Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia admits that Porsche’s late-race misfortune meant his strongest challenge in the GTLM evaporated in the final hour of the 12 Hours of Sebring.
With long-time race leaders Ford deciding to pit all three of its GTs together, Corvette and Porsche hit upon perfectly-timed pitstops in the closing stages.
But just as Porsche’s Patrick Pilet seemed poised to beat Garcia to the win, a right-rear wheelgun failure cost him vital track position.
The 911 was still in the hunt for victory, until a left-front puncture soon after – and a pitstop penalty for running over an airhose as it was replaced – relegated Pilet to seventh. It resulted in Corvette's third straight Sebring victory.
“I knew it was going to be really, really tough,” said Garcia, who shared the win with Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller. “The Fords stayed out on a poorer set of tires than us. I knew that had to be my stint.
“I needed to make the moves and pass the Ferrari, the #68 [Ford] and [Ford’s Scott] Dixon. I passed everybody because that was probably the only time they would be a little bit weaker than we were. It worked.
“At the end the Porsche looked very, very strong. They were flying. They passed all the way up to us until that last safety car.
“Again, there was a magnificent stop by the Corvette Racing crew. I think the Porsche made a mistake there. Without knowing, I thought it was Joey [Hand’s Ford] behind us, but it was again the Porsche.
“I knew it was going to be tough. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to hold him, but probably. Our car kept going faster and faster.
“At the end things went a little bit in our favour. It was a sprint to the end. Amazing.”