology and aerodynamic strategies.
In the Sebring Midway, the Corvette Racing Display is a must-see for any fan. A number of vehicles will be on-site for visitors to view and learn about, including the new Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 – a supercar that establishes a new standard at Chevrolet for power output, track performance and technology. As an added bonus, Chevrolet Corvette Product Manager Harlan Charles will give fans a walk-around of the Corvette ZR1 at 3:30 p.m. Friday at the Corvette Racing Display.
Also among the lineup of Chevrolets at the Display include:
- Performance models such as the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, Camaro GT4.R and Colorado ZR2.
- Production vehicles like the Traverse High Country, Silverado 2500 HD High Country and premier models of the Cruze, Malibu and Equinox.
- A Corvette C7.R show car
- Samples of Chevrolet engines, performance parts and accessories available to fans for purchase from their local Chevrolet dealer
- A variety of Chevrolet and racing related activities for adults and kids
- Commemorative Corvette Racing 20th Season t-shirts for fans who sign up with Corvette Racing.
The Corvette Racing Display will be open at 9 a.m. on Thursday, and 8 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Fans at Sebring also can get behind the wheel of select Chevrolet vehicles at the Chevrolet Ride & Drive located at the Sebring skidpad near the drive-over bridge on the outside of the track. Vehicles available include Corvette, Camaro, Bolt EV, Equinox, Silverado and Traverse.
The Ride & Drive opens at 9 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
The 66th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Advance Auto Parts is the second race of the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season and begins at 10:40 a.m. ET on Saturday, March 17. It will air live on FOX Sports 1 starting at 10:30 a.m. ET with additional coverage across FOX Sports 2, FOX Sports Go and IMSA.com. Live audio coverage of practice, qualifying and the race from IMSA Radio is available on IMSA.com.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “Winning at Sebring last year was a big reason we won the GTLM championship. Everything came together late in the race – our performance, strategy and execution. That carried over for the rest of the year. We did it again at Daytona this season and ran a perfect race but had no chance at a victory. So we know how difficult it will be to win Sebring again. What we may lack in performance we make up in experience at data at Sebring. I hope that gives us an edge.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “It’s such a cool event. The track is very challenging, but there is a great party going on all around. The first thing that comes to my mind is the atmosphere of Sebring. It’s a cool place – from Wednesday when campers start coming in until the end of the race. It’s great.
“The car gets unsettled all the time around Sebring. There are always a bump or two on entry or mid-corner of nearly all the corners. There are some very fast ones at Sebring. It makes it a huge challenge, but it’s fun. It’s a fantastic feeling when you get it right. That’s what you aim for.”
MIKE ROCKENFELLER, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “Winning at Sebring last year was very special. It’s a great accomplishment when you are able to say you have won the 12 Hours. So many great names are Sebring winners, and I am honored to be part of that collection. Last year’s race showed how unpredictable Sebring can be. Corvette Racing did another fantastic job with the strategy and our race plan to put us in the best position to win. We did the same at Daytona and ran a perfect race, but ultimately that wasn’t enough. Hopefully we can do it again at Sebring.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “Sebring for so many years was the start of our racing season. Now we have the Rolex 24 At Daytona, but physically Sebring is much harder. The physicality of the track, speed of the circuit and how the race unfolds is a big challenge. It’s the night, the lights, the bumps into Turn 17 and Turn One, braking for Turn Three, seeing where the sand comes on the track at turns Five and Seven… Turn 17 is one of the craziest and hardest corners on any track in the U.S. It’s a wide ride and that really sums up the Sebring circuit. You feel like you are on a bucking bronco the whole time and are trying at times to hang on a bit.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “It seems like it has been all or nothing at Sebring the last few years for us in the No. 4 Corvette. We’ve had some really good races there like 2013 and 2016, and we’ve had years that didn’t go so well. After Daytona, I think we can feel good about where we are. Both cars had excellent runs with no mistakes. We also had a good test last month at Sebring to fine-tune some items we need to improve on. Given that and our extensive notebook of data plus our history at Sebring, we can feel confident going into this race.”
MARCEL FÄSSLER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “It is helpful to get as much time as possible at Sebring, so I’m glad we have a positive test there last month. You cannot simulate a lap around Sebring anywhere in the world. To me, that is one of the things which makes this race challenging and enjoyable. Our goal for sure is to return to the Winner’s Circle at Sebring and position Corvette Racing high in the championship. We started well in Daytona so expect to do the same here.”
DOUG FEHAN, CORVETTE RACING PROGRAM MANAGER: “Sebring is never an easy place to find victory. It has a little bit of everything – long straights, really fast corners, a crushingly slow hairpin, hard braking zones, bumps and even potholes, sometimes. With that said, I don’t think there are many places where we have more fun competing, mainly because anything can happen… and most of the time it does. Rest assured, we have done our usual great job of preparing our Corvette C7.Rs and will squeeze out every bit of performance that we can. I know the entire team is looking forward to seeing all our favorite Sebring fans once again. And who knows, maybe we can make it FOUR in a row!”