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Corvette drivers revel in IMSA's Prototype and GTLM titles

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Corvette drivers revel in IMSA's Prototype and GTLM titles
By:
Oct 3, 2016, 7:58 PM

Chevrolet’s IMSA champions Dane Cameron, Eric Curran, Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner were left awestruck by their title haul following last Saturday’s Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.

GTLM winners Tommy Milner, Oliver Gavin, Corvette Racing
#4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner
Race winners #31 Action Express Racing Corvette DP: Eric Curran, Dane Cameron
#4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Marcel Fässler
#31 Action Express Racing Corvette DP: Eric Curran, Dane Cameron, Simon Pagenaud
#4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, #3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen
#31 Action Express Racing Corvette DP: Eric Curran, Dane Cameron, Simon Pagenaud
#31 Action Express Racing Corvette DP: Eric Curran, Dane Cameron
#4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Marcel Fässler
Race winners #31 Action Express Racing Corvette DP: Eric Curran, Dane Cameron

Although Chevrolet-powered cars didn’t win their classes in the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship finale, the Corvette Daytona Prototype helped earn Dane Cameron and Eric Curran the Prototype Drivers’ title, the Teams’ title for Action Express Racing and the Engine Manufacturers’ title for Chevrolet in the final year of eligibility for Daytona Prototypes.  

Meanwhile in the GT Le Mans class, Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner took their Corvette C7.R to four victories – including the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Sebring 12 Hours – which proved the foundation of their Drivers’ championship, the #4 crew’s Teams title and most crucially of all in this class, the Manufacturers’ crown.

Cameron/Curran earned Action Express’s third straight crown, after their teammates Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa clinched in 2014 and ’15. Cameron, who won the GT Daytona championship two years ago in a Turner Motorsports BMW Z4, commented: “I am pretty speechless. I am really proud to be a part of this group. I’m really grateful to Sonny Whelen [#31 car's team sponsor] and Action Express for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this team.

“For Action Express to have won all three Driver’s titles in this merged championship with the Corvette Daytona Prototype is kind of special. To be a part of that sweep is pretty amazing. And I’m pretty proud to have two Drivers’ titles for myself in two different classes.”

Talking of their drive to fourth place, Cameron added: “Coming to a 10-hour race is so nerve-wracking. Traffic is so difficult at Petit Le Mans. But we knew we had a good game plan, and we knew our Corvette Daytona Prototype was going to be solid.

“We knew what our strengths were and tried not to get wrapped up in other people’s races, just worry about ourselves. We were able to do that and come away with the title.”

Curran said: “It’s unbelievable. I think it is going to take some time to sink in. But it’s such a great opportunity for Dane and I to drive this Whelen Corvette DP for Action Express. All the guys at Action Express have worked so hard for this. We came so close last year and we felt like it was our championship to lose this year. It wasn’t a perfect season, but it all came together. The Chevy Corvette was unbelievable. Dane is unbelievable as a co-driver. We brought in Simon Pagenaud [as third driver] for this race and he has had an unbelievable year.

“Sonny Whelen and Whelen Engineering support is phenomenal. Nine years driving for them… I just want to thank everyone that supports this program. It all pays off, look at us now.”

Gavin, who last won the GTLM title in 2012 (again with Tommy Milner) said that although victory at Daytona was “fantastic” and the win at Sebring was “phenomenal,” he felt that mentally, the crucial point of the season was scoring Corvette Racing’s 100th victory, at Lime Rock.

“I think that is where Tommy and I really started believing we could actually win this. The competition had some good results up to that point and we needed to stop their momentum, and we did that there.”

“It is a great way to wrap up the championship. I mean we got the Manufacturer championship for Chevrolet, the Driver championship, the Team championship and the North American Endurance Cup. We got it all. I’m thrilled for Tommy and thrilled for the team.

Regarding third-driver Marcel Fassler, who shared driving duties in the endurance events, Gavin added: “Having Marcel on the team here in America has been just brilliant. He has been our lucky charm in the car. We want him back next year.”

Milner commented: “Deep down this is a pretty satisfying end of the season. We had four wins… a couple of bad races, but we had some amazing ones as well.

“I just don’t know what to say. Most of all, I am just really happy. I feel really fortunate to be a part of this Corvette Racing team and Chevy. Every year, every weekend, every practice session, I always have the best stuff. That is all a driver can ask for. This is perfect!”

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