Corvettes Suffer Unusually Rough Weekend at 12 Hours Of Sebring
Florida’s bumpy Sebring International Raceway brought ire to the usually strong Corvette Racing team.
Sebring International Raceway in central Florida is widely known as the most abusive, beat-your-car-to-death, race track in just about all of North America. Hustle around it for 12 hours and it’s a true test of man and machine. Corvette factory teams have won their respective classes there, including last year, but 2018’s race was far different.
Qualifying started out quite disastrous with Corvette cars #3 and #4 cars respectively taking 7th and 9th (dead last) in class, and things didn’t improve the next day for the race.
Any solace of a clean race was scrubbed within the first few turns as Anthony Garcia in last year’s winning #3 Corvette had contact with a Ferrari, and the result was a punctured tire. Given that it was a 12 hour race, and this happened in the early going, it was simply an inconvenience than a deal breaker for a win.
However, at about the 90 minute mark, Garcia’s Corvette suffered yet another issue, and this time it was a strange one. Electrical issues started to plague the Corvette. Rather than fixing the car on the pit lane, team orders had Garcia pull the car back into the paddock so all tools and team members can get to work changing batteries and alternators. This six-lap loss was a big blow to their chances of even a podium, but Corvette put the #3 back on track, with Jan Magnussen at the helm.
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An hour later, the same electrical problem crept back up again. But the #4 Corvette piloted by Oliver Gavin found his way to the lead of the class. So at least there was one silver lining just before the half way mark in the race.
Three quarters through the race, and the #4 Corvette had fallen into 4th position, but was still hanging close with only a 10 second gap from the leader. However by the end of the race, that position had fallen even further to 6th, based on the tight and competitive field, but one lap down from the leaders. A further 44 laps behind was the #3 Corvette.
As they say, motorsport contains the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Certainly Corvette Racing felt that later emotion, coming back as defending champions of the 12 Hours of Sebring.