CORVETTE RACING AT LE MANS: 20TH START IN HOPES OF NINTH VICTORY - RNW | RacingNewsWorldwide.com | Your latest racing news
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CORVETTE RACING AT LE MANS: 20TH START IN HOPES OF NINTH VICTORY

CORVETTE RACING AT LE MANS: 20TH START IN HOPES OF NINTH VICTORY
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For the 20th straight year, Corvette Racing is set to take on the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Following a successful run on the Le Mans Test Day last weekend, endurance racing’s premier GT sports car team has put finishing touches on its preparations for a ninth class victory.

Corvette Racing has been a constant at Le Mans the past two decades. It has generated a global following with its successes at Le Mans, fan-friendly approach and roaring V8-powered Corvette race cars. This year’s Le Mans is the sixth for the Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, which has recorded a victory and two other podium finishes in that time.

There’s still plenty of life in the Corvette C7.R, has evidenced by its showing on the June 2 Test Day. Mike Rockenfeller was the fastest GTE Pro driver with the No. 63 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R that he shares with full-season teammates Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen. In the No. 64 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette, Tommy Milner set the Test Day’s third-quickest time in class; he is driving with Marcel Fässler and full-season teammate Oliver Gavin.

As has been standard practice, Corvette Racing did not concern itself with outright speed and pace on the Test Day. Instead, the team worked toward race setup by concentrating on items like tire compounds and pressure, suspension components and other areas that will insure the two Corvettes will be in the best possible position come Saturday and Sunday.

It’s a formula that has worked for 20 years. Since debuting at Le Mans in 2000, Corvette Racing has scored eight class victories and accumulated nearly 100,000 racing miles at the 24 Hours. Very rarely has the Corvette been quickest over a single lap, a testament to the team’s commitment to the long game at Le Mans.

Corvette Racing also will try to carry over its momentum from the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s early-season run to Le Mans. Garcia and Magnussen, winners of the last two GT Le Mans (GTLM) titles, have reeled off three straight podium finishes and sit second in points after four races… a similar to start to their 2018 campaign.

And the GTLM champions before Garcia and Magnussen went back-to-back in 2017-18? That would be Milner and Gavin, who won the Rolex 24 At Daytona in 2016 with Fässler. The Gavin/Milner duo have showed front-running pace at every IMSA race this season but have been snake bit with bad luck, although they did finish third in class at Long Beach.

Le Mans is the final race in the FIA World Endurance Championship Super Season. There is a total of 17 entries from five manufacturers in the GTE Pro category.

The achievements by the collection of six Corvette Racing drivers can’t be matched by any other entrant at Le Mans. The group has combined for 19 victories – an exemplary record at Le Mans:

Antonio Garcia: Three victories in 13 appearances- 2008, 2009 and 2011; runner-up in 2014; third place in 2017

Jan Magnussen: Four victories in 20 appearances- 2004-06, 2009; runner-up in 2003, 2007, 2008 and 2014; third place in 2017

Mike Rockenfeller: Two victories in nine appearances- 2005 and 2010; third place in 2012

Oliver Gavin: Five victories in 18 appearances – 2002, 2004-06, 2015; runner-up in 2003; third place in 2001 and 2008

Tommy Milner: Two victories in 10 appearances- 2011 and 2015

Marcel Fässler:Three victories in 13 appearances- 2011-12 and 2014; runner-up in 2010; third place in 2015

ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 63 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “We’ve not had a win in our Corvette since 2017. It’s been too long. We want to win for sure in IMSA but I’d be more than OK if it happens at Le Mans! It’s also been so long since I’ve won there. We have been close a couple times in the last three or four years. I really want to win it again. Preparation is always a good thing, and doing both the WEC and IMSA races at Sebring was a good step. There were some revelations of how we can execute at Le Mans instead of having to remember everything from a year ago. Everyone is well-prepared. Let’s see if that’s enough. Le Mans is unique. Once you win there, you want to do it again. The feeling of going across the line or when you are on the podium is so intense… it’s one of the best feelings you can ever have. All you want to do is get back up there.”

JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 63 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “Everyone at Corvette Racing has a lot of experience at Le Mans. But it’s not routine going there. Yes there are things we do year in and year out in terms of how we prepare ourselves and how you plan out the race. The race, the car and the track are always at least a little bit from year to year. The last couple of years we have been very competitive, and I believe that will be the case again this year. We will concentrate on our own plan and trying to execute that the best we can. As we’ve always done at Corvette Racing, we try to stick to our own plan… not worry so much about what everyone else is doing but have faith that our plan is good enough to win. And usually when our plan comes together, we end up coming out on top.”

MIKE ROCKENFELLER, NO. 63 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “Le Mans is so historical and such an old race with so many big racing moments and heroes. That it isn’t a permanent track is unique. Those are just a few things that make Le Mans special. It is hard to describe. When I first started racing in a professional level, I went to Le Mans when I was 18 to watch the race. I walked the track at night, saw the speed of the cars, glowing brake discs, sparks flying off the cars as the drivers pushed their cars to the limit all the time. That was an impression that I would never forget. From that point on, Le Mans meant so much to me. It still does as I’m back again with Corvette. We all are 100 percent focused on winning. That’s the greatest feeling… to be on the podium with all those people below. I’ve never had that feeling anywhere else in the world.”

OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 64 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “Le Mans is a unique beast; sometimes Le Mans it’s a beast that’s kind and is on your side, and other times it is absolutely horrible and it’s completely against you. You feel like you’re fighting against it the entire time you’re there. But that’s a reason why it’s such an amazing race. You try to get some influence over the race and shape it. If you can’t do that, then you’re a little bit in the passenger’s seat and waiting for someone to make a mistake. Every year you go there, it’s still quite unknown how you’re going to go because things are so tight in our class. We had a good Test Day and learned a lot. You can take all of those positives together and come up with what we know, what we’ve got and what we all know collectively as drivers and crew how things are going to go. Ultimately, you don’t find out if you’re really in the race with a chance until Saturday afternoon or Saturday evening.”

TOMMY MILNER, NO. 64 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “For the whole of the program, Le Mans is No. 1 on our lists of goals to achieve each year. From Corvette Racing’s side, this is a little bit of a one-off race and unique for us. There is added emphasis on Le Mans. That comes from the race itself – what Le Mans means, its history and its prestige. We get close to that in the U.S. with Sebring, Daytona and Petit Le Mans. Those are massive events that we all want to win. Not to take anything away from those events and successes, but Le Mans has something a little more. That name has a familiarity to it even to people who don’t follow racing. That all translates to everyone’s best effort. Everything is just done that one little notch higher or more intense. That comes with the territory of being at this race. Being at Le Mans each year gives you goosebumps every time.”

MARCEL FÄSSLER, NO. 64 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “Preparation for Le Mans has been good. We tested at Road America and course on the Le Mans Test Day. We also went to Charlotte for some work in the Chevrolet simulator. This was a good chance to adapt ourselves again to the Le Mans track. It was important to jump right into that to get up to speed and stay on pace. Corvette Racing has so much experience in preparing a car that needs to be up to battling for a victory at Le Mans because the manufacturer competition will be very tough. I’m really looking forward to this. I have three wins at Le Mans but never in GTE Pro, and this is something I’d like to achieve with Oliver, Tommy and the Corvette Racing team.”

Corvette Racing at Le Mans (Wins in bold)

2000
No. 63 Corvette C5-R: Ron Fellows/Chris Kneifel/Justin Bell – 4th in GTS
No. 64 Corvette C5-R: Andy Pilgrim/Kelly Collins/Franck Freon – 3rd in GTS

2001
No. 63 Corvette C5-R: Ron Fellows/Johnny O’Connell/Scott Pruett – 1st in GTS
No. 64 Corvette C5-R: Andy Pilgrim/Kelly Collins/Franck Freon – 2nd in GTS

2002
No. 63 Corvette C5-R: Ron Fellows/Johnny O’Connell/Oliver Gavin – 1st in GTS
No. 64 Corvette C5-R: Andy Pilgrim/Kelly Collins/Franck Freon – 2nd in GTS

2003
No. 53 Corvette C5-R: Ron Fellows/Johnny O’Connell/Franck Freon – 3rd in GTS
No. 50 Corvette C5-R: Oliver Gavin/Kelly Collins/Andy Pilgrim – 2nd in GTS

2004
No. 63 Corvette C5-R: Ron Fellows/Johnny O’Connell/Max Papis – 2nd in GTS
No. 64 Corvette C5-R: Olivier Beretta/Oliver Gavin/Jan Magnussen – 1st in GTS

2005
No. 63 Corvette C6.R: Ron Fellows/Johnny O’Connell/Max Papis – 2nd in GT1
No. 64 Corvette C6.R: Olivier Beretta/Oliver Gavin/Jan Magnussen – 1st in GT1

2006
No. 63 Corvette C6.R: Ron Fellows/Johnny O’Connell/Max Papis – 7th in GT1
No. 64 Corvette C6.R: Olivier Beretta/Oliver Gavin/Jan Magnussen – 1st in GT1

2007
No. 63 Corvette C6.R: Ron Fellows/Johnny O’Connell/Jan Magnussen – 2nd in GT1
No. 64 Corvette C6.R: Olivier Beretta/Oliver Gavin/Max Papis – 14th in GT1

2008
No. 63 Corvette C6.R: Ron Fellows/Johnny O’Connell/Jan Magnussen – 2nd in GT1
No. 64 Corvette C6.R: Olivier Beretta/Oliver Gavin/Max Papis – 3rd in GT1

2009
No. 63 Corvette C6.R: Jan Magnussen/Johnny O’Connell/Antonio Garcia – 1st in GT1
No. 64 Corvette C6.R: Olivier Beretta/Oliver Gavin/Marcel Fässler – 4th in GT1

2010
No. 63 Corvette C6.R: Jan Magnussen/Johnny O’Connell/Antonio Garcia – 12th in GT2 (DNF)
No. 64 Corvette C6.R: Olivier Beretta/Oliver Gavin/Emmanuel Collard – 10th in GT2 (DNF)

2011
No. 73 Corvette C6.R: Olivier Beretta/Tommy Milner/Antonio Garcia – 1st in GTE Pro
No. 74 Corvette C6.R: Oliver Gavin/Jan Magnussen/Richard Westbrook – 14th in GTE Pro (DNF)

2012
No. 73 Corvette C6.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor – 5th in GTE Pro
No. 74 Corvette C6.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Richard Westbrook – 6th in GTE Pro

2013
No. 73 Corvette C6.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor – 4th in GTE Pro
No. 74 Corvette C6.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Richard Westbrook – 7th in GTE Pro

2014
No. 73 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor – 2nd in GTE Pro
No. 74 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Richard Westbrook – 4th in GTE Pro

2015
No. 63 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Ryan Briscoe – DNS (Qualifying crash)
No. 64 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Jordan Taylor – 1st in GTE Pro

2016
No. 63 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Ricky Taylor – 7th in GTE Pro
No. 64 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Jordan Taylor – 10th in GTE Pro (DNF)

2017
No. 63 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor – 3rd in GTE Pro
No. 64 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler – 8th in GTLM

2018
No. 63 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Mike Rockenfeller – 4th in GTE Pro
No. 64 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler – 15th in GTE Pro (DNF)

Source. Corvette Racing

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