Corvette Racing Finishes Second and Sixth in Mid-Ohio Monsoon
Gavin and Magnussen Come Through the Chaos for Podium Finish and Championship Points
LEXINGTON, Ohio, Aug. 6, 2011 – The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge ended under a red flag when a downpour inundated the circuit with 11 minutes remaining in the two-hour, 45-minute race. Jan Magnussen and Oliver Gavin scored Corvette's third straight runner-up finish at Mid-Ohio after leading the GT category for the first two hours in the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R. Tommy Milner and Olivier Beretta finished sixth after a spin in the treacherous conditions temporarily stranded the No. 3 Compuware Corvette before the race was stopped. Wolf Henzler and Bryan Sellers claimed the victory in the No. 17 Porsche 911 GT3 after advancing from sixth to first on the rain-soaked track in the final minutes.
In conditions like this, we're happy with second.
"In the last two races, we've had a good race car and not such a good qualifying car – but I'll take a good race car any time," said team manager Gary Pratt. "In conditions like this, we're happy with second."
Magnussen made a fast start, moving from fifth on the grid to second in the first lap. He passed the class-leading BMW on the next lap and then held the lead through the remainder of his stint.
"I was on the outside for the first turn and had a good line," Magnussen said. "Everyone in front of me pulled in to protect their line, so I went to the outside and came out in second. I could see the BMW's tires weren't completely up to temperature and our Michelins were. In one of the practice sessions, I came out with a BMW and outbraked him at the end of the straight, so I knew he was going to be vulnerable there. Sure enough, he braked early and I made the pass."
Gavin took over the No. 4 Corvette shortly before the one-hour mark and held the point until he pitted for rain tires at 2:03. He was within striking distance of the leading No. 45 Porsche of Patrick Long when the deluge began.
"Those last four or five laps were absolutely insane," Gavin said. "I was driving down the straight with the steering wheel at full opposite lock, with the car just gliding and aquaplaning. Somehow my car straightened up and Pat Long's car went off into a gravel trap. When Wolf Henzler drove by me, I had no answer for him; he certainly had a good rain setup. I was relieved when they brought out the red flag because it was really tough.
"Before the rain came, it was great to be in the lead," the Englishman added. "The guys got me out in front after an excellent pit stop. I was slowly pulling away from Patrick, then a caution came out and we were driving around picking up loads of rubbish on the tires. Patrick was pressuring me, but eventually I got the tires clean and started to pull out a lead. Then the weather arrived, and everything changed."
Gavin and Magnussen's runner-up finish on the heels of a win in Mosport, combined with a fourth-place finish today for points leaders Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller, narrowed the GT championship race. Gavin and Magnussen are now 17 points behind the BMW duo in unofficial points, and Chevrolet cut BMW's lead in the manufacturer standings to 19 points.
Beretta, celebrating his milestone 100th ALMS race, started the No. 3 Corvette C6.R eighth on the GT grid, and pitted from P7 at 56 minutes into the race. Milner steadily worked his way to the front, running third with one hour remaining and second with 30 minutes to go. As the rain intensified, Milner had contact with another GT car and spun in Turn 8, rejoining the race in sixth.
"We had a phenomenal race car in the dry," said Milner. "In the wet, it's the same for everybody – really crazy. Unfortunately Mid-Ohio is one of those tracks that has zero grip in the rain. When you have monsoon conditions like this, it's a roll of the dice and we got snake eyes.
"When it started sprinkling, I thought about Le Mans, but once it started to pour, I said this is hurricane season," Milner reported. "Sixth is not where I wanted to finish after being on pace for second place, but it was really good to see that the team's hard work in practice and in the warm-up improved the car in the dry."
Corvette Racing won the Michelin Green X Challenge as the fastest, cleanest, and most efficient entry in the GT class for the second consecutive race.
"I think it was clear today we had the dominant cars," said Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. "We were well positioned for a victory, and certainly we're satisfied with second when weather is such a factor. Most importantly, we've captured the Michelin Green X Challenge again, demonstrating durability, reliability, performance, and green thinking at Chevrolet and Corvette."
ESPN2 will televise the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge on Sunday, August 7, at 10 p.m. ET. Corvette Racing’s next event is the four-hour Time Warner Cable Road Race Showcase at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., on Saturday, August 20, starting at 3:00 p.m. CT. Live video coverage will be available on ESPN3.com in the US and americanlemans.com for international users. ABC will televise the Time Warner Cable Road Race Showcase on Sunday, August 21, at 4:30 p.m. ET.