Corvette Racing’s No. 3 duo of Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia extended their championship lead in the drivers’ title with their win at the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR – their second consecutive win in a row at Virginia International Raceway.
The pair entered the race weekend with the lead, but problems for the No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM and No. 66 Ford GT during the race allowed the drivers of the Corvette C7.R to stretch their lead to 16 points.
“It’s unbelievable for us to come away with a win,” Magnussen said.
“Honestly, in the middle of the race it kind of looked like a situation of ‘OK, we aren’t losing too much in the championship – a couple of points here, a couple of points there, but we would still stay in the lead of the championship.’
“Then for things to turn around like they did in the last half-hour with the BMW coming up short [on fuel] and the Ferrari falling off… crazy, absolutely crazy result.”
With two races to go in the championship, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, that extended point lead becomes even more crucial.
Garcia believes strategy was the key to Corvette’s success at VIR.
“I think the key was stopping one or two laps longer than the Ferrari and the Ford because I had really clear laps from those two, in the low 1:42s that made me so close to the Ferrari and especially to be ahead of the Ford coming out of the pits,” Garcia said.
“That was 90 percent of the race… that pit stop and being able to get in front of them. It was a very hard two laps coming out of the pits on cold tires but I knew if I was able to do that most of the race would come down to that.
“It was keeping the pressure up on the Ferrari to force a mistake, and we didn’t allow the BMW to run very slow to make it to the end. That is part of racing. I think we definitely deserve this one.”
The win also moves Chevrolet to the lead of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, ahead Ford, which led before VIR. The gap between the two now stands at two points with the advantage to the bowtie.