Corvette Racing Kicks Off 2018 Season with Daytona Podium

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Chevy vs. Ford in the GTLM category proved a tough battle, but the season is long. 

Corvette Racing took to the high banks of Daytona International Raceway January 27-28 to compete in the first round of the IMSA season, their 20th season in the series, the famous 24 Hours of Daytona sports car race. In IMSA’s GTLM category, the highest class for GT cars in the series, Corvette was immediately on pace and ran a stellar race with no mistakes or issues. They spent less time on pit lane than any other team, but they were just a bit slower than the ultimate race winners, Ford’s spaceship-shaped GT, which placed 1-2 to Corvette’s 3-4 finish.

Jan Magnussen had put in the pole-winning time in qualifying, but the race is very long, and Ford’s race pace was just a bit quicker than Corvette’s ultimately scoring the Motown rivals a two-lap lead at the finish 24 hours later. Both cars ran strong races and fought hard to avoid any incidents or off-track excursions. In recent years there have been many caution periods which help to bunch up the field, but this year the race was punctuated by only four full-course cautions, meaning the Fords were given an opportunity to stretch the lead.

The team are confident that this strong result will lead them toward another run of championships at the end of the season. The race is long, but the season is longer, and they’ve got plenty of opportunities to find points advantage.

ANTONIO GARCIA, Driver, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “I think we can be happy. We again didn’t make any mistakes by the drivers, the pit stops were fine… we may have had an unscheduled stop for brakes. Other than that, everything worked perfect. We just didn’t have the pace. It was a little bit like what happened a lot last year. If this was Lime Rock, I’d be super happy with third. But here at Daytona or Le Mans, you only want to win. That’s part of our driver mentality… we want to win these races. But we can be proud. Our guys did a fantastic job. We showed all we had and gave it all. If the Fords were faster than us, we can’t do anything else but congratulate them. We just didn’t have enough to fight them, especially with the limited number of yellow flags.”

OLIVER GAVIN, Driver, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “Today was tough… hard, demanding. But the team never, ever gave up. They always had a plan and a strategy to try and get us back to the front. We worked through any problem we had. We didn’t have a completely faultless race; there were some issues and problems we had to work through. But that is what this team is fantastic at – working through the problems. Yes, we got fourth place today but that’s great points for us. Last year we finished ninth here, and it wasn’t a particularly good start for us. But this year we have good fourth place points. It gets us a good start in the championship. That’s positive. We are now moving ahead to Sebring. That race is another classic and another gem in the endurance racing crown. We are looking forward to that. But 24-hour races are tough; they are brutal. And today’s was just another one of those. I was surprised that there were only four cautions throughout the entire race. That was really, really surprising. So this was a good, solid fourth place to the team. Good points and we will move on to Sebring.”

Photos for Corvette Forum: Kris Hansen

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

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