Many were expecting Sunday’s Tequila Patron Sportscar Showcase at Long Beach to be riddled with caution flags considering the historic street course’s tight, cement barrier-lined confines, however the race remained green for its short 100-minute duration. Despite the clean race, Corvette Racing still couldn’t find a way around the front-runners after qualifying in the middle of the grid.
The No. 3 C7.R started from fourth position on the grid after Jan Magnussen put in a time of 1:17.739 (91.136 mph) in qualifying on Friday. The first half of the race was problem-free, however Magnussen began to struggle towards the end of his stint as tire wear became more prominent. A clean pit stop and driver change put the No. 3 C7.R in third for the remainder of the race, setting Antonio Garcia up well for a podium finish.
“After a great pit stop by the Corvette Racing crew – the driver change and the service went really smooth – I found myself in third position and could challenge the second-place BMW,” Garcia said. “For about 10 laps I had the pace but I think I probably killed my tires trying to overtake him. I suffered with understeer and decided there was still a long way to go and I couldn’t really follow them. From that point on, we had to think about the championship, too. Coming out with third-place is good for Chevrolet and Corvette Racing in the championship.”
Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner had less luck in the No. 4 car. Gavin was racing alongside the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR of Richard Lietz when he ran out of room and edged the Porsche into the wall, spinning the C7.R and causing major damage to the Porsche’s front-right wheel and suspension assembly. They ended up seventh in GTLM and 14th overall.
“I was on the inside and we all ran out of room,” said Gavin. “Our race was shaped by the contact with the Porsche and being turned around. It was very disappointing. Once again we had a good car and a very fast car. It’s just immensely frustrating again. But we will move on to Laguna Seca and try to gain some positive momentum.”
The next round of the Tudor United Sportscar Championship is the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix Presented by Mazda at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on the weekend of May 2.