Throughout its 20 seasons of competition, Corvette Racing has filled its résumé with some of the best racetracks in the world – 26 to be exact. None may be more liked than Road America, the picturesque four-mile track in the Kettle Moraine region of Wisconsin.
The long straights and high speeds of Road America make it a favorite among fans and drivers. That includes, of course, those within the Corvette Racing program. As the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship rolls into the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, Corvette Racing is eager for its eighth class victory at the circuit – which would be No. 100 in IMSA competition – and a chance to close its gap in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) championships.
Road America has been part of Corvette Racing’s annual program since 2002, and the team’s record there is impressive to say the least. In addition to seven previous class wins, Corvette Racing drivers have claimed pole positions seven times and set the fastest race lap in its class eight times. The team is just shy of 10,000 racing miles completed, which doesn’t include thousands of more miles in testing and practice.
If momentum means anything, then Corvette Racing is in good shape entering the weekend. The duo of Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen, in the No. 3 Mobil 1iriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, has runner-up finishes in each of the last three races to move into second place in the GTLM Driver’s Championship and just one point out of first.
Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner, teammates in the No. 4 Mobil 1iriusXM Corvette, will attempt for their second Road America victory in three years. In 2016, the pairing won there as Milner went from fifth to first in the final 15 minutes to send he and Gavin to the GTLM title. This year, they stand fifth in points and only 13 from the lead.
Chevrolet remains second in Manufacturer points – 11 back with four races remaining.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1iriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “I remember it was very tricky at first to get up to speed at Road America because it’s such a long lap. It’s very difficult and very old-school. I loved it the first time I went there. One of the good things about racing in America is that we have these types of tracks – ones where you need to have bravery but you also are punished if you make a mistake. So it’s for sure very cool and very fun to race on these kinds of tracks like Road America. There are many corners like the Kink where you need to take a really deep breath every time you go by. For me, the entire track is interesting like that.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 MOBIL 1iriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “Road America is up there with places like Spa of everyone’s favorite tracks. Most European drivers usually pick Spa as their favorites, but the ones that have gone to Road America will see the similarities. For sure it’s one of my favorite tracks. It pays to be committed at Road America. You have to go for it there. There is much time to be gained in places like the Carousel and the Kink. If you do put it all on the line at those places and make it, there is often time gained there. It’s a long track with a lot of stuff happening… tight corners, medium-speed corners and then big corners like the Carousel and the Kink. You get so much satisfaction going around a place like this.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1iriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “It’s a fantastic racetrack with high speeds and great corners. It’s everything you want. There is a challenge there for every driver. Corvette Racing has had tremendous success there over the years so we are looking to build on that. There is a risk at Road America, but that’s what makes tracks in North America fantastic. At corners like the Carousel and the Kink, you really have to be on your game there. Any mistake is severely punished. We have a huge amount of fans there every year, and the fans there are particularly passionate. You see a wide variety of cars in the Corvette Corral there – all different ages going back to C1. It’s great to see the enthusiasts come along and share their passion for such a great car.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1iriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “All of the guys from Europe talk about how great tracks are in the U.S., and Road America is a perfect example of that. You feel like you are going somewhere throughout the lap. It’s such a great track for multi-class racing; we can have our own race in GTLM and still let the prototype cars go by. The track has really grown with sports car racing over the years. Back in the day, it was one of the best tracks around. And now today with cars that have lots of power and downforce, it’s still one of the best we go to every year. It challenges the driver in every aspect: setup, overtaking and everything that sports car racing is about.”
DOUG FEHAN, CORVETTE RACING PROGRAM MANAGER: “Of all the tracks Corvette Racing has visited in 20 years, Road America ranks among the finest. It is one of the best examples of a traditional, old-school road course anywhere in North America. It’s universally praised by fans and teams alike, and for good reason. It’s four miles of high speeds, extreme elevation change and fantastic corners of all kinds. What makes it more gratifying for us is the number of supporters we have each year in the Corvette Corral – the same place where our corral began. Our goal here is to gain as many points as we can as we work our way toward another championship.”
Source. Corvette Racing