CORVETTE RACING AT ROAD ATLANTA: Racing Toward GTLM Championships
previously published at corvetteracing.com)
Driver’s, Manufacturer’s and Team titles on the line at 10-hour Petit Le Mans
Seventh-place points guarantee Driver’s title for Gavin, Milner
Chevrolet takes Manufacturer’s Title with race start
Corvette Racing going for ninth Petit Le Mans victory
Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup championships also at stake
DETROIT (Sept. 27, 2016) – Corvette Racing and Chevrolet can put the wraps on their wire-to-wire championship run this weekend as they close out the 2016 endurance racing season with the final long-distance event of the year – Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on Saturday.
Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner need seventh-place points or better to secure the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GTLM Driver’s title, which would be their second championship as Corvette Racing teammates.
Chevrolet also stands to win big this weekend. It will claim its 11th class Manufacturer Championship as long as one of Corvette Racing’s two Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs start the 10-hour endurance race.
Petit Le Mans presented by Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort is an event in which Corvette Racing has found great success with eight wins in 17 tries. The team tested at Road Atlanta nearly a month ago and collected valuable data for Petit Le Mans. It also helped Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen win overall at VIR in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. At Petit Le Mans, they will be joined by Mike Rockenfeller; the duo finished second in class together in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona.
That was a race won by Gavin, Milner and Marcel Fässler, as was the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. The trio are together again in an attempt to win a third race in the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup – a championship made up of Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans. No GTLM entry has won more than two of the four Endurance Cup events in one season.
In addition to leading the GTLM Driver’s Championship, Gavin and Milner lead the class’s Driver standings in the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup. It is a tight competition though with 11 other drivers – including Garcia, Magnussen and Fässler – within four points.
Chevrolet also is tied for first in Endurance Cup Manufacturer points but holds the tiebreaker advantage.
This is the first race at Road Atlanta for the 2016-spec Corvette C7.R, which is an updated racecar from 2015 due to changes in Automobile Club de l’Ouest regulations for top-level GT cars that compete in the IMSA GTLM class. There are a number of aerodynamic changes including a larger splitter at the front and diffuser at the rear of the Corvette. Side skirts and a repositioned wing also are among the most notable changes, along with updated safety features that are now mandated on all GTLM cars.
Corvette Racing Display Adds to Chevrolet At-Track Experience
Petit Le Mans presented by Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort will feature a strong presence of Chevrolet’s best on and off the track. Fans can see and learn about a number of top-line Chevrolet vehicles and performance accessories at the Corvette Racing Display, located in Road Atlanta’s Vendor Village from Thursday through Saturday, including:
Exciting 2017 vehicles such as the Corvette Grand Sport, Corvette Z06, Camaro, Equinox, Malibu and Cruze.
Chevrolet 2016 models including the Silverado 2500 HD Duramax Diesel and Colorado Trail Boss
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 t-shirts for fans who sign up with Corvette Racing.
The Corvette Racing display opens at 10 a.m., Thursday; 9 a.m., Friday; and 8 a.m., Saturday.
The 10-hour Petit Le Mans presented by Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort from Road Atlanta is scheduled for 11:10 a.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 1 It will air live on FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2, FOX Sports Go and IMSA.tv with IMSA Radio coverage and Chevrolet on-board cameras available on IMSA.com.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS-XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “Petit Le Mans is a long race but it can feel longer because of the traffic on a relatively short lap. The weather conditions can be a big factor, as was the case last year. But no matter if it’s a wet or dry race, it’s a challenge and traffic is a big thing. The best thing you can do is have a clean race and stay on the lead lap. You can’t afford to go a lap down there. As long as you stay in the hunt, you can work your strategy in the last part of the race. Petit Le Mans is a race I haven’t won yet so I’m really, really wanting to make that happen this year.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS-XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “Road Atlanta is a fantastic, old-school track and one of my favorites. It also was one of the first tracks I raced on when I came to America. Petit Le Mans is relatively new compared to other big races in the U.S., like Sebring or Daytona, but it’s already a classic and one that you want to win. It would be great for us – Antonio, Rocky and myself – to end the season with a good result and keep the momentum from the last two events.”
MIKE ROCKENFELLER, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS-XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “I’m excited to rejoin Corvette Racing, and I’m really looking forward to returning to Road Atlanta. It is a very good circuit where personally I have had some of my biggest career moments. The No. 3 Corvette team is on a good stretch at the moment and I can’t wait to get back in the Corvette C7.R again. I have to imagine it’s an absolute beast to drive around Road Atlanta, so I’m anxious to get started.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS-XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “As a driver, you dream about coming to a race like Petit Le Mans with a lead in the championship. Tommy, myself and everyone on the No. 4 team know what we have to do. If we have a clean race with no mistakes, we will reach our goal in the championship. It’s never easy to do that at Road Atlanta, though. The nature of the racetrack and the size of the field increase that challenge. I feel we are very prepared for the event on the heels of our test there last month. Everyone at Corvette Racing is feeling very positive heading into Petit Le Mans, so now it’s up to us to execute and do our jobs.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS-XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “For us the big challenge is going to be to do all 10 hours. That exists no matter what, but now the pressure is on for sure not to make mistakes. The pressure is on just to have a good race. If we think we can cruise, that is usually when people start making mistakes. We still need to be on our game. We know our competitors will be trying super hard for a win. That’s not to say that we aren’t going to try; I would love to go out and finish the season with a win, especially at Petit Le Mans where I’ve been on the podium now a couple of times but haven’t quite gotten the win there. The Corvette C7.R was good in testing there, so if it’s fast again we are going to go for it.”
MARCEL FASSLER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SIRIUS-XM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “I’ve only raced at Road Atlanta a couple of times in my career, but it is a very memorable circuit with lots of elevation change and fast corners. It should be a very good track for the Corvette C7.R. I’m excited about getting back with Oliver and Tommy. My goal is to do what I can to help them win the GTLM Championship and hopefully another race win to closer our season together.”
DOUG FEHAN, CORVETTE RACING PROGRAM MANAGER: “After a full season of racing, our championship comes down to the final event – Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. This is a tremendous event and one that helped revitalize professional sports car racing in North America in the late 1990s. We have been fortunate to have great success at Petit Le Mans. That comes down to preparation and execution by the drivers, crew and engineers. Those are the same things that have us in a position to claim the Driver’s, Manufacturer’s and Team championships for 2016. We couldn’t think of a better place to do it – in front of another huge Road Atlanta crowd and our Corvette owners and fans in the Corvette Corral.”