Corvette Racing’s IMSA Weekend at Laguna Seca: Photos and Results

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IMSA - Laguna Seca - Keiron Berndt

With a 4th-position finish this weekend, Corvette drivers Magnussen and Garcia have essentially locked up the GTLM class championship.

IMSA racing last weekend was spectacular from beginning to end, with phenomenal battles in all three classes. The season nears its end, and as Laguna Seca’s nearly-three-hour race represented the penultimate round of the championship, drivers were fighting tooth and nail for an opportunity to keep their championship hopes alive.

IMSA - Laguna Seca - Keiron Berndt

Of course, as Corvette fans, we were most interested in how the race would unfold for the bright-yellow #3 and #4, as well as the title implications of the race outcome for the points leaders, Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia.

Sunday was a gorgeous day near the coast for Corvette Racing and the rest of the field. As the green flag flew, both bright yellow grunt machines were shouting their way forward from the back of the field.

After a shemozzle at the Andretti Hairpin, one of the BMWs spun out, and the #4 Corvette suffered some diffuser damage after being hit from behind.

They were given a rough shake, but after a long stop to swap out the diffuser, they were able to gather tire and fuel data for their championship-contending teammates.

Jan Magnussen started the #3 car from seventh in the GTLM class, as the team chose to focus on race setup rather than ultimate Saturday qualifying pace. Call it karmic payback for the #4’s issues, if you like, but the 3 car was given a stroke of good luck when the other BMW was punted off course at turn 3 and stuck himself in the gravel trap.

The stuck car called out a full-course caution, but Antonio Garcia was able to get the car into the pits before they closed. Once everyone had cycled through their pit stops, the car was elevated from seventh to second. Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan said it best, “When you put together great race strategy with perfect pit execution and you have drivers of the talent level that we have at Corvette Racing, you’re going to make things happen that ordinarily wouldn’t. Today we showed that again.”

 

‘This has been a perfect season for Corvette Racing
and the No. 3 car engineers and crew.’

 

Rather than risk their championship points on potentially running out of fuel, the team chose to run a conservative strategy that saw them finish fourth in class.

Antonio Garcia, driver of the #3 Corvette, summed up their weekend: “I think we played all year long, I can’t remember us making a mistake. I don’t know… I would have to go back race-by-race. But I think this has been a perfect season for Corvette Racing and the No. 3 car engineers and crew. Whenever we had the car, we made most out of it and whenever we didn’t, we still made good points… just like today.”

The IMSA season ends with the 10-hour Petit Le Mans race from Road Atlanta on Saturday, Oct 7. By virtue of starting that race, Corvette Racing’s #3 team of Magnussen and Garcia will have earned enough points to clinch their GTLM class championship. Barring something ridiculous happening, this will be Corvette Racing’s second championship in a row, and their 12th title since the team’s modern IMSA era began in 2001.

We were at the track to capture the action with our favorite photographer Keiron Berndt. Check out more of his work on Instagram: @Keiron_Berndt.

Bradley Brownell is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum and 6SpeedOnline, among other auto sites.

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