Corvette Racing drivers Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia dominated Sunday’s Michelin GT Challenge in their No. 3 Corvette C7.R, leading the majority of the race after starting from pole and going on to take the overall win.
The No. 4 Corvette C7.R sister car of Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin didn’t have such a positive result. After qualifying second and giving Corvette Racing its first 1-2 start since 2012, Gavin lost control of the No. 4 C7.R late in the race and went into the tire barriers backward, badly damaging the rear of the car and bringing out a full course yellow.
Magnussen led the opening 28 laps of Sunday’s race before he pitted to hand driving duties over to Garcia. The Spaniard then led another 56 laps, only handing the lead over temporarily for pit stops. The pair may have led the field almost the entire day, but the No. 66 Ford GT of Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller was constantly shadowing them and waiting to capitalize on a mistake.
Gavin’s late race shunt forced a green white checkered finish that saw the No. 3 C7.R lead the No. 66 GT to green. The one lap shootout resulted in Garcia easily pulling out a small gap over the Ford before taking the checkered flag and earning him and Magnussen their first race win of the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech Championship season.
“It was a very hard race,” Garcia told IMSA.com post-race. “My team got me a three- to four-second gap, and then it was a classic green and white/checkered. It was an amazing race and the Corvette was brilliant. It really paid off to be out testing on Monday and Tuesday (at Road Atlanta), because the car was fantastic.”
Milner and Gavin were obviously disappointed with their result post-race, especially considering the championship implications it could have for the GTLM leaders, but were happy to see Magnussen and Garcia get the overall win.
“Definitely not our day – I guess some of the racing luck we’ve had balances out,” said Milner. “These are the kind of days that you want to prevent. But I’m really happy for our teammates – the manufacturer championship is number one for us at Corvette Racing. When we falter, they pick up the slack, and they did a fantastic job today. Well deserved, for sure.”
The IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship heads to Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas next for Lone Star Le Mans on Saturday, September 17th. Click here for full results from VIR.