The No. 3 Corvette C7.R of Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller has won the GTLM class at the 2017 12 Hours of Sebring following a thrilling fight with the No. 66 Ford GT and No. 911 Porsche 911. The result was the Corvette crew’s third straight Sebring class win and its 11th victory in America’s oldest sportscar race in its history.
The No. 3 team had to overcome a number mistakes early in the race to make its way to the front of the GTLM pack. The race began with Garcia, Magnussen and Rockenfeller running two stints each in the first six hours, but greasy track conditions, GT Daytona traffic and caution flags hindered their race early on.
The team’s standing was further affected when Rockenfeller pulled into the pits for tires, fuel and a driver change and a caution flag came out. This forced the team to take a five-second splash of fuel, pull out of the pits to rejoin to the GTLM leaders and then pit again to complete their stops with the rest of the grid.
In typical endurance racing fashion, the Corvette team’s fortunes quickly reversed following that sequence of events. With four hours remaining, a full-course caution came out and Magnussen moved up three places in the pits. Garcia’s final two hour and 53 minutes stint was particularly notable – the Spaniard moving into the lead with 35 laps remaining and withstanding intense pressure from the Ford GT and Ferrari 488 behind to take the win.
“The car kept going faster and faster.,” Garcia said post-race. “When you lead the way, the aero works pretty decent compared to when you follow someone. At the end things went a little bit in our favor. It was a sprint to the end. I can’t believe what Corvette Racing did today. Just awesome. Amazing.”
“I think what we saw tonight may have been the most intense mix of tremendous engineering and strategy from our engineering crew and flawless pit stops all day long by our Corvette Racing crew,” said team principal Doug Fehan. “Then there was the driving exhibition that I’m sure will be a highlight of Antonio’s career – certainly at Corvette Racing. When you put those three elements together, we are hard to beat. It was an amazing demonstration by everyone at Corvette Racing.”
Click here for full results from the 2017 Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida.