(Monterey, Calif.) – When teams and drivers return to a track where they have previously enjoyed success, it sparks a heightened sense of anticipation heading into the event.
For the drivers and crew members of the No.’s 3 and 4 Compuware Corvette C6.Rs, this weekend’s four-hour American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Monterey at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca means a return to the site of a 1-2 Corvette Racing finish in 2012.
“We have performed well over the longer races recently, and I really feel we have got the best team.”
Gavin teamed with Milner to win the GT class in last year’s event at the 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course, finishing 3.45 seconds ahead of the No. 3 Corvette C6.R, driven by Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen.
“We regularly make up time on people in the pits – either with quick tire changes, how we play our fuel strategy or the strategy in general,” Gavin said. “We’ve got a great group of guys.
These races are so tight it sometimes comes down to when you take your last stop and how much fuel you take on, and with a longer race you’ve got a wider strategy window to play with.”
Corvette Racing, which won the season-opener at Sebring and scored two top-five finishes at Long Beach, is tied for the ALMS GT Team Championship lead. Chevrolet leads the series’ GT Automobile Manufacturer standings by three points.
“Monterey is always one of the great events of the year,” Milner said. “The track lends itself to some great racing.”
Corvette Racing produced a 1-2 finish at the six-hour American Le Mans Series at Monterey last year as Gavin and Milner bounced back from a troubled pit stop to finish 3.45 seconds ahead of Magnussen and Garcia.
While Magnussen drove the No. 3 Corvette C6.R from fifth to second in the final hour, Gavin took the No. 4 Corvette C6.R to the lead with about hour remaining en route to producing Corvette Racing’s second consecutive win of the season on its way to the 2012 manufacturer and team and championships.
“We had success there last year with our Corvettes, but as we saw at Long Beach we need to be on our game to give ourselves a chance to win again this year,” Milner said.
Gavin said the track conditions this weekend should make for a challenging event.
“Looking at the forecast, it looks as though it could be quite cool, so how well you make your tires work could steer the outcome of the race; they will certainly play a big part in the weekend,” Gavin said. “There’s likely to be plenty of cautions and incidents with 36-plus cars in the field; it makes for a full race track.
Additionally, the track surface is always very dusty which adds to the challenges. The GT class drives around in a high-speed train and it only really gets broken up when there’s an incident, or when you come against faster or slower traffic. You have to be 100 percent on top of your game and concentrating fully; you can’t afford one slip up otherwise you won’t finish in the top-five, let alone on the podium.”