2016 Corvette Racing Season
Within the world of multi-class sportscar racing, the Grand Touring specification of cars had typically been separated into different classes. For decades the GTS/GT1 class held the crown as the highest level of GT racing, with a more relaxed rulebook that allowed for large aero packages, high power levels of around 600 hp and lower weight limits. The regulations equated to a speed difference between the GTS/GT1 class and the GT2/GT class at a Le Mans of around 12 to 13 seconds a lap. The final time the two classes would compete together was in 2010 resulting in the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and the organizing entity of the 24 Hours of Le Mans the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) to make adjustments. For 2011, the GT2 class was separated by factory backed teams using the latest generation cars and a roster of professional drivers called GTE Pro (Grand Touring Endurance Professional). A second class called GTE Am (Grand Touring Endurance Amateur) used cars of the same specifications however the cars had to be at least one year old. The GTE Am class consists of privateer teams with a driver roster that has to adhere to the regulations that require at least one bronze-rated driver and one driver rated no higher than silver. In effect GTE Am teams are limited to a maximum of one driver rated gold or higher within their line-ups. This resulted in the GTE Pro class being faster than the GTE Am by around two to four seconds a lap at Le Mans due to more up to date technology and an elite driver line-up.
Other forms of global GT racing such as the FIA GT3 and the GT Open series featured cars that produced similar performance levels as the GTE cars. With no plans to revive the GT1 class, the FIA and ACO wanted to solidify a top level of GT class within GTE Pro. The decision was made to adjust the regulations to the GTE Pro class for the upcoming 2016 season via an improved aero package. The GT3 series cars are very similar to the GTE cars but feature a larger aero package to produce more downforce at the cost of top speed. More driver aids like ABS is permitted within GT3, but power and weight are almost identical to the GTE class. The GTE Pro class was designed with Le Mans in mind. The Circuit de la Sarthe that hosts the 24 Hours of Le Mans is made up of four very long straights, therefore the GTE Pro regulations limit the aero package to make the cars more slippery for higher top speeds. The 2016 GTE Pro regulations relaxed the rules around the aero package, allowing manufacturers to construct cars that produced more downforce, without sacrificing the top speed. Other areas the two style of GT classes altered is the front tire size and axle track, with the GTE Pro cars being permitted the use of wider specifications. In comparison to GT3, GTE Pro teams are also allowed to make more modifications to their cars such as engine components and suspension setup.
The International Motor Sport Association (IMSA) that regulates the US series Corvette Racing competes in, had maintained the adoption of the GTE Pro regulations for their GTLM class. The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship had also acquired a new sponsor for 2016 creating a rebrand as the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Pratt & Miller would construct two new chassis for 2016 taking full advantage of the new regulations. As well as making the cars faster, mandatory improvements to the safety also became part of the regulation changes. To adhere to the new safety rules, Pratt & Miller equipped C7RGT-004 and C7RGT-005 with new FIA-mandated roof hatches. The roof hatch was designed to create an access point for track safety workers to insert an extraction device into the cockpit that secured the drivers head, neck and spine in the event of an injury. The race seat also saw adaptations for 2016 via larger side restraints and modifications to meet higher structural performance requirements. Corvette Racing had always put driver safety at the forefront, with the introduction in 2003 of the side-impact crash box as wheel as head restraints. The primary chassis structure of the production C7 Z06 also served as a fundamental component within the C7.Rs crash system.
The most notable change made to the C7.R for 2016 was within its aero package. The new round of technical regulations for 2016 created additional freedom for Pratt & Miller. The front splitter of the C7.R had increased in size by more than double extending out further from the front bodywork. The new splitter maintained a shape similar to the factory Z07 Performance Package splitter of the C7 Z06, which followed the contours of the Corvette C7 front fascia. The new splitter greatly increased the amount of air forced over the car that improved front downforce. The splitter also better managed the air flowing below the car that worked in synergy with flat floor aero design. The 2016 splitter also saw the addition of carbon fences/stepped turning vanes mounted to the far outside edges. These aero pieces acted as vortex generators that reduced lift by creating a large air gate down the side of the C7.R, restricting air below the car from escaping out the sides. The front fascia of the C7.R saw the introduction of canards/dive planes. The C6.R GT predecessor utilized small canards between 2012 and 2013 but the ones equipped to the C7.R were larger. These canards helped manage airflow over the car whilst providing downward pressure, which overall added to the improved downforce levels to the front end of the C7.R. These canards were removed for Le Mans to help reduce drag in pursuit for an increased top speed along the Mulsanne straight.
The sideskirts of the C7.R saw changes for 2016 to improve their effectiveness. The new sideskirts maintained the factory Z07 Performance Package shape but had doubled in width. The sideskirts of the C7.R held three functions with the first being a barrier to the air flowing over the body. Typically air traveling across the sides of a moving vehicle wants to flow underneath the car, which creates lift. The sideskirts restrict any air coming off the sides from flowing below the car. The second principal of the C7.Rs sideskirts is they worked in conjunction with the stepped turning vanes mounted to the front splitter. The turning vanes produces vortices that travel down the sides of the C7.R and along with the sideskirts kept the air traveling below the car from escaping. This helped the air underneath the car to be accelerated towards the rear diffuser and create an improved Bernoulli effect, which results in higher downforce levels. The final way the sideskirts helped improve the aerodynamic package for 2016 was by utilizing the side exit exhausts. The exhausts were integrated into the rocker panels and penetrated the center of the sideskirts. With the exhaust outlet tilted at a slight downward angle, the exhaust gases pushed down on the sideskirts, which created minor downward pressure helping stick the C7.R to the track.
The final piece to the improved floor design of the 2016 C7.R was a new rear diffuser. From 2009 Pratt & Miller had been forced by the regulations to use flat, one-dimensional diffuser that over the years saw minor adaptations such as a steeper angle. For 2016, Pratt & Miller were able to return to a complex three-dimensional rear diffuser similar to the one last used on the GT1 variant of the Corvette C6.R. The leading edge of the 2016 diffuser started further back at the rear axle centerline and expanded in height towards the rear of the car, creating one large venturi tunnel. The venturi effect is the result of air that has been accelerated below the car that decreases in pressure, which creates increased pressure above the car producing downforce. The C7.R created the venturi effect by dividing the larger volume of air at the front with the splitter. The air was then compressed below the car, which forced it to accelerate towards the low pressure air from the rear diffuser. The venturi effect was improved by side plates along with six longitudinal fences added to the rear diffuser that better channeled the air flow. The fences created seven individual tunnels that increased in width from the outside edges towards the center. These tunnels were designed to manage the air exiting the diffuser to improve its effectiveness.
The final adaptation made to the C7.R for the 2016 regulations was the location of the rear wing. Previously the rear wing on the C7.R had used mounts that were vertical, positioning the rear wing above the rear wheels. This resulted with the rear wing trailing edge to be flush with end of the rear bodywork. The new rear wing featured smaller end plates but the wing chord maintained the same shape and size. Pratt & Miller fabricated new mounts that extended the rear wing 15 cm (5.9 inches) further back to extend beyond the rear fascia, which altered the downforce pressure. Previously the rear wing applied downforce to the rear axle. With the relocation of rear wing for 2016, downforce was applied to the whole rear of the car, which created more stability and grip to the rear wheels.
The result of the changes made to the C7.R for the 2016 regulations saw lap times reduced by an average of 1.4 seconds over the 2015 C7.R. The drivers were pleased with the new aero package and Corvette Racing had their most successful year within the C7.R era in 2016.
The 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship started with the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Corvette Racing the following year accomplished the GTLM class win, with the team looking for a repeat in 2016 with their latest C7.R. Oliver Gavin posted the best time during qualifying, placing the #4 C7.R in sixth on the grid with Magnussen in the #3 car starting from eighth. Both Corvettes displayed their impressive pace and reliability throughout the race, but the action picked up within the final three hours of the race. The #4 was able to recover from a pitlane penalty with a strategy that put Oliver Gavin behind the wheel for the final hour and 45 minutes. Gavin took the GTLM class lead with only 35 minutes remaining to what seemed a simple drive to the checkered flag. Antonio Garcia took over the #3 from Mike Rockenfeller with 37 minutes remaining. Garcia rejoined the track third in class but was able to take second place 11 minutes later. Garcia then proceeded to chase down the lead #4 Corvette to what became a thrilling last 10 minute battle. Gavin and Garcia were given permission from Corvette Racing Program Manager; Doug Fehan to race. A display of talent and respect consumed the television networks as the two Corvettes battled hard, inches from each other whilst swapping positions. At the final turn heading towards the finish line, Garcia was able to use the slipstream to catch his teammate. Gavin defended by taking the inside line, with Garcia coming around on the outside towards the checkered flag for a photo finish. Oliver Gavin in the #4 was able to edge the #3 of Garcia by only 0.034 seconds to create a historic victory. With the bad luck the #4 crew had suffered from at Daytona the previous two years, the 2016 victory was even sweeter. The win became the second time Corvette Racing produced a 1-2 finish at Daytona with the last being back in 2001.
The second round of the season took the team to central Florida for the punishing Twelve Hours of Sebring. The previous year at Sebring, Corvette Racing managed to take the GTLM class victory. For 2016 they were looking to carry over the momentum from Daytona to collect their 10th Sebring win. Throughout qualifying, Antonio Garcia put up the best time placing the #3 C7.R fifth on the grid. Tommy Milner came within a few tenths of Garcia, which put the #4 in sixth. On race day the weather would provide challenging conditions with lightning storms, heavy rain and sunny intervals. Within the first three hours of the race, the #4 was running third in class until the officials red flagged the race due to lightning and track conditions. The race would resume after a two hour and 15 minute stoppage with Marcel Fässler behind the wheel of the #4. During Fässlers stint, he would need to switch from slicks to wet tires and back to slicks due to the changing track conditions. The switch back to slicks may have been premature causing Fässler to go off track, hitting a banner that covered the radiator inlet. The banner forced an unscheduled pit stop to remove due to rising engine temperatures causing Fässler to lose two laps. With less than five hours remaining in the race, Fässler handed driving duties over to Oliver Gavin. During Gavins two hour stint, he was able to put the #4 back onto the GTLM lead lap before Milner would take over to drive to the finish. Under dry conditions the C7.R was really quick and a double-stint by Milner put the #4 into the class lead. Tommy Milner drove the C7.R to the finish line, to achieve back to back victories, handing Corvette Racing their 10th class win at Sebring. Unfortunately for the #3 Corvette, whilst Magnussen was in the class lead he was hit at turn one by Kevin Estre in the Porsche. The Corvette and Porsche were sent at high speed into the tire barrier forcing both cars to retire due to damage.
The third round of the season took the championship onto the streets of Long Beach, California. Throughout qualifying, Tommy Milner placed the #4 in fourth on the grid with Jan Magnussen putting up a laptime good enough for fifth. Early in the race Oliver Gavin in the #4 suffered a puncture that altered the pit strategy. Throughout the 100 minute race, Corvette Racing were running first and second in the GTLM class. With less than five minutes remaining, it was looking like Milner in the #4 was going to take a third straight victory. At the final turn with less than two minutes remaining in the race, Milner was hit from behind by Fred Makowiecki driving the Porsche. Milner was able to get back going to finish second in class. The #3 of Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia was looking to take a podium finish. With less than ten minutes remaining in the race, Garcia spun at turn four causing damage to the car. Garcia brought the C7.R back to pit lane but the damage was too extensive to repair, which forced another retirement for the #3 crew.
The state of California would also host the next round of the championship at Mazda Raceway Leguna Seca. Corvette Racing would start from the second and third row of the grid. Tommy Milner qualified the #4 Corvette in fourth place with Magnussen qualifying in sixth. Michelin had brought a new tire to run for the weekend, which required the team to get used to how it responded. During the race, Garcia and Magnussen were able to run strong, however it would become a race where the fuel strategy would cause problems. Whilst trying to attempt a one stop race, the #3 C7.R had to stop for a splash of fuel on the final lap that resulting in losing two positions to finish in fourth. The #4 of Gavin and Milner was running in fifth but was handed a drive-through penalty for the wheels rotating whilst raised on the air-jacks during a pit stop. The #4 served the penalty but rejoined the track in 10th. Oliver Gavin drove an impressive final stint to gain three positions within the final 40 minutes. Gavin was producing better laptimes than the Ford and Ferrari ahead but ran out of time to catch them resulting in finishing seventh.
Corvette Racing would pack for France to compete in the 84th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours. The previous year Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Jordan Taylor were able to take the GTE Pro class win in an emotional race. The new aero package had already proven to make the C7.R a more competitive race car and the team was hoping that would result in another win at Le Mans. The organizing entity of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the ACO, had enforced a Michelin tire, specific to the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) to be used for Le Mans. A majority of the 14 car GTE Pro field were made up of european teams that competed in the FIA WEC series. Those teams had already acquired data on the new Michelin tire throughout two races. This already put Corvette Racing in a vulnerable position as they had been running a different specification Michelin tire in the US. To create an even bigger challenge for Corvette Racing, a huge amount of attention was paid to the 50th anniversary battle between Ford and Ferrari. In 1966 the Ford Motor Company with help from Carroll Shelby built and raced their Ford GT40 to beat the dominant Ferraris of the time. It was a spectacular battle, which has become a huge part of motorsports history. For 2016 Ford had introduced their latest version of the Ford GT40 dubbed the Ford GT. Ford had partnered with Chip Ganassi Racing with a two car effort competing in the American IMSA series and a two car effort in Europe competing in the FIA WEC. For Le Mans both the American and European Ford teams would combine resulting in a total of four Ford GTs racing to increase the odds of winning. The storyline of the 2016 Le Mans had become Ford Vs Ferrari once again. The media’s attention to the Ford v Ferrari battle took priority with the ACO. The Balance of Performance (BoP) which alters performance of the cars via, power output, weight, fuel capacity and even aero changes had penalized all the GTE Pro cars besides the Fords and Ferraris. This resulted in what appeared to be a scripted race between the Fords and Ferraris with the other manufacturers being way off the pace. During the race the Fords produced laptimes almost two seconds faster than the Corvettes, Porsches and Aston Martins. The #68 Ford GT would win the GTE Pro class with the #82 Ferrari 488 GTE taking second and the #69 Ford GT finishing in third. The #63 Corvette C7.R of Magnussen, Garcia and Ricky Taylor started from 14th on the grid and ran a flawless race. Unfortunately due to the BoP, the #63 finished four laps behind the class leaders in seventh. The #64 C7.R of Gavin, Milner and Jordan Taylor suffered a retirement after Tommy Milner crashed at turn one during the 17th hour. The #64 made it back to pit lane, but the damage was too severe for the team to get the car back into the race.
After returning to the USA, the next event for Corvette Racing was the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner held the lead in the GTLM Drivers standings with Corvette Racing and Chevrolet sitting at the top of the team and manufacturers standings. Throughout qualifying, Tommy Milner placed the #4 C7.R in sixth whilst Jan Magnussen was almost half a second slower placing the #3 Corvette eighth on the grid. During the race the #4 crew was able to execute a great pit strategy to help move Milner and Gavin up the order. Within the last hour of the race, Tommy Milner pitted for fuel and tires late in the race from seventh position. By pitting later than the rest of the GTLM field, the #4 was able to take on less fuel for the end, making the stop shorter. Milner rejoined the track amidst a four car battle and was able to gain three positions to finish fourth. The #3 of Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen ran as high as fourth throughout the race, but was hindered by heavy traffic resulting in finishing seventh.
The next race of the championship took the series to Canada for round seven at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Corvette Racing had a history of running strong at Mosport and with the gap being closed to within eight points in the championship, the team was looking for a good outing. Corvette Racing had struggled throughout 2016 in qualifying with fourth being their best result. However, Antonio Garcia was able to capture the best laptime of 1:15.198 placing the #3 C7.R on pole position. Oliver Gavin was selected to pilot the #4 Corvette during qualifying and with a 1:15.549 he qualified sixth in the GTLM class. The race would benefit yet again from smart pit strategies. Oliver Gavin was able to take the fight to the GTLM field and gain multiple positions. During the last stop within the two hour and 45 minute race, Milner pitted before the #3 and was able to take advantage of the warmer Michelins to pass the sister car during Garcia’s outlap. The race would finish with the Ford GT of Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe taking the GTLM class win. The #4 of Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner finished runner-up with the the #3 C7.R taking third. With both Corvettes on the podium it was the best result for the #3 car and the team since the 1-2 at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner had retained the GTLM championship lead in the drivers, manufactures and team standings.
The series would move onto Connecticut for round eight of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Lime Rock Park. Tommy Milner in the #4 would produce his best qualifying result of the year starting from third on the grid. After earning pole at the previous race the #3 was lookin for a repeat but Magnussen struggled throughout qualifying to take sixth position. Milner started the race in the #4 and drove the first 90 minutes of the two hour and 40 minute race. Milner was able to take second place before handing over to Oliver Gavin for the final portion of the race. Gavin was able to stay close to the rear of the class leading Ferrari 488 GTE of Giancarlo Fisichella. With Gavin applying the pressure to the Ferrari, Fisichella made a mistake and went off track handing the #4 Corvette the lead with 31 minutes remaining in the race. From there, Gavin drove a steady race to bring the #4 across the finish line for their third win of the season. The #3 Corvette of Garcia and Magnussen spent most of the race running in the middle of the GTLM field. After Magnussen handed over to Antonio Garcia, the #3 C7.R rejoined the race in fifth with 45 minutes remaining. Garcia pushed hard in his final stint to gain three positions to finish 0.975 seconds behind the sister #4 Corvette. The 1-2 finish for Corvette Racing at Lime Rock Park became the teams 60th 1-2 finish and their 100th win in total. Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner celebrated by standing on the roof of C7RGT-004 with the checkered flag. A 100 wins decal would feature on the doors of the C7.R for the rest of the season to celebrate the huge milestone.
Four race remained in the season and with a 10 point lead in the GTLM drivers championship, Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner were trying to keep up the momentum. The high speed circuit of Road America hosted round nine of the season. Antonio Garcia qualified the #3 in sixth with Oliver Gavin putting the #4 right behind in seventh. Tommy Milner drove the final half of the two hour and 40 minute race. Milner was running fifth when racing resumed after a caution period. He was able to take fourth from the #912 Porsche 911 RSR of Fred Makowiecki with the #911 Porsche of Nick Tandy ahead. Tandy would spin whilst trying to make a move on the Ferrari of Toni Vilander moving Milner upto third. Shortly after, Vilander made contact with a Mazda Prototype, which spun out his Ferrari, placing Milner in a position to fight Richard Westbrook in the class leading Ford GT. Tommy Milner was able to successfully pass Westbrook to take the class lead from fifth position in the final five minutes of the race. Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin took their fourth win of the season and race win 101 for Corvette Racing. It was one of the most exciting victories in recent Corvette Racing history. Magnussen and Garcia would finish the race in the same position from where they started in sixth.
The tenth round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship took place at Virginia International Raceway (VIR). The C7.R over the past two years had struggled at VIR with a sixth being the best result. Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen took the class win at VIR in 2013 and Oliver Gavin with Tommy Milner winning the year before in 2012. Corvette Racing were looking to re-establish themselves at VIR with the improvements made to C7.R for 2016, which resulted in Garcia running fastest in practice on Friday. Jan Magnussen would produce a pole position laptime in the #3 during qualifying. Tommy Milner would qualify second fastest in the #4 C7.R to start behind the sister car. The race at VIR featured only GT cars with a combination of the nine GTLM cars and a field of 12 GTD cars. The race started with Magnussen behind the wheel of the #3 and Milner driving the #4. Magnussen was able to retain the lead from the start and drove the first 49 minutes. Garcia took over from Magnussen in the #3 to drive a double stint. The final pit stop was made with 53 minutes remaining in the race, which the Corvette Racing pit crew executed with perfection. Garcia drove the #3 Corvette C7.R to the finish line for the first victory of the season for the #3. It would be race win 102 for Corvette Racing and an overall victory for the team after leading 84 of 90 laps. Milner in the #4 unfortunately lost positions at the start going into turn one. He was able to regain some spots to run as high as fifth before going off track at the 40 minute mark. Oliver Gavin took over driving duties of the #4 and was able to set the fastest lap of the race. However, more bad luck would pursue the #4 as Gavin crashed creating the only caution period of the race. The accident happened moments before reports of fluid on the track throughout the final turn. Milner and Gavin would officially finish ninth but were able to maintain the championship lead by seven points.
The Circuit Of The Americas (COTA) hosted round 11 of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The C7.R had yet to score a podium at COTA with the best performance coming in 2015 of sixth place. Oliver Gavin qualified best out of the two Corvettes with a laptime good enough for sixth on the grid. Jan Magnussen qualified the #3 down the order in eighth place out of the nine car GTLM field. Gavin started the race in the #4 and held onto sixth position before handing over to Tommy Milner. At the halfway point Milner would find himself in a battle with the #67 Ford GT of Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook. The battle not only was important for the race results but also the title as the #67 was only seven points behind #4 in the championship standings. Milner at the halfway point of the race would come together with the championship rival whilst defending his position, resulting in the #67 suffering damage and losing 12 laps. Fortunately Milner came away from the incident unscathed and was able to finish the race in fifth to stretch the championship lead to 11 points going into the final race of the year. After a disappointing qualifying result for the #3, Magnussen was able to gain three positions within the opening 43 minutes. With more outstanding pitwork from Corvette Racing crew, the #3 was able to gain another position. The #3 was able to further redeem itself after starting from eighth and moving up to third within a span of two hours. Garcia and Magnussen managed to accomplish a podium finish and with more time looked to have been able to challenge for the win.
The season would end in typical fashion with Road Atlanta hosting the season finale, 10 hour, Petit Le Mans. Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner needed to finish seventh or higher to seal the championship. During qualifying Antonio Garcia in the #3 Corvette was able to put up the best lap for Corvette Racing of 1:18.468 to secure second place on the GTLM grid. Garcia was only 0.152 off the pole position time. With the 10 car GTLM field only being seperated by 0.735 seconds from first to last, Milner qualified seventh with a 1:18.468. It was lining up to be a competitive final fight. Tommy Milner started the race and was able to move the #4 Corvette up the order from seventh to second within his two hour and 30 minute stint. The Corvette Racing pit crew yet again proved to be integral as they helped Milner gain a position at each pit stop. Oliver Gavin took over and just past the three hour mark, managed to take the GTLM class lead after a full-course caution period. Gavin stayed within a top two position before handing the #4 over to Marcel Fässler. The #4 at the hands of Fässler remained within the top three for three hours before dropping two spots after Fässler made a mistake going into turn one, to which he recovered from. Milner took over from Fässler with three hours remaining and was able to get back the two positions lost, placing the #4 back in a podium spot with two hours remaining. Oliver Gavin took over for the final 75 minutes of the race and brought the #4 Corvette C7.R across the finish line in third to sweep the championship standings. The #3 Corvette of Garcia, Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller was aiming for a win until a mistake on pit road dropped them down the order. Magnussen took over 90 minutes into the race and started gaining positions until a throttle malfunction cost the #3 four laps with under two hours remaining. With smart strategy and luck due to caution periods the #3 was able to gain back three of the four laps lost to finish fourth in class behind the sister car.
The 2016 season was the most successful year within the C7.R era of Corvette Racing. With a total of 12 podiums including five wins, two 1-2 finishes and a championship sweep. It would also be a historic year for Corvette Racing with the team accomplishing their 100th win at Lime Rock Park and their 11th manufacturers title. Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner won the 2016 GTLM Drivers Championship with a total of 345 points. Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook of Ford Chip Ganassi Racing finished second in the standings with 328 points. With a late season performance, Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen secured third in the drivers standings with 319 points. The #4 Corvette Racing crew took the title in the 2016 GTLM Teams Championship with the #3 Corvette Racing crew taking third behind the #67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team. Chevrolet won the 2016 GTLM Manufacturers title with 359 points making Ford the runner-up with 341 points and Porsche third with 330 points. The Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup made up by the four endurance races within the season at Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta, was also swept by Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner and the #4 crew.
|Race||Race Date||Race Distance (time)||Track||Car Number||Class Position||Overall Position||Start Position||Drivers||Laps Completed||Fastest Lap||Series||Class|
|Rolex 24 at Daytona||January 30 – 31 2016||24 Hours||Daytona International Speedway||4||1||7||6||Oliver Gavin / Tommy Milner / Marcel Fässler||722||1:44.563||IMSA||GTLM|
|Rolex 24 at Daytona||January 30 – 31 2016||24 Hours||Daytona International Speedway||3||2||8||8||Antonio Garcia / Jan Magnussen / Mike Rockenfeller||722||1:44.012||IMSA||GTLM|
|64th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida||March 19 2016||12 Hours||Sebring International Raceway||4||1||11||6||Oliver Gavin / Tommy Milner / Marcel Fässler||235||1:59.571||IMSA||GTLM|
|64th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida||March 19 2016||12 Hours||Sebring International Raceway||3||9, Accident||41, Accident||5||Antonio Garcia / Jan Magnussen / Mike Rockenfeller||202||1:59.481||IMSA||GTLM|
|Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach||April 16 2016||100 Minutes||Long Beach Street Circuit||4||2||13||4||Oliver Gavin / Tommy Milner||73||1:18.734||IMSA||GTLM|
|Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach||April 16 2016||100 Minutes||Long Beach Street Circuit||3||9, DNF||22, DNF||5||Antonio Garcia / Jan Magnussen||65||1:18.533||IMSA||GTLM|
|Continental Monterey Grand Prix Powered by Mazda||May 1 2016||2 Hours||Mazda Raceway Leguna Seca||3||4||10||6||Antonio Garcia / Jan Magnussen||78||1:24.640||IMSA||GTLM|
|Continental Monterey Grand Prix Powered by Mazda||May 1 2016||2 Hours||Mazda Raceway Leguna Seca||4||7||13||4||Oliver Gavin / Tommy Milner||78||1:24.019||IMSA||GTLM|
|84th Edition des 24 Heures du Mans||June 18 – 19 2016||24 Hours||Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans||63||7||25||14||Antonio Garcia / Jan Magnussen / Ricky Taylor||336||3:53.398||ACO||GTE Pro|
|84th Edition des 24 Heures du Mans||June 18 – 19 2016||24 Hours||Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans||64||DNF, Accident||DNF, Accident||13||Oliver Gavin / Tommy Milner / Jordan Taylor||219||3:54.359||ACO||GTE Pro|
|Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen||July 3 2016||6 Hours||Watkins Glen International||4||4||14||6||Oliver Gavin / Tommy Milner||190||1:42.657||IMSA||GTLM|
|Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen||July 3 2016||6 Hours||Watkins Glen International||3||7||17||8||Antonio Garcia / Jan Magnussen||190||1:42.663||IMSA||GTLM|
|Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix||July 10 2016||2 Hours 45 Minutes||Canadian Tire Motorsport Park||4||2||15||6||Oliver Gavin / Tommy Milner||119||1:16.023||IMSA||GTLM|
|Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix||July 10 2016||2 Hours 45 Minutes||Canadian Tire Motorsport Park||3||3||17||1||Antonio Garcia / Jan Magnussen||119||1:15.952||IMSA||GTLM|
|Northeast Grand Prix Lime Rock||July 23 2016||2 Hours 40 Minutes||Lime Rock Park||4||1||5||3||Oliver Gavin / Tommy Milner||167||51.341||IMSA||GTLM|
|Northeast Grand Prix Lime Rock||July 23 2016||2 Hours 40 Minutes||Lime Rock Park||3||2||6||6||Antonio Garcia / Jan Magnussen||167||51.474||IMSA||GTLM|
|Continental Tire Road Race Showcase Road America||August 7 2016||2 Hours 40 Minutes||Road America, Elkhart Lake||4||1||13||7||Oliver Gavin / Tommy Milner||70||2:04.135||IMSA||GTLM|
|Continental Tire Road Race Showcase Road America||August 7 2016||2 Hours 40 Minutes||Road America, Elkhart Lake||3||6||18||6||Antonio Garcia / Jan Magnussen||70||2:04.352||IMSA||GTLM|
|Oak Tree Grand Prix Virginia||August 28 2016||2 Hours 40 Minutes||Virgina International Raceway||3||1||1||1||Antonio Garcia / Jan Magnussen||90||1:42.776||IMSA||GTLM|
|Oak Tree Grand Prix Virginia||August 28 2016||2 Hours 40 Minutes||Virgina International Raceway||4||9||17||2||Oliver Gavin / Tommy Milner||86||1:42.603||IMSA||GTLM|
|Lone Star Le Mans||September 18 2016||2 Hours 45 Minutes||Circuit Of The Americas, Austin||3||3||13||8||Antonio Garcia / Jan Magnussen||74||2:05.150||IMSA||GTLM|
|Lone Star Le Mans||September 18 2016||2 Hours 45 Minutes||Circuit Of The Americas, Austin||4||5||15||6||Oliver Gavin / Tommy Milner||73||2:05.671||IMSA||GTLM|
|Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda||October 1 2016||10 Hours||Road Atlanta||4||3||11||7||Oliver Gavin / Tommy Milner / Marcel Fässler||398||1:18.749||IMSA||GTLM|
|Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda||October 1 2016||10 Hours||Road Atlanta||3||4||12||2||Antonio Garcia / Jan Magnussen / Mike Rockenfeller||397||1:18.912||IMSA||GTLM|
#3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R Drivers 2016 (#63 used for Le Mans)
Antonio Garcia took over full time driving duties with Corvette Racing in 2012 after replacing Olivier Berretta. In his first full season with the team he helped Corvette Racing accomplish five class podium finishes, which played a major part in handing Corvette Racing their ninth ALMS Manufactures Championship.
Garcia entered his fifth year as a full time Corvette Racing driver in 2016. Garcia had fallen short of a title in the C7.R the previous two seasons, however he was able to take the class win at the 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 2015 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Coming into 2016, many improvements had been made to the C7.R to meet the new GTE Pro regulations. The changes proved to make a difference when Garcia hunted down teammate; Oliver Gavin leading the GTLM class in the final 15 minutes of the 2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Garcia would cross the finish line side by side with Gavin in second place by only 0.034 seconds. Garcia was able to take his first and only win of the 2016 season at Virginia International Raceway. Throughout 2016, Garcia scored two pole positions, five podiums including one win and two 1-2 finishes. His performance resulted in finishing third in the GTLM Drivers Championship.
Garcia is regarded as one of the best GT drivers in the world. He has claimed multiple victories at the biggest endurance races in world such as Le Mans, Sebring and Daytona. Garcia won back-to-back IMSA titles in 2017 and 2018 and has never finished lower than third in points dating back to his first full season with Corvette Racing in 2012.
- Birthdate: June 5th, 1980
- Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
- Residence: Barcelona, Spain
- Family: wife and two children
- Corvette Racing: 2009 – Present
Notable Career Highlights
- 2013 ALMS GT Champion
- 2017 and 2018 IMSA GTLM WeatherTech Champion
- 24 Hours of Le Mans winner – 2008-09 (GT1), 2011 (GTE Pro)
- Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona winner – 2009 (Overall), 2015 (GTLM)
- Sebring 12 Hours winner – 2009 (GT1), 2015 (GTLM), 2017 (GTLM)
For 2016, Jan Magnussen returned to Corvette Racing for his 11th year with team. After finishing as runner-up in the 2014 GTLM drivers championship and third in 2015, Magnussen was looking to get the new and improved C7.R its first title. The previous year Magnussen with driving partners Antonio Garcia and Ryan Briscoe was able to achieve back to back victories at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Throughout the 2016 season, Magnussen scored five podiums including one win and two 1-2 finishes that resulted in finishing third in the 2016 GTLM drivers championship.
Magnussen started his racing career in 1990 racing single-seaters. In 1994 Magnussen won the British Formula 3 Championship with Paul Stewart Racing breaking Ayrton Senna’s record of most wins in a single season, capturing 14 wins out of 18 races.
Magnussen would become a Formula 1 test driver for McLaren before competing in DTM and International Touring Car Championship between 1995 and 1996, where he finished second in the 1996 ITC Championship. Magnussen would become a full time Formula 1 driver for the Stewart Grand Prix team in 1997, where he would accomplish a career best sixth place finish at the Montreal Grand Prix in 1998.
Magnussen joined Panoz Motorsports in 1999 to compete in the ALMS where he captured six wins. He would become part of the Corvette- Ferrari rivalry in 2003, driving the Prodrive Ferrari and would join Corvette Racing the following year.
A legend in Denmark, his aggressive racing style and take-no-prisoners mentality made him very popular with the fans. Magnussen became a full time driver with Corvette Racing in 2007 and throughout his time with the team, accomplished 35 wins. In 2008 Magnussen became the ALMS GT1 Driver Champion with teammate Johnny O’connell and would win the IMSA GT Drivers Championship with Antonio Garcia in 2013.
- Birthdate: July 4th, 1973
- Birthplace: Roskilde, Denmark
- Residence: Roskilde, Denmark
- Family: Wife Christina, sons Kevin and Luca, daughter Millie
- Corvette Racing: 2004-2019
Notable Career Highlights
- Two time ALMS Driver Champion – 2008 (GT1), 2013 (GT)
- Two time IMSA WeatherTech GTLM Champion – 2017, 2018
- Four time 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner – 2004 (GTS), 2005, 2006, 2009 (GT1)
- Rolex 24 at Daytona GTLM class winner – 2015
- Five time 12 Hours of Sebring class winner – 2006, 2008, 2009 (GT1), 2015, 2017 (GTLM)
- ALMS “Most Popular Driver” – 2001, 2003, 2011, 2013
Mike Rockenfeller (Daytona, Sebring and Petit Le Mans)
Mike Rockenfeller made his Corvette Racing debut in 2016 as the third driver for three of the four endurance races. Joining Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen in the #3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, Mike was able to score a podium at his first race with the team, when the #3 finished 0.034 seconds behind the sister car during the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Rockenfeller is one of the most accomplished drivers of his generation with a résumé that boasts a DTM Championship and wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Rolex 24 at Daytona, Twelve Hours of Sebring, Spa 24 Hours and the Nürbürgring 24 Hours.
Nicknamed “Rocky”, Mike Rockenfeller started racing in go-karts at the age of 11, where he was also his own mechanic. At the age of 18 he became a Porsche Junior driver to be promoted the following year to a full Porsche works driver. In 2005 Rockenfeller won six races in the FIA GT series including the Spa 24 Hours to become the GT champion. He would also win within the same year the GT2 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In 2007, Rocky would join the DTM series driving for Audi Sport Team Rosberg and raced for the Audi factory team in the Audi R10 TDi at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The following year Mike would become the LMP1 champion in the Le Mans Series with Audi Sport Team Joest. After multiple attempts, Rockenfeller would finally become the overall winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2010 driving the Audi R15 TDi Plus. In 2013, Rockenfeller accomplished two victories and multiple runner-up finishes in the DTM series to become the champion.
To date Rocky races for Abt Sportsline in the DTM series as well as for Action Express Racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship driving a Cadillac DPi-V.R.
- Birthdate: October 31st, 1983
- Birthplace: Neuwied, Germany
- Residence: Landschlacht, Switzerland
- Family: Wife Susanne, sons Phil and Paul, daughter Stella
- Corvette Racing: 2016-2019
Notable Career Highlights
- German Carrera Cup Champion – 2004
- FIA GT Champion – 2005 (GT)
- Le Mans Series Champion – 2008 (LMP1)
- 24 Hours of Le Mans winner – 2005 (GT2), 2010 (LMP1)
- Rolex 24 at Daytona winner – 2010 (DP)
- DTM Champion – 2013
- Twelve Hours of Sebring winner – 2017 (GTLM)
Ricky Taylor (Le Mans)
Ricky Taylor joined Corvette Racing for the second time in his career as the third driver in the #63 Corvette C7.R at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Ricky had previously driven the C7.R in 2014 at the 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas, FIA WEC race with his brother Jordan Taylor and Tommy Milner.
Son of legendary race driver and team owner Wayne Taylor, Ricky became series champion of single seaters’ school Skip Barber Southern in 2006 and runner-up of Skip Barber National in 2007.
In 2008, Ricky joined his father’s team of Wayne Taylor Racing to drive a Riley-Pontiac Daytona Prototype for the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the Rolex Grand-Am series. Later that year Ricky joined Doran’s team to compete in the final six races of the season. For the 2009 season, Ricky signed with Beyer to drive a Riley-Pontiac/Chevrolet in the Rolex Grand-Am series.
2012 would become the breakout year for Ricky Taylor driving the new Chevrolet Corvette DP in the Rolex Grand-Am series. He accomplished three wins and seven top five finishes. The following year, Ricky would get his first taste of driving a Pratt & Miller Corvette at the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours. Driving the Corvette C6.R GT for Labre Competition, Taylor finished fifth in the GTE Am class.
Ricky Taylor would become the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Daytona Prototype champion in 2017 for Wayne Taylor Racing, and in 2020 with Acura Team Penske.
- Birthdate: August 3rd, 1989
- Birthplace: Surrey, England
- Residence: Apopka, Florida
- Family: Single
- Corvette Racing: 2014, 2016
Notable Career Highlights
- Skip Barber Southern Series Champion – 2007
- IMSA Prototype Lites race winner – 2008
- Rolex Grand-Am series DP Championship runner-up – 2010, 2011
- IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DP Champion – 2017, 2020
#4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R Drivers 2016 (#64 used for Le Mans)
Oliver Gavin returned for his 14th year with Corvette Racing in 2016. It would be the fifth year Gavin would be paired with Tommy Milner with the duo having a history of success including the 2012 ALMS GT Drivers title. Gavin and Milner won the GT class at the 2013 Twelve Hours of Sebring and became the GTE Pro class winner at the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours.
Since the team evolved into the C7.R era, Gavin and Milner had struggled to compete with their teammates. Pratt & Miller made improvements to the C7.R in 2016 to meet the new regulations, which resulted in Gavin and Milner returning to their previous glory. Gavin was able to defend against his teammate Antonio Garcia in the dying minutes of the 2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona, to steal the GTLM class win by 0.034 seconds. At the following race, Gavin was able to win the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Oliver Gavin was able to create Corvette Racing history by taking the 100th win for the team at Lime Rock Park. Gavin and Milner would take the race win at the very next race at Road America. With a total of seven podiums including four race wins throughout 2016, Oliver Gavin won his fifth drivers championship with Corvette Racing. The success of Gavin and Milner also handed the #4 Corvette Racing crew the 2016 Teams Championship and Chevrolet the GTLM Manufacturers Championship to complete the clean sweep.
Oliver Gavin would become the most successful and longest-serving driver in Corvette Racing history. With 51 victories and five championships as part of the program, Gavin ranks as one of the most accomplished drivers in IMSA history. His Corvette Racing record included wins at Le Mans, Sebring, Daytona and Petit Le Mans. Gavin would win two championships with co-driver Tommy Milner (2012 and 2016) and would become the longest-running driver pairing in IMSA history at the time of the start of the 2020 season.
- Birthdate: September 29th, 1972
- Birthplace: Huntington, England
- Residence: Yardley Hastings, England
- Family: Wife Helen; children Lily, Isaac, Fergus
- Corvette Racing: 2002-2020
Notable Career Highlights
- 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTLM Champion
- Four-time ALMS champion – 2005-07 (GTS/GT1), 2012 (GT)
- Five class wins in 24 Hours of Le Mans – 2002, 2004-06 (GTS/GT1), 2015 (GTLM Pro)
- Six class wins at 12 Hours of Sebring – 2001-02 (GTS), 2006-07 (GT1), 2013 (GT), 2016 (GTLM)
- Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona winner – 2016 (GTLM)
Tommy Milner returned for his fifth year as a full time driver with Corvette Racing for the 2016 season. Milner and driving partner Oliver Gavin had struggled to outperform their teammates since transitioning to the C7.R. For 2016, many improvements and adaptations had been made to the C7.R to take full advantage of the new GTE Pro regulations. This translated into immediate success for Milner with his first Rolex 24 at Daytona win at the start of the season. Milner would then collect his second victory at the Twelve Hours of Sebring the following race. Throughout 2016, Milner and Gavin achieved seven podiums including four wins to take the 2016 GTLM Drivers Championship. Milner also handed his #4 Corvette Racing crew the 2016 GTLM Teams Championship and Chevrolet the GTLM Manufacturers Championship.
A second-generation racer, Milner is son of noted team owner Tom Milner. Tommy Milner’s passion for racing started at a young age watching his fathers race team. Following success in go-karts Milner was chosen as one of the six North American drivers in Formula BMW USA junior drivers program in 2004. Later in the same year Milner made his sports car racing debut in the Grand-Am series with his father’s team, which paired him with former Corvette Racing driver Kelly Collins.
In 2006 Tommy Milner joined the American Le Mans Series driving for the Panoz Team PTG program in the GT2 class. In 2009 Milner became a full time driver with Rahal-Letterman to drive the new BMW M3 E92 GT where he accomplished three runner-up finishes and again the following season before joining Corvette Racing.
Milner’s debut season with Corvette Racing started very strong with a GT class podium finish in his first race for the team at Sebring and then he collected the GTE Pro class win at the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours. Tommy was integral to the victory at Le Mans as he chased down the class leading Ferrari of Toni Vilander in final hours of the race to eventually pass for the lead with only two hours remaining.
Since joining the team in 2011, Milner has won Le Mans twice, claimed two Drivers Championships and taken victories at Daytona and Sebring. Milner has competed in Formula and sports car series with distinction for factory-affiliated teams such as BMW and Chevrolet. His partnership with Oliver Gavin covered nine years making them the longest-running teammates in IMSA up to date.
- Birthdate: January 26th, 1986
- Birthplace: Washington D.C.
- Residence: Ashton, Virginia
- Family: Wife Lauren
- Corvette Racing: 2011 – Present
Notable Career Highlights
- Two-time class Driver’s Champion – 2012 (ALMS GT), 2016 (IMSA WeatherTech GTLM)
- Two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner – 2011 and 2015 (GTE Pro)
- Two-time 12 Hours of Sebring class winner – 2013 (GT) and 2016 (GTLM)
- Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona class winner – 2016 (GTLM)
Marcel Fässler (Daytona, Sebring and Petit Le Mans)
Marcel Fässler made his debut with Corvette Racing in 2009 in the role of the third driver for endurance races. After a six year absence, Fässler returned to Corvette Racing in 2016 as a third driver for three of the four endurance races.
Unfortunately at the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours the podium was taken away from Fässler in the last few hours of the race due to transmission failure. This was not Fässler’s first time behind the wheel of a Corvette race car as previously he had competed in the FIA GT Championship 24 Hours of Spa taking victory in the Carsport C6.R in 2008. Fässler went on to race a full season with Phoenix alongside Jean-Denis Deletraz in the C6.R taking one victory at Bucharest and five pole positions. Fässler redeemed himself at Le Mans later in 2010 when he finished second and then won the race overall with Audi in an R18 in 2011, 2012 and again in 2014.
At his first event after rejoining Corvette Racing, Fässler as part of the #4 Corvette C7.R won the Rolex 24 Hours with driving partners Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner in his first every visit to Daytona. Fässler would also help Gavin and Milner win the next race at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. With the championship on the line, the #4 Corvette needed to finish seventh or higher at the season finale to take the title. Fässler yet again put in a great performance to place the #4 C7.R in third at the finish line awarding the team with a clean sweep of the 2016 championship.
- Birthdate: May 27th, 1976
- Birthplace: Einsiedeln, Switzerland
- Residence: Gross, Switzerland
- Family: Wife Isabel
- Corvette Racing: 2009, 2016 – 2020
Notable Career Highlights
- Runner-up German Formula 3 Championship – 1999
- DTM race winner – 2003
- Runner-up FIA GT 24 Hours of Spa – 2006
- Winner FIA GT 24 Hours of Spa – 2007 (Overall)
- Runner-up 24 Hours of Le Mans – 2010 (Overall)
- Winner 24 Hours of Le Mans – 2011, 2012 and 2014 (Overall)
- Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona class winner – 2016 (GTLM)
Jordan Taylor (Le Mans)
Jordan Taylor returned for his fifth consecutive year with Corvette Racing as a third driver for endurance events. Due to commitment driving full time in a Daytona Prototype in the same series, Taylor would only be available for Corvette Racing at Le Mans throughout 2016.
Taylor had solidified himself as quite the Le Mans master, helping Corvette Racing achieve runner-up status in 2014 and taking the GTE Pro win in 2015. Unfortunately during the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours, Taylor’s #64 Corvette C7.R crashed at turn one on the 17th hour, whilst at the hands of Tommy Milner. The damage was too severe to repair, resulting in the car being retired from the race.
Taylor progressed quickly through karting and made his Grand-Am debut in the Rolex series in 2008. By 2011, Jordan Taylor paired with Bill Lester, took the Autohaus Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro to a runner-up finish in the GT Championship by only two points shy of the title.
Jordan Taylor became a full time driver for Corvette Racing at the start of the 2020 season replacing long time driver Jan Magnussen. Taylor is a two-time IMSA Prototype Driver Champion, having won in 2013 (Rolex Series) and 2017 (WeatherTech Championship) for his fathers race team of Wayne Taylor Racing. His older brother Ricky Taylor drives in the same series for Acura Team Penske in the IMSA Prototype class.
- Birthdate: May 10th, 1991
- Birthplace: Orlando, Florida
- Residence: Apopka, Florida
- Family: Single
- Corvette Racing: 2012 – 2017, 2020 – Present
Notable Career Highlights
- 24 Hours of Le Mans winner – 2015 (GTE Pro)
- Two-time IMSA Prototype Champion – 2013, 2017
- Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona winner – 2017, 2019
- Sebring 12 Hours winner – 2017 (Overall)