Corvette Racing One and Two in GTLM at Daytona
It’s incredible to think that in 24-hours of racing, a finish would come down to mere fractions of a second. But that’s exactly what happened in the GT LeMans Class at the Rolex 24-Hours of Daytona, with Corvette Racing’s No. 4 and No. 3 C7.Rs setting a new record for Margin of Victory.
In the first hour of racing, Porsche led while the No. 67 Ford GT suffered a gearbox issue. The Corvettes bided their time, but it really felt like a sprint race after every caution. By the second hour, the other GT had found its teething issue and put both of Ford’s GTLM efforts far out of contention. The N0. 3 Corvette held podium spot until hour three, when the No. 4 and No. 3 took the top two spots over the No. 911 Porsche. That held all the way until hour five, when Mike Rockenfeller took the No. 3 lead against the Porsches, though not before the No. 2 Daytona Prototype spun behind the No. 4 Corvette.
It would continue to be a battle against Porsche and Corvette in GTLM for a majority of the Rolex, with each make’s car swapping the lead every hour or so. By hour 16, Oliver Gavin was leading with Magnussen in third, just behind the Porsche sitting in second. At hour 17, the No. 912 was passed by both Corvettes, but kept nose to tail until just short of hour 19, when the No. 911 had to replace a driveshaft and the 912 continued to fall back into the field. Then at 11:00am, just before hour 21, the No. 4 Corvette, with Marcel Fassler driving, was served a stop-and-go penalty while the No. 3 continued to lead.
Heading down into the final hours, Gavin was only 0.2-second behind the Porsche at hour 23, but took the lead in the final pitstop. The Porsche retook the lead but, in tight racing, the No. 4 with Oliver Gavin driving bumped into the No. 912. IMSA saw no foul on Gavin’s part and no penalty was assessed against him. Then Garcia in the No. 3 drove past the Porsche at the bus stop and put Corvette one and two in GTLM. The race was still far from over and Garcia pushed to catch up to the other C7.R. Garcia then tried to use the draft on the final lap and final two corners of the Rolex, but would end up finishing in second, just 0.034-second behind the No. 4 driven by Oliver Gavin.
After the race, Chevrolet released this statement from Gavin: “My first one here. Great to share it with these two guys; Tommy and Marcel drove brilliantly throughout the race. And it was an amazing effort by everybody at Corvette Racing, and I’m thrilled to be able to stand on the top step there and get an amazing victory here.”
Amazing indeed! Be sure to sound off on the forums about Corvette’s historic win at this year’s Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.