Corvettes on front two rows in GT Le Mans class for Sunday’s two-hour race
Antonio Garcia continued Corvette Racing's stellar record at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca today with pole position in the GT Le Mans class. The Spanish star captured his first fastest qualifier honor with Corvette Racing with a lap of 1:22.373 (97.809 mph) in the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R.
"It was a great lap by Antonio and a great day for Corvette Racing," said Mark Kent, Chevrolet's Director of Racing. "A second straight pole position in this class is no easy achievement. It speaks volumes to the team's preparation, strategy and execution with the new Chevrolet Corvette C7.R."
Corvette Racing will be on the front two rows in the class. Oliver Gavin qualified the No. 4 Corvette C7.R fourth on the grid at 1:22.768 (97.342 mph). Sunday's two-hour race for the TUDOR United Championship's GTLM and Prototype classes begins at 2:45 p.m. PT.
“The lap was pretty good… right on the limit everywhere,” said Garcia, who teams with Jan Magnussen. “The Corvette C7.R worked pretty good. I just have to carry on the momentum we have.”
A victory Sunday would be the third straight in Monterey for Corvette Racing. Garcia and Magnussen won last year while Gavin and Tommy Milner were victorious in 2012. In both instances, the race winners went on to win the driver's championships in the American Le Mans Series. All totaled, Corvette Racing will go for its seventh victory at the circuit since 2004, and Garcia’s pole was the fourth time a Corvette Racing driver was the fastest qualifier in class.
Garcia and Magnussen also are coming off a victory in the most recent TUDOR Championship race at Long Beach in April. It was a double podium for the team with Gavin and Milner third.
Corvette DP: Westbrook second in qualifying for Spirit of Daytona
Richard Westbrook led the contingent of Corvette DP drivers in the TUDOR Championship’s Prototype category. The Englishman set a lap of 1:18.788 (102.259 mph) in Spirit of Daytona’s No. 90 Corvette DP. Westbrook, going for his third straight pole at Laguna Seca, was just 0.227 seconds off Johannes van Overbeek’s pole-winning time.
Three Corvette DPs will make up the first three rows in Sunday’s race. Christian Fittipaldi was fifth for the championship-leading No. 5 Action Express Racing entry at 1:19.175 (101.759 mph). Ricky Taylor qualified sixth in Wayne Taylor Racing’s No. 10 Corvette DP at 1:19.504 (101.338 mph).
The TUDOR Championship is the result of a merger between the ALMS and GRAND-AM’s Rolex Sports Car Series. Corvette Racing will compete in 11 races around North America plus the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Camaro Z/28: Second-Place Finish for CKS duo of Curran, Aschenbach
Eric Curran and Lawson Aschenbach scored the second straight podium for the new Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R on Saturday with a runner-up finish in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Grand Sport (GS) race. Curran qualified second and led the majority of his stint, and Aschenbach finished 0.473 seconds behind John Edwards’ BMW.
This was the first race for the Camaro Z/28.R following a GS victory at Sebring. Stevenson Motorsports’ Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis won there. Stevenson’s duo of Matt Bell and Andy Lally were 11th in the No. 6 Stevenson Camaro on Saturday.
The next round of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge is May 24 at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn.
TUDOR Championship quotes
Antonio Garcia, No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R
"This a good sign. The car really worked good. It was really difficult with this practice situation where you actually never got any clear lap or any clear feel of the car. So we were just kind of guessing or taking parts of every single lap we did on different parts just to make the car faster. It was a gamble but I think I’m on the right team to do it. The car was really good right out of the box, and Jan did most of the practice. That paid off quite a lot because he kept working on the car making it faster. And even if I did just 10 laps of practice too, the car he gave me was already really good.” (Success in Monterey) “This race track has a nice history with Corvette Racing. Last year we were up front and ended up winning. And now with the C7.R it looks like even better. I think the guys did tremendous work back home, and even if we have a very limited time of practice, maybe that is a good thing. Maybe if you give more time to the other people, they will get closer. The car worked really good, and I did a pretty good lap also.”
Oliver Gavin, No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R
“It was nice to get out there on track with nobody else. I didn’t have any trouble with traffic, or anything like that. I just didn’t get the most out of tire when I compare my lap to Antonio’s. I lost time in particular corners where I needed to commit a little bit more and just get the rear of the car loaded up. I just didn’t hit the tire at the point where it had maximum grip. That is exactly where Antonio executed, and I didn’t manage to do that unfortunately. But I think there are a couple of setup changes in the mix as well that we need to go and look at. But that’s the way it can be when you only have two hours of track time. You take a stab at it, and sometimes you hit it right and sometimes you don’t. Today we didn’t quite get it right, but the No. 3 car did, and they’re the pole position winners which is great for them."
Richard Westbrook, NO. 90 Sirit of Daytona Corvette DP
"Last year we had a one-lap wonder car, and this year it feels like we have a better car. It wasn't very smooth going into qualifying. We had a clutch issue in Practice 2, and I thought we were going to have the same issue in qualifying. The guys did a good job to band-aid it up, so I can't say it hindered me in qualifying but it was always in the back of my mind that it could come back. We will get that changed for the race. The car is behaving for the race. Of course I wanted pole - I'd be lying if I said I didn't - but starting from the front row is great for our recovery."
Continental Sportcar Challenge quote
Lawson Aschenbach, No. 01 CKS Autosport Camaro Z/28.R
“We had a really good Team Chevy CKS Autosport Camaro Z/28.R. The guys have been working really hard since Sebring to counter this weight the series added to us. Unfortunately at the end we didn’t have any tires or brakes left. I was kind of hanging on there for dear life, and luckily the guys behind me starting fight among themselves. So we’re happy with second place. It’s a great momentum for our team. Sebring felt like we were kicked in the stomach after doing so well. We’ll take P2 and hopefully we can do one spot better in the next race.”
Team Chevy Racing