Corvette Racing is used to facing sports car racing’s toughest tests. But this year’s trip to Sebring International Raceway may be its challenging yet.
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the FIA World Endurance Championship each will race around the 3.74-mile, 17-turn Sebring circuit March 15-16 with Corvette Racing participating in both events. It’s another opportunity for the program to show why it’s one of the best in the sport’s history.
Two Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs will contest Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in the WeatherTech series’ GT Le Mans (GTLM) class. The day before, one Corvette C7.R will compete in the 1,000 Miles of Sebring in the WEC’s GTE Pro category. All in all, it makes for one of Corvette Racing’s most demanding events.
Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Advance Auto Parts
In its 20-plus years of competition, Corvette Racing has racked up more victories than any team in IMSA history. Those 99 have come on some of North America’s classic road courses with 11 at the famed Sebring International Raceway. That’s where Corvette Racing returns for the 21st time in search of a fourth victory in five years at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
The event may as well be a home race. In 20 years, the Corvette Racing program has racked up 11,613 laps for 43,107.40 racing miles. There also are thousands of testing laps and miles that have filled the engineering and crew notebooks since 1999. What’s more, the six Corvette Racing drivers have combined to win 19 times at the circuit.
This year’s race offers a chance for a redemption of sorts following the first race of 2019 at Daytona. Both Corvettes led the GTLM class in the opening half of the Rolex 24. After coming back from a pitlane collision by its sister car, the No. 3 Corvette of defending GTLM Driver Champions Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen along Mike Rockenfeller made up three laps and led near the halfway point before running out of fuel on track. It was the result of a loss of telemetry between the Corvette and the pit stand.
Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Marcel Fässler were in contention at Daytona before a crash near the 16-hour mark after a high-speed hydroplane sent the No. 4 Corvette hard into the Turn 1 tires. It had been a remarkable run to the front for the trio, which started the race ninth in class.
FIA World Endurance Championship 1,000 Miles of Sebring
As if 12 hours around Sebring isn’t enough, Corvette Racing will be the only team to contest in both feature races of the Sebring weekend. Garcia, Magnussen and Rockenfeller will pilot the No. 63 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R in Friday’s race for the FIA WEC, which goes either 1,000 miles or eight hours.
It will be the third event for Corvette Racing in the FIA WEC’s “Super Season”, which began with the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans. Gavin and Milner also raced a Corvette C7.R in the Six Hours of Shanghai in November. That chassis will be the same one that Garcia, Magnussen and Rockenfeller will drive in the Sebring WEC round.
This will mark the second time Corvette Racing has competed in IMSA and FIA WEC rounds on the same weekend. The team entered a Corvette C7.R for Milner, Jordan Taylor and Ricky Taylor at Circuit of The Americas in 2014.
Chevrolet, Corvette on Display at Sebring
This year’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring will again feature a heavy dose of Chevrolet – the official vehicle of Sebring International Raceway. In addition to Corvette Racing’s three Corvette C7.Rs competing on the track, the field also will include a Chevrolet Corvette Z06 that will serve as the event pace car. The Corvette C7.R and production Corvette Z06 represent the closet link between race car and street car with the two sharing a common aluminum chassis, engine technology and aerodynamic strategies.
In the Sebring Midway, the Chevrolet Motorsports Display is a must-see for any fan. A number of vehicles will be on-site for visitors to view and learn about, including the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 – a supercar that establishes a new standard at Chevrolet for power output, track performance and technology.
The FIA WEC’s 1,000 Miles of Sebring is set for 4 p.m. ET on Friday, March 15. It will air live on Velocity with live audio coverage of practice, qualifying and the race on RadioLeMans.com.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 and NO. 64 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “This Sebring for sure will be much different than any we have done in the past. It’s the first time I have driven two GT races on the same weekend. Doing two races of these lengths on this track will be very tough to say the least! We have done enough laps and years at Sebring to know how much this will test us and our Corvettes. The cars should be very close to the same in performance for the IMSA and WEC races. So one of the benefits is that we will be able to gather extra data during the week.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 and NO. 64 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “We come to Sebring every year to test ourselves and our Corvettes. This takes it to a new extreme! But we will be in racecars the whole time so it will good. Both of these races are important in their own way. Friday’s WEC race is good in that we get a chance to size up the competition we usually at Le Mans. It will be good race them on our turf this time. Of course everyone wants to win the 12 Hours. In a lot of ways it’s still the most physically demanding race we do. It’s important to everyone at Corvette Racing and you can see that with the number of victories over the years. We need a good showing in the 12 Hours to get ourselves in the championship again.”
MIKE ROCKENFELLER, NO. 3 and NO. 64 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “I always wondered what it would be like to race for 24 hours at Sebring. This will be close! I have done a few long-distance endurance tests at Sebring where we would run for 25-30 hours. But this event will be much different with the separate practices, qualifying sessions and the race. The good thing is that our WEC program should help us with data for the 12 Hours. Overall, having success at Sebring will be the best way to rebound after Daytona.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “To say that Sebring is unique would be a massive understatement. Just like Le Mans, you can’t find a track like Sebring anywhere in the world. Add the atmosphere and you get an event that has a tradition like Le Mans, Monaco or any of racing’s great spots. Of course everyone at Corvette Racing enjoys coming to the 12 Hours. We have a long history at Sebring with a lot of wins. Adding another would make up for how we started the year at Daytona.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “We’re all still pretty disappointed with how Daytona ended up for us. Those kinds of races are few and far between for Corvette Racing. The encouraging part is that both our Corvettes were strong in the early going. We just had too many mistakes. I know everyone on the team has reflected and reviewed everything that went on, and we’ll come back at Sebring with hopes of getting back on the right track.”
MARCEL FÄSSLER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “It’s always a challenge to have success at Sebring. In many ways you need more luck than other places because of the bumps and the way the track beats you up. That is what makes this race unique. You know that anything can happen. It will be a long weekend – longer for the guys on the No. 3 Corvette – but this is one of the most enjoyable races we do.”
2019 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – GTLM Standings (After One of 11 Events)
1. Augusto Farfus/Colton Herta/Connor De Phillippi/Philipp Eng – 35
2. Alessandro Pier Guidi/Davide Rigon/James Calado/Miguel Molina – 32
3. Earl Bamber/Laurens Vanthoor/Mathieu Jaminet – 30
4. Richard Westbrook/Ryan Briscoe/Scott Dixon – 28
5. Frederic Makowiecki/Nick Tandy/Patrick Pilet – 26
6. Antonio Garcia/Jan Magnussen/Mike Rockenfeller – 25
8. Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler – 23
1. No. 25 BMW Team RLL – 35
2. No. 62 Risi Competizione – 32
3. No. 912 Porsche GT Team – 30
4. No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi – 28
5. No. 911 Porsche GT Team – 26
6. No. 3 Corvette Racing – 25
8. No. 4 Corvette Racing – 23
1. BMW – 35
2. Ferrari – 32
3. Porsche – 30
4. Ford – 28
5. Chevrolet – 26
Corvette Racing at Sebring
No. 3 Corvette C5-R: Ron Fellows/Chris Kneifel/John Paul Jr. – 4th in GTS (Fellows pole)
No. 4 Corvette C5-R: Andy Pilgrim/Scott Sharp/John Heinricy – 7th in GTS (Pilgrim fastest race lap)
No. 3 Corvette C5-R: Ron Fellows/Chris Kneifel/Justin Bell – 6th in GTS (Fellows pole)
No. 4 Corvette C5-R: Andy Pilgrim/Kelly Collins/Franck Freon – 5th in GTS
No. 3 Corvette C5-R: Ron Fellows/Johnny O’Connell/Chris Kneifel – 3rd in GTS
No. 4 Corvette C5-R: Andy Pilgrim/Kelly Collins/Franck Freon – 2nd in GTS
No. 3 Corvette C5-R: Ron Fellows/Johnny O’Connell/Oliver Gavin – 1st in GTS (Fellows pole)
No. 4 Corvette C5-R: Andy Pilgrim/Kelly Collins/Franck Freon – 4th in GTS
No. 3 Corvette C5-R: Ron Fellows/Johnny O’Connell/Franck Freon – 1st in GTS
No. 4 Corvette C5-R: Oliver Gavin/Kelly Collins/Andy Pilgrim – 3rd in GTS (Gavin pole)
No. 3 Corvette C5-R: Ron Fellows/Johnny O’Connell/Max Papis – 1st in GTS (Fellows pole)
No. 4 Corvette C5-R: Olivier Beretta/Oliver Gavin/Jan Magnussen – 6th in GTS (Gavin fastest race lap)
No. 3 Corvette C6.R: Ron Fellows/Johnny O’Connell/Max Papis – 2nd in GT1
No. 4 Corvette C6.R: Olivier Beretta/Oliver Gavin/Jan Magnussen – 3rd in GT1
No. 3 Corvette C6.R: Ron Fellows/Johnny O’Connell/Max Papis – 4th in GT1
No. 4 Corvette C6.R: Olivier Beretta/Oliver Gavin/Jan Magnussen – 1st in GT1
No. 3 Corvette C6.R: Ron Fellows/Johnny O’Connell/Jan Magnussen – 2nd in GT1 (Magnussen pole, fastest race lap)
No. 4 Corvette C6.R: Olivier Beretta/Oliver Gavin/Max Papis – 1st in GT1
No. 3 Corvette C6.R: Ron Fellows/Johnny O’Connell/Jan Magnussen – 1st in GT1
No. 4 Corvette C6.R: Olivier Beretta/Oliver Gavin/Max Papis – 2nd in GT1 (Gavin fastest race lap)
No. 3 Corvette C6.R: Jan Magnussen/Johnny O’Connell/Antonio Garcia – 1st in GT1
No. 4 Corvette C6.R: Olivier Beretta/Oliver Gavin/Marcel Fässler – 2nd in GT1 (Gavin pole, fastest race lap)
No. 3 Corvette C6.R: Jan Magnussen/Johnny O’Connell/Antonio Garcia – 8th in GT2
No. 4 Corvette C6.R: Olivier Beretta/Oliver Gavin/Emmanuel Collard – 9th in GT2
No. 3 Corvette C6.R: Olivier Beretta/Tommy Milner/Antonio Garcia – 3rd in GT
No. 4 Corvette C6.R: Oliver Gavin/Jan Magnussen/Richard Westbrook – 4th in GT
No. 3 Corvette C6.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor – 2nd in GT (Magnussen pole)
No. 4 Corvette C6.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Richard Westbrook – 3rd in GT
No. 3 Corvette C6.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor – 11th in GT
No. 4 Corvette C6.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Richard Westbrook – 1st in GT
No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Ryan Briscoe – 8th in GTLM
No. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Robin Liddell – 6th in GTLM (Gavin fastest race lap)
No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Ryan Briscoe – 1st in GTLM (Daytona/Sebring double)
No. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Simon Pagenaud – 9th in GTLM
No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Mike Rockenfeller – 9th in GTLM
No. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler – 1st in GTLM (10th Sebring team win)
No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Mike Rockenfeller – 1st in GTLM (3rd straight Sebring team win)
No. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler – 10th in GTLM
No. 3 Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Mike Rockenfeller – 8th in GTLM
No. 4 Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fässler – 6th in GTLM
Source. Corvette Racing