Corvette Racing finished eighth in the rain-marred FIA WEC 6 Hours of Shanghai Sunday, the team keeping their noses clean in treacherous conditions to bring the No. 64 Corvette C7.R home in one piece.
The race started under a safety car due to extreme rain and didn’t stay green for long, with the Rebellion LMP1 of Thomas Laurent spinning off track to bring out an early yellow. The FIA then decided to red flag the race due to the conditions, which Tommy Milner described as “nearly impossible,” to drive in. After a lengthy break, racing went back to green, with Milner continuing his initial stint for the American team.
Milner had fallen back from the GTE Pro field in the first green flag period, but quickly began to make his way back up the order, picking off four GTE Am cars early on before the red flag came back out after only 99 minutes of running. Race organizers eventually sent the field back out with the safety car, with Milner pitting under the safety car for fuel and tires. Some of the GTE Pro field then followed in the Chevy’s footsteps and also went into the pits, which moved the American up to P6 in class. Racing soon went back to green with just over 3 hours remaining, Milner first among those cars which had pitted.
The American driver pitted the No. 64 for fuel, tires and a driver change about 30 minutes later when the yellow flag came out for a Prototype car that had become beached in the gravel. With Oliver Gavin now at the helm, the No. 64 reentered the track in the upper half of the GTE Pro field.
The yellow came out once again with just under two hours to go after the No. 17 LMP1 entry of SMP Racing crashed on the exit of the final corner and came to a halt on the front straight of the Shanghai International Circuit, sending Gavin back into the pits for fuel and tires.
After the next cycle of pit stops, Gavin had fallen back to P10 and was fighting closely for P9. The team made a final pit stop with about 51 minutes to go, fighting with the two Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs along with the No. 81 BMW M8, before taking the checkered flag in the dark.
Corvette Racing ended up eighth in class after rival teams took post-race penalties, a decent finish to an otherwise difficult weekend for the American squad.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been in a race quite like that. I’ve done a lot of races in the rain and a lot of races in the dark, but I’ve done it at a track like this without external lights. It was a bit of a lottery. We worked hard throughout the race to find as strong a setup as possible and took quite a big swing there for the end. Fundamentally we were lacking the pace we needed in the rain, kind of like how we did in the dry. We need to understand why that was with this tire and package so we can come back stronger if we have another shot at this event.”
— Corvette Racing (@CorvetteRacing) November 18, 2018
The GTE Pro class was won by the No. 95 Aston Martin of Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiiim, with the No. 91 Porsche 911 of Richard Lietz and Giamaria Bruni finished second and the No. 92 Porsche 911 of Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre third.
Click here to view full results from the 2018 FIA WEC 6 Hours of Shanghai.
Photo via Team Chevy on Twitter