Corvette Racing drivers Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin took first place at the Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series at Long Beach, California on Saturday, April 14th in the second round of the American Le Mans Series. The duo finished 84 laps of the 1.968-mile track in their No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R, coming in 4.26 seconds ahead of runner-up No. 56 BMW. The victory was the first for Corvette Racing in the GT class in Long Beach, and its fourth since moving from the GT1 category in 2009. Team mates Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen took fourth place in their No. 3 C6.R after a fender-bender during the first lap.
The win for Milner and Gavin was the first for the driver combination, and was also Milner’s first career ALMS victory. After qualifying was cancelled due to rain, the 26 year-old started the No. 4 ‘Vette third on the GT grid and avoided a first-lap accident that caught the sister No. 3 car by surprise. Milner then took the lead at 24 minutes into the two-hour competition, but ceded the point to the No. 01 Ferrari before the first and only pitstop when he handed the car over to Gavin in perfect condition. With Gavin at the wheel, the No. 4 C6.R moved from third to first with 45 minutes remaining in the race, passing Scott Sharp’s Ferrari and Dirk Mueller’s BMW.
The story of the No. 3 Corvette isn’t as fortunate: Garcia started the No. 3 Corvette C6.R second on the GT grid but got tangled up in a crash during the first lap when a pair of prototypes collided, drawing in the pack of closely-following GT cars. Garcia hit the car ahead of him and was then hit by the car behind him, leaving the Corvette with a damaged front fascia, a missing hood, a broken rear wing, and a cracked diffuser. But even with the “adjusted” aerodynamics, which resulted in severe understeer, Garcia managed to hold on to second place for 12 laps before surrendering the position to Milner. Garcia then handed off the car to Magnussen under a full-course caution momentarily before the halfway point. Magnussen went on to compete with the No. 56 BMW for the second spot but was passed by the No. 01 Ferrari in the closing minutes of the race.
More than anything, today’s race showed the prowess of the engineering team, the drivers, and the Corvette C6.R racer — since the team didn’t have the luxury of lapping the track with dry pavement. “Today’s race underscores just how good the engineering team and crew are at Corvette Racing,” said Doug Fehan, Corvette Racing program manager. “We had absolutely zero track time in the dry, yet both cars moved immediately to the front. That is a testament to the quality of this team.”
The top 10 results for the American Le Mans Series at Long Beach GT Results:
- 4 Gavin/Milner, Corvette C6.R, 84
- 56 Mueller/Hand, BMW E92 M3, 84
- 01 Sharp/van Overbeek, Ferrari 458 Italia, 84
- 3 Magnussen/Garcia, Corvette C6.R, 84
- 007 Fernandez/Turner, Aston Martin Vantage 83
- 17 Henzler/Sellers, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 83
- 45 Bergmeister/Long, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 83
- 48 Miller/Maassen, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 83
- 44 Neiman/Holzer, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 81
- 02 Brown/Cosmo, Ferrari F458 Italia, 80
Visit ESPN3 online to watch the replay of the entire race.
Next, Corvette Racing will travel to Monterey, California for the six-hour ALMS race at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on May 12.