This weekend’s Michelin GT Challenge is a GT-only weekend with the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class taking top billing. It’s a situation that has worked out well for Corvette Racing in the past with the program looking for a third straight victory – and fourth in class since 2012 – at the 3.27-mile, 17-turn circuit that straddles the borders of North Carolina and Virginia.
Corvette Racing is the IMSA co-leader for victories at VIR with three – all in GT categories. Meanwhile, Chevrolet has seven IMSA victories at the track since 2002.
All four Corvette C7.R drivers remain well in the hunt for the GTLM Driver’s title with three races to go. Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen, partners in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, stand second in the championship and only four points behind. The duo have won the last two years at VIR and have finished on the GTLM podium in each of the last five IMSA races dating back to May at Mid-Ohio.
Magnussen was the pole-winner in 2016 in the No. 3 Corvette, and he also was a winner at VIR in a 2007 race for the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series. Garcia set the fastest race lap in 2012 as part of the American Le Mans Series GT class.
Oliver Gavin and Virginia’s Tommy Milner, in the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette C7.R, are fourth in GTLM points and 14 points out of the lead. They clinched the ALMS GT title in 2012 with a victory in Corvette Racing’s VIR debut and are coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Road America – just ahead of the No. 3 Corvette.
Milner also won at VIR in 2005’s Rolex Series race and was a GT pole-winner the year prior. He and Gavin were GTLM winners earlier this year at Long Beach.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “We obviously would like to win three in a row at VIR. Our Corvette has been very good there. Being able to win that race last year put us in a very good position to win the championship. I hope it’s the same this year. We aren’t leading in points but we are very close. Oftentimes there is less than a half-second between GTLM cars there, so track position and qualifying will be key things. We are hopeful to carry on that momentum this week.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “VIR is a fantastic place and we’ve won there the last two years. We hope to find ourselves in contention again. It’s a great, old-school track that is very fast but also has a high level of risk. It’s those tracks I like best. Antonio and I really would like a win here to solidify ourselves in the championship. We’re in contention with a lot of podium finishes. We need that one win to really get our momentum going into the last couple of events.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: ““Over the years, VIR has been very positive for us. We’ve all had very strong years there. The No. 3 car of course has won there the last two years. Tommy and I haven’t been far behind, and we had our victory there in 2012 to win the ALMS GT Championship. This year’s competition has been fierce, no matter which manufacturer we are racing. We need to focus and execute, which we did at Road America for two excellent podiums. But it’s getting toward the business end of the year and we need to get back to winning races. A strong and clean weekend is our goal and our focus.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “From a driver’s perspective, all four of us really enjoy VIR, as do most of the other drivers in the series. It’s a lot of fun but difficult to get a perfect lap. There are a lot of places that you are unsighted in areas and really having to trust the car underneath you. These kinds of tracks and these kinds of corners reward a car that handles to your liking. Each year we have been there, we’ve been happy with our car right from the first practice. It’s a combination of all those things that when you put them all together, it’s very good for us.”
DOUG FEHAN, CORVETTE RACING PROGRAM MANAGER: “2012 marked the debut of the Corvette Racing program at VIR. Since our first trip there, it has quickly become one of our favorite stops of the year. It’s a unique track layout that has very distinct and defined sectors – one that is slower speed, another with high speeds with quick changes in direction and finally a roller-coaster ride to start-finish. As a result, it takes a very well-developed car to have success throughout the entire lap. In the last six years, our Corvettes have been just that. It’s a testament to the work done by our engineers, crew and drivers. To remain in championship contention, we will need all of that again this year.”
Source. Corvette Racing