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CORVETTE RACING AT LE MANS: Garcia Fastest Driver in GTE Pro Class on Test Day

Mission accomplished for two Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs ahead of 24 Hours



· Oliver Gavin fourth-quickest in class as No. 64 team goes for second straight Le Mans win

· Focus turns to race-week preparation for what will be hard-fought class battle

· Team going for ninth class win in 17th Le Mans appearance

· Corvette Racing with five straight Triple Crown event victories



LE MANS, France (June 5, 2016) – Corvette Racing ended the Le Mans Test Day with the fastest time in the GTE Pro class as Antonio Garcia set a lap of 3:55.122 (129.680 mph) in the No. 63 Konica Minolta/Mobil 1/Sirius XM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. Garcia, who celebrated a birthday Sunday and will team with Jan Magnussen and Ricky Taylor, led a Corvette Racing effort that focused on race setup and strategy as the team works toward what it hopes will be a ninth victory at the French endurance classic.



Both Corvettes were among the four fastest cars in what should be a highly competitive fight in GTE Pro. Oliver Gavin in the No. 64 Corvette C7.R was fourth-fastest with a lap of 3:55.837 (129.245 mph). He, Tommy Milner and Jordan Taylor are the defending class winners at Le Mans, and Gavin and Milner won the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring to open the season.



Both Corvettes recorded significant mileage around the 8.5-mile Circuit de la Sarthe. The No. 64 Corvette turned 81 laps while the No. 63 Corvette posted 73 laps. The entire day was run in warm, dry conditions which allowed the team to maximize its efforts to find the best race setup for the 2016-spec Corvette C7.Rs.



Sunday marked the first time at Le Mans for the cars, which feature a number of changes from 2015 including a larger splitter at the front and diffuser at the rear of the Corvette. Side skirts and a repositioned wing also are among the most notable changes, along with updated safety features that are now mandated on all GTE Pro cars.



Corvette Racing engineers, crew and drivers will spend the days leading up to next week’s practice and qualifying sessions pouring over data to fine-tune the performance, reliability and efficiency of the two Corvettes. The task is monumental given the quality and quantity of the other manufacturer-based teams in GTE Pro.



The 84th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours is set for 3 p.m. CET/9 a.m. ET on Saturday, June 18. Practice and qualifying sessions are scheduled for June 15-16.



ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 63 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “It's been a while since we've had such a clean test day with no worries. That helped us a lot in going through our test program. We're happy with where we are, and we're well prepared for the race. Now we have a ton of data to go through, but it looks like it will be a great race with a very competitive field in GTE Pro."



JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 63 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: "I'm quite happy with what we've achieved today. We had a problem-free test and tried some different possibilities for the race. It's always a bit of a guess to know how much grip the track will gain throughout the race week, but we're in good shape."



RICKY TAYLOR, NO. 63 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: "It was great to be in Le Mans with the Corvette Racing team for the first time! The balance of the car was very good, so I could take my time to get up to speed. It's a pity about the red flag which cut short the last session while I was driving, but I'm sure the car will be very strong."



OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 64 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: "It's been a productive day. It's very close between all competitors in the GTE Pro class. I feel that we've learned a decent amount and that we're in a good spot. The weather was quite stable throughout the day and we'll have to see what the race week brings."



TOMMY MILNER, NO. 64 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: "It was great to be back and get the Le Mans experience going again. It's nice to come here with a car that's a bit different from what we had here in last couple of years with the new aero package. We were trying to make sure we ticked all the boxes, and we did that. We also tried some different things and learned a lot from that. We were pretty quick and finished fourth in class which is a good place to be in. We're all fairly comfortable with the car, so it's ‘Mission Accomplished’ as far as the Test Day went."



JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 64 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: "It was good to be back. It always takes some ten laps to get back into the rhythm of things, but the car felt very good, so I'm happy. You do feel a little bit better aero. At Le Mans you’re completely trimmed out so any additional downforce you can get without the drag is important, and I think that’s what Corvette has done with this new C7.R – increased the level of downforce and reduced the drag.”



DOUG FEHAN, CORVETTE RACING PROGRAM MANAGER: “We come to Le Mans each year with our list of items and settings to work through to put us in the best possible position for when we come back for the race. That is what we accomplished today with both our Corvette C7.Rs. Antonio going quickest in the class is a good indication of the quality of the effort our engineers and crew have put forward. Although we are pleased with today's results, we realize we still have more work to do. Preparation, strategy and execution are what we have used to win eight times at Le Mans, and it’s what we will count on again this year.”



Corvette Racing 24 Hours of Le Mans Record

Year
Finish
Class
Car
Drivers

2000
3rd
GTS
Corvette C5-R
Pilgrim/Collins/Freon


4th
GTS
Corvette C5-R
Fellows/Kneifel/Bell

2001
1st
GTS
Corvette C5-R
Fellows/O’Connell/Pruett


2nd
GTS
Corvette C5-R
Pilgrim/Collins/Freon

2002
1st
GTS
Corvette C5-R
Fellows/O’Connell/Gavin


2nd
GTS
Corvette C5-R
Pilgrim/Collins/Freon

2003
2nd
GTS
Corvette C5-R
Gavin/Collins/Pilgrim


3rd
GTS
Corvette C5-R
Fellows/O’Connell/Freon

2004
1st
GTS
Corvette C5-R
Gavin/Beretta/Magnussen


2nd
GTS
Corvette C5-R
Fellows/O’Connell/ Papis

2005
1st
GT1
Corvette C6.R
Beretta/Gavin/Magnussen


2nd
GT1
Corvette C6.R
Fellows/O’Connell/Papis

2006
1st
GT1
Corvette C6.R
Beretta/Gavin/Magnussen


7th
GT1
Corvette C6.R
Fellows/O’Connell/Papis

2007
2nd
GT1
Corvette C6.R
Fellows/O’Connell/Magnussen


14th
GT1
Corvette C6.R
Beretta/Gavin/Papis

2008
2nd
GT1
Corvette C6.R
Fellows/O’Connell/Magnussen


3rd
GT1
Corvette C6.R
Beretta/Gavin/Papis

2009
1st
GT1
Corvette C6.R
O'Connell/Magnussen/Garcia


4th
GT1
Corvette C6.R
Gavin/Beretta/Fassler

2010
10th (DNF)
GT2
Corvette C6.R
Gavin/Beretta/Collard


12th (DNF)
GT2
Corvette C6.R
O'Connell/Magnussen/Garcia

2011
1st
GTE Pro
Corvette C6.R
Beretta/Milner/Garcia


14th (DNF)
GTE Pro
Corvette C6.R
Gavin/Magnussen/Westbrook

2012
5th
GTE Pro
Corvette C6.R
Garcia/Magnussen/Taylor


6th
GTE Pro
Corvette C6.R
Gavin/Milner/Westbrook

2013
4th
GTE Pro
Corvette C6.R
Garcia/Magnussen/Taylor


7th
GTE Pro
Corvette C6.R
Gavin/Milner/Westbrook

2014
2nd
GTE Pro
Corvette C7.R
Garcia/Magnussen/Taylor


4th
GTE Pro
Corvette C7.R
Gavin/Milner/Westbrook

2015
DNS
GTE Pro
Corvette C7.R
Garcia/Magnussen/Briscoe


1st
GTE Pro
Corvette C7.R
Gavin/Milner/Taylor

Totals
8 wins
16 starts
 

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Yes, things are looking good. Top end has never been a Corvette feature the last few yrs. Handling, reliability and team execution is what's bringing the wins. Not sure why the Ford's weren't faster. Surprising.
 

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Well they were happy. I wonder how fast they were really trying. After all it was only practice so I would not be surprised if they did not put an all out effort. Here is an article on Ford:

LM24: Ford pleased with first outing
Monday, 06 June 2016
Marshall Pruett
The Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team took to the 8.5-mile Le Mans circuit for the first time on Sunday for the official test day ahead of the great 24-hour race, and according to FCGR's managing director, the outing was a success.

"We were really impressed by how our team was accepted and welcomed by the sanctioning body and scrutineering, and they were very complimentary of the cars and how they were presented," Mike Hull told RACER of the four-car Ford GT program. "It's our first time going there as a group, so we had no idea what to expect. I think we represented the Ford brand very well for our first day.

The fastest Ford GT placed sixth in the GTE-Pro class on Sunday (3:56.039), which wasn't as close to the class-leading Corvette C7.R (3:55.122) as Hull might have wanted, but with the difference in track experience between the brands, the Blue Oval spent the day learning while others added to their considerable knowledge at La Sarthe.

"In talking to our drivers and [FCGR team manager] Mike O'Gara and [race engineer] Brad Goldberg, we knew there was going to be a big learning curve, and that rang true," Hull added. "Our group of people were really patient and deliberate in working through our test plan so that when we return for race week, we can start by not being in a hole. That was the key to yesterday. It was about valuable track time and learning all we could so we can return and do everything right."

With a significant amount of information to gather during the test day, Hull credits the dual testing plan undertaken by FCGR's IMSA and WEC teams prior to Sunday for helping the Ford GTs get within one second of the defending class winners.

"We were lucky because we did a test at Road America before we went to go over items for Le Mans, and our WEC team did the same by going to Monza, and we went to those places with big straightaways to try some things before the Le Mans test and that was a help for us," he said. "When we rolled out at Le Mans, we had already simulated some of what we were going to see, and were better prepared that way in the configuration we thought we might race."

Reducing the gap to the factory programs from Corvette, Porsche, and Ferrari – all teams that ran ahead of the Fords at the test – will involve tweaking the setups that were honed at Road America and Monza and tried at Le Mans.

"Going forward with that configuration, we'll be working hard to develop that configuration to find more speed," Hull confirmed. "That's where we'll focus ourselves when we run those two days next week before we race."

http://www.racer.com/wec-le-mans/item/130492-lm24-ford-pleased-with-first-outing
 

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Yes, things are looking good. Top end has never been a Corvette feature the last few yrs. Handling, reliability and team execution is what's bringing the wins. Not sure why the Ford's weren't faster. Surprising.
The Ford GT is still in its first year, so they still have work to do in order to get their car up to speed at all venues.

As far as the Corvette with the restrictor plates on the engine its really taken a good amount of top speed from the car. Though it seems that the rules in GTE favor the C7R more then those in the GTLM for the weather tech series which we saw this last year as well.
 

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Least powerful car in the GTE class but should win with the terrific drivers and teamwork by Corvette Racing. Very nice to see 2 more C7R's in this event. Can't wait to see the Callaway GT3's at Lemans in the future.
 
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