Michelin Alley takes a deeper look at the GT Le Mans teams’ performances at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Corvette Racing ran a flawless race of its own but could only muster third and fourth.
Car: Corvette C7.R
Drivers: 3-Antonio Garcia/Jan Magnussen/Mike Rockenfeller, 4-Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fassler
2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona Started/Finished: 3-Pole/3rd, 4-6th/4th
Laps Led: 3 of 783 (4-3)
Fastest Laps: 1:44.437 (4-Gavin, 4th), 1:44.517 (3-Rockenfeller, 5th)
Recap: Although Corvette Racing was unable to return to victory lane after going back-to-back in 2015 and 2016, a solid team effort netted a third and fourth place finish out of the gate for the pair of Corvette C7.Rs. Jan Magnussen and Oliver Gavin worked together in qualifying to ensure Magnussen could draft Gavin to get the first pole of the year, and edge Ford in the process. Both Fords passed the Corvettes on the opening lap of the race, but they were consistently third and fourth from there, where they finished to kick off their 20th season of racing.
Turning Point: Beyond the pass at the start, the only time the Corvettes were close to the Fords during the race came in the morning hours after the fourth and final caution of the race. After running a lap behind, a wave around placed the No. 3 Corvette right behind the Fords at the restart before it steadily dropped back from there. Neither car’s fastest race lap was within three tenths of the Fords, so the Corvette team again used strategy and consistency to maintain track position.
— Michelin Alley (@MichelinAlley) January 28, 2018
Notes: The No. 3 Corvette banked its 15th straight top-five finish in class, a stretch that runs since VIR 2016 (won from pole); the last time this car ended outside the top five was Road America, 2016. … The No. 4 Corvette scored its second straight top-five after ending fourth in 2017 Petit Le Mans. This car did not have back-to-back top-fives all of 2017.
Quotes: “I think we can be happy,” said Garcia. “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.”