Corvette Racing’s Weekend at Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta
Corvette C7.R caps off its championship-winning season by finishing second and fourth at Petit Le Mans.
For the entirety of the 2017 season, the GT Le Mans class of IMSA‘s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship has consisted of masterfully close competition between great manufacturer-supported teams and drivers. By virtue of pure race pace, and a steady flow of results at each round, Corvette Racing managed to pull off a stellar championship.
Simply by taking the green flag at Road Atlanta, the team scored enough points to put a pin in that championship, which allowed them to put all of their cards on the table and race for the victory in the season-closing, ten-hour race on Saturday. As much as they tried, though, BMW’s superior fuel mileage snatched victory from the bright-yellow Kentucky kids. Second is a decent consolation prize, though.
Over the course of the 10-hour event, six different GTLM-class cars led the race, and the top seven cars all finished on the lead lap, making for a very close and very hard-fought race. With 392 laps completed at the famed North Georgia circuit (just shy of 1,000 miles total) the top finishing Corvette — the #3 car of Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller — finished just one second off the class victory. That very car had been in the lead of the class no less than four separate times, but fell just short at the checkered flag. Thankfully, our friend and stellar photographer, Keiron Berndt was there to capture the whole race in gorgeous photography for us.
The #4 Corvette C7.R of Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Marcel Fässler had a rough go of things early in the race, struggling with wet conditions. As the endurance battle continued, however, they kept creeping up the timesheets and stayed within sight of the leaders most of the day. The final stint, with Milner at the wheel, was particularly masterful as it saw him pass three competitors in just the final five minutes of the event. Fourth was the best they could do, but with a field as stacked as GTLM, that’s nothing to sneeze at.
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Corvette Racing capped its championship-winning season Saturday with a runner-up finish at Road Atlanta’s Petit Le Mans in the #3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. It put a Bowtie on a day that saw Corvette Racing and Chevrolet sweep the GT Le Mans (GTLM) Manufacturer, Driver and Team titles in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Jan Magnussen may have summarized the race best with this quote provided by Corvette Racing: “A fantastic day and a fantastic race. The whole category has been so close all day long. It was difficult to really make a difference out there… to pass people. You kind of had to wait for mistakes, but nobody made mistakes.”
Now we just have to wait a little over 100 days for the 2018 season to kick off in January at Daytona for the 24-hour race. It can’t come soon enough.