Corvette Racing’s bad luck this weekend began when Jan Magnussen was involved in a crash during a practice session Saturday and persisted through to Sunday with the team’s two C7.Rs driving to a seventh and ninth place finish at the Oak Tree Grand Prix at Virginia International Raceway.
The team’s No. 3 and No. 4 C7.Rs qualified for Saturday’s race in sixth and ninth, respectively. Almost immediately after the green flag flew Oliver Gavin in the No. 4 car climbed four positions to fifth. Jordan Taylor, who was subbing for Magnussen as a precautionary safety measure, also managed to climb position during his opening 50-minute stint and was second when he handed the car off to teammate Antonio Garcia.
Gavin handed the car off to Milner who began battling with the eventual race-winning Ferrari when a Porsche bumped him from behind, sending him spinning off the track. The impact damaged the left front tire of the Corvette and locked the wheel in place, sending a plume of smoke from the front wheel well when Milner was driving the car back to the pits. The minor shunt cost Corvette Racing four laps, and Milner voiced his frustration about it post-race.
“The breaks continue to go against us. I was racing hard with the Ferrari going into the brake zone off the backstretch,” he said. “I had to give up the position and in doing so lost another spot before being hit hard by an impatient Porsche. That was our race. I had to come in and have most of the left-front replaced. It’s a real shame because Oliver had a good stint to put us in the position to challenge the front-runners.”
Garcia’s stint started off solid, but when he made his final pit stop for fuel and tires, he was unable to regain position in time and crossed the finish line in seventh place.
The less than desirable results from this weekend’s Grand Prix put Chevrolet out of the lead in the GTLM manufacturer championship, but allowed Garcia to hold on to his Tudor United SportsCar Championship’s GT Le Mans driver lead. The next two races of the season, Lone Star Le Mans at Circuit of the Americas and Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, will be crucial for the team if they wish to regain Chevy’s manufacturer’s lead and hold on to Garcia’s driver’s lead.