The SWC went to the Long Beach Grand Prix on April 15th after paying taxes, of course! After an early morning rendezvous at the Carr's, Dennis set off his car alarm to wake up the neighbors prior to the group caravaning to the Corvette corral. We arrived early and got great parking for all - "inside the ropes" next the the Covette tent.
The early arrival allowed us to see the GTLM practice. The qualifying for Saturday's race was late Friday afternoon. The two Corvette C7 Rs were 1-2 for the majority of the qualifying session. Oliver Gavin had a best lap of 1:17.572 (91.331 mph) and Jan Magnussen had a best lap of 1:17.676 (91.120 mph).
Several speakers and presenters including Doug Fehan, Chief Engineer- Corvette Racing provided background and insight into Corvette Racing operations. Later we went to the pits and got inside access to the Corvette Team paddock. Two of our loveliest members got their photo taken next to one of the cars.
CORVETTE RACING AT LONG BEACH: Second Straight Overall Win for Wayne Taylor Racing Gavin, Milner second in GTLM despite late-race contact while leading
Gavin, Milner retain GTLM points lead with two wins and runner-up in 2016
Dekra Green Award for No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R
First Corvette DP podium sweep since Sebring 2015
LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 16, 2016) – Wayne Taylor Racing won its second straight race at Long Beach to lead an overall sweep for the Corvette Daytona Prototype program, and Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner extended their GT Le Mans (GTLM) championship lead with a runner-up finish in their No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R at Saturday’s Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix.
Jordan and Ricky Taylor won by 2.958 seconds in their No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP with Action Express Racing’s Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa second in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP. Eric Curran and Dane Cameron finished third in Action Express’ No. 31 Whelen Engineering/Team Fox Corvette DP. It’s the first 1-2-3 finish for Corvette DPs since the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in 2015.
The GTLM race was a Corvette 1-2 for most of the race’s second half. Milner and Gavin appeared headed for their third straight victory to open the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) season until Milner was hit from behind by Fred Makowiecki’s Porsche entering the final turn with two minutes left in the race. Despite the contact, Milner recovered to finish second.
Corvette Racing was going for the 100th victory in program history. Starting fourth in class, Gavin had to pit 30 minutes into the race with a suspected left-front tire puncture. It changed the strategy of the race with Milner having to go 70 minutes on a tank of E20. He took the lead with 53 minutes remaining. The race’s only full-course caution erased an 11-second lead over teammate Antonio Garcia in the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette, which Jan Magnussen qualified and started from fifth.
The restart saw the two Corvettes nearly nose-to-tail for the better part of 20 minutes. Unfortunately Garcia’s Corvette spun at Turn 4 with nine minutes left. He made it back to pit lane but the car couldn’t be repaired. He and Magnussen finished ninth.
The race stayed green until the finish despite the incident in the final corner that knocked Milner from the lead. The No. 4 Corvette did win the Dekra Green Award, which goes to the GTLM car that best combines performance with efficiency.