Fittipaldi, Barbosa claim TUDOR Prototype title; Chevrolet is Manufacturer champion
No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP takes Prototype Team title
Action Express, Chevrolet also capture North American Endurance Cup championships
Gavin, Milner lead Corvette Racing GTLM efforts with fourth-place finish
BRASELTON, Ga. – Saturday was a landmark day for the Corvette Daytona Prototype program as Action Express Racing and Chevrolet clinched TUDOR United SportsCar Championship’s Prototype titles, and Wayne Taylor Racing’s Jordan Taylor, Ricky Taylor and Max Angelelli won the 10-hour Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in their No. 10 Corvette DP.
Jordan Taylor took the checkered flag 11.062 seconds ahead of Joao Barbosa, driving the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP. Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi – who drove with Sebastien Bourdais – had plenty to celebrate. The pairing shared the TUDOR Championship’s Prototype Driver’s title, and the No. 5 Action Express Corvette DP took the inaugural Team championship.
Additionally Chevrolet, Barbosa and Fittipaldi, and the No. 5 Action Express entry claimed the Manufacturer, Driver and Team titles in the Tequila PatrÃ³n North American Endurance Cup – a competition centering on the TUDOR Championship’s four long-distance rounds.
“Congratulations to Action Express Racing on a fantastic day at Road Atlanta along with a great 2014 season,” said Mark Kent, Chevrolet Director of Racing. “The team, along with their drivers Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi, recorded a clean sweep of the TUDOR Championships in the Prototype class by capturing both the Drivers and Team championships. They also captured the same awards in the Tequila PatrÃ³n North American Endurance Cup. These Championships are the result of the team consistently performing at the highest level throughout the season. Action Express Racing also contributed valuable manufacturers points towards Chevrolet’s Manufacturer title in the North American Endurance Cup.
“Also, congratulations to Wayne Taylor Racing’s Jordan Taylor, Ricky Taylor and Max Angelelli on their Petit Le Mans victory,” Kent added. “It’s a fitting accomplishment for the team as it competed in its milestone 100th race. It was a fantastic back-and-forth battle between Wayne Taylor Racing and Action Express Racing and to have Corvette DPs finish on the top two steps of the podium is a great way to close out the inaugural TUDOR Championship season.”
The Wayne Taylor Racing victory was a thrilling one that featured a back-and-forth battle between the No. 10 Corvette DP throughout the race’s second half. There were 22 lead changes with the Wayne Taylor Racing and Action Express Corvette DPs combining to lead the last 140 laps. The No. 10 Corvette DP led the final 64 laps and held on following a late splash for fuel with 34 minutes to go.
The victory came in the 100th event for Wayne Taylor Racing. It also came 16 years after team owner Wayne Taylor was the overall winning co-driver at the first Petit Le Mans in 1998. The Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP won two races in 2014; the championship-winning Action Express entry won three times.
Corvette Racing: Solid Run to Fourth-Place Finish
In GT Le Mans (GTLM), Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin posted one of their strongest showings of the year en route to a competitive fourth-place finish in the No. 4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. The pairing led four times in class before just missing the class podium.
It was a remarkable charge from a ninth-place qualifying effort. Milner picked up two spots at the start and never fell back further than seventh. By the two-and-a-half-hour mark, Gavin was in podium position. He led for the first time about an hour later.
The No. 3 Corvette C7.R of Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Ryan Briscoe placed eighth in GTLM after a promising start that saw Garcia lead at the end of his opening triple-stint. A quick stop for fuel and tires after the Spaniard’s second stint moved the No. 3 Corvette from fourth to first in class.
After Garcia’s third stint, Magnussen took over in the Corvette but disaster struck almost immediately. The leading group of GTLM cars left the pit lane at nearly the same time. But the pit exit was closed and a pile-up involving a Ferrari, a Porsche and Magnussen resulted in significant left-front damage to the No. 3 Corvette. By the time Magnussen came back around and the crew made its repairs, the car had lost four laps.
The 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season begins with the Roar Before The 24 on Jan. 9-11, 2015 from Daytona International Raceway. The first race is the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 24-25, 2015.
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, NO. 5 ACTION EXPRESS CORVETTE DAYTONA PROTOTYPE
ON CLINCHING THE DRIVER’S CHAMPIONSHIP: “It is a real pleasure. It is an honor to be part of this team – to be driving with Joao (Barbosa) all season. It couldn’t have been better. We are so relieved, and very, very happy. The No. 10 car (the Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype) was fast. In the first stint I did, he was a good amount better than us. The second stint I did, we closed the gap on him. And on the last stint I did, we were all the time right behind him. The car was just improving, improving all the time. We were making changes and definitely going in the right direction.”
JOAO BARBOSA, NO. 5 ACTION EXPRESS RACING CORVETTE DAYTONA PROTOTYPE
ON WINNING THE CHAMPIONSHIP: “It means a lot. We are the first champions in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. It’s unbelievable. This is a new era of sports car racing. It’s been great and I’m very proud to be a part of it. I couldn’t have done it without Action Express. Congratulations to them on their Team championship. It’s a tremendous group of guys. Everything has been great. I was super-conservative early with traffic. It’s very rough out there. We wanted to get the points and championship out of the way. We’re really proud of the support of Team Chevy, ECR Engines and Continental Tire.”
RICKY TAYLOR, NO. 10 WAYNE TAYLOR RACING CORVETTE DAYTONA PROTOTYPE, RACE WINNER
“It was a great way to finish the season. A great finish for Chevrolet for another one-two finish. Congratulations to the No. 5 car for the championship. We wish we were there to fight for the title win this weekend, but we will come back next year even stronger. We went from the lead the first half of the race, to a lap down, and back to the win. It was great.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 10 WAYNE TAYLOR RACING CORVETTE DAYTONA PROTOTYPE, RACE WINNER
“My dad (Wayne Taylor) won the first one (Petit Le Mans), so we have always heard about it. He always talks so highly of it and puts it up there with Le Mans and Sebring and Daytona as his overall wins. It was definitely cool to do it, especially with Max (Angelelli) with us. We had a great Daytona; we finished second there, so it is nice to close the season with a win and kind of doing it in dominant fashion where we pretty much led the whole race was pretty cool. It is definitely momentum going into the offseason. The last two races we had the car to beat so we are looking forward to next season.”
MAX ANGELELLI, NO. 10 WAYNE TAYLOR RACING CORVETTE DAYTONA PROTOTYPE, RACE WINNER
“Everyone on the team did a good job including the drivers. We definitely delivered. I am really happy for Chevy. Our Corvette DP was the fastest car on track. We won the race and this race for me is special because it is the fourth big race in the championship. I only need to win Sebring and then I have everything. Winter is going to be very short, because we will be back soon ready for next year.”
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“The car was pretty good. We were sure it would be, and it showed. I was putting a lot of pressure on some cars and there were a lot of really tight moments, especially in traffic. I had to be both careful and aggressive. It was a very smooth first stint. In the second, I started to be more aggressive where I could pass two or three cars and got up to fourth. We had a really good last stop where I stayed in while coming in fourth. We went out in the lead and that was the first time we encountered the red light at the end of the pits. Kyle (Millay, engineer) told me right before we pitted that I needed to be careful with the red light, and I told him that I would take care of getting in the fast lane and he needed to tell me if the light was on or not. It’s very difficult going from the pit box to the fast line and checking your mirror, and on top of that checking to see if the red light is on. I stopped but while I was sitting there I almost got hit by everyone – five or 10 seconds later I could see a big cloud of smoke coming at me. On the third stop we got unlucky because we were leading but was only halfway through a fuel stint.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“Leaving the pits, a bunch of us came out at the exact time so we were going down to the exit at the same time. Kyle (Millay, No. 3 engineer) was telling me over the radio that the pit lane was red so I knew I had to start to slow down. I couldn’t see the Ferrari in front of me because the Porsche was covering him. And then I was going to slow at the same rate as him, and he seemed to be slowing down a little and I just followed him. Apparently he was still doing his belts so he just rammed the Ferrari and stopped right in front of me and kind of jumped sideways. If he had stopped there, it would have been fine and I would have slipped by. But he bounced out to the side in front of me and I collected him in his rear corner and did a lot of damage to the front of our car. It’s so tough.”
RYAN BRISCOE, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“It was great to come and finish the season with the team. I have had a lot of fun driving with these guys this year. It’s a huge honor to drive the C7.R for Corvette Racing – a great experience. Obviously we wish we could have won the race today. We fought hard but unfortunately had the bodywork to repair early, which got us out of the game. So it was a bummer. I think we were able to shine at times, but at that time we were leading the race, and after that we were out of contention.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R:
“We had a lot of promise today. We led for some of it, which is good to do. It was nice to be running up front on genuine pace as well, which was good. It just didn’t quite run for us with the cycling of the pit stops and we were maybe missing a little bit of pace toward the end. We just couldn’t quite hold off the Porsche and Viper. But that is what we saw at COTA. That is kind of the story to the end of the season. But I am pleased that we had a strong performance, particularly on our car because it has been a battle this year. I’m pleased for the guys for us to have a clean race with no mechanical issues and a strong race for the No. 4 car and Corvette Racing, so I’m going to take that and carry it to 2015 and look forward and not back.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“The first stint was tough. We had made some changes from warmup. I thought the car felt OK but I had only done four laps and the other guys were a little bit apprehensive. The car was difficult to drive for the first hour but made some tire pressure changes and equalized them as well. It definitely put us in the ballpark as far as balance goes. The car seemed fast. Pace-wise we seemed OK. Then it was about staying out of trouble. Unfortunately we saw our teammates have trouble at the pit exit. We knew that if we could stay away from that, we’d be in OK shape. It was so close in GTLM and everyone was racing hard even though it’s a 10-hour race. Things happen.”