Strong start for Corvette DPs, Corvette Racing in 12-hour classic.
SEBRING, Fla. – The contingent of Corvette Daytona Prototypes and Corvette Racing’s two Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs ran in strong positions after the first four hours of the 62nd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida on Saturday.
The pole-sitting No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP of fastest qualifier Sebastien Bourdais was P2 at the four-hour mark but less than a second from Sage Karem’s leading car. Joao Barbosa led for the majority of his opening stint in the Action Express entry, and the Barbosa/Bourdais/Christian Fittipaldi trio is seeking to become the first group of drivers to win at Sebring and the Rolex 24 At Daytona in the same year since 1998.
In GTLM, Tommy Milner was second in Corvette Racing’s No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R after leading a handful of laps early in his stint. The No. 3 Corvette lost a lap early with front bodywork damage it sustained on the opening lap when Antonio Garcia was hit by a competitor from behind and shoved into a BMW ahead of him going to Turn 1.
Ryan Briscoe got back on the lead lap in the third hour but found trouble again when the No. 3 Corvette suffered a flat tire when it ran through debris from a massive crash on the frontstretch that brought the race to a halt although the race clock continued to run.
The next Team Chevy update will come after eight hours.
DAN BINKS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 3 CORVETTE RACING CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: ON MAKING REPAIRS TO NO. 3: "Right now I think we are pretty good. It tore up the nose pretty bad - that thing was rubbing on the tires, then we got that yellow. We practice this stuff at the shop. If the hood wasn't bent up so bad, we would have been able to do it in one lap. That is what we have been practicing. These guys are awesome. Everybody works so hard. I don't think anybody here could change all that bodywork in 3 1/2 minutes. We are ready to go."
ON WHAT HAPPENED: "I think everybody was just bumping and grinding at the beginning and we got the worst end of it."
RICHARD WESTBROOK, NO. 90 SPIRIT OF DAYTONA CORVETTE DP: "So far so good, it seems. There is so much traffic that the No. 1 priority is to stay out of trouble, and that's what we're doing. The car is getting better as it gets warmer so hopefully it will come to us a bit more. We struggled for pace in the first stint. In the second stint with fresh rubber and the heat coming up was a bit better. We need track position, and for that you have to be patient in traffic."
(On track conditions) "I feel the track is getting better and better. We will see what happens when the sun starts going down. The Sebring 12 Hours is all about being quick in the night. That's where it counts. We will see how the track develops."
RICKY TAYLOR, NO. 10 WAYNE TAYLOR RACING CORVETTE DP: "The track was very slippery. There was a strange rhythm of traffic with the different classes, so that takes some getting used to. There is a lot of pickup on the tires. Just staying on track and keeping clean in the first run was important. There are a lot of people going wide and making mistakes. We have a good car; it's a bit of a handful but as the track cools down toward the night we will be better and better."
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 CORVETTE RACING CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R; "We went around the No. 55 BMW at the start and got behind the 56 and I knew I had (Nick) Tandy behind me who was very aggressive. Out of Turn 1, we got pretty close together. As usual we went to the inside and I saw there was going to be a traffic jam. As it was happening, I saw something in the rear-view camera coming really fast and Tandy just hit me really, really hard. I don't know if he was launched by another car or where it started. Initially I was asking if the rear was OK but the team said the front was much worse. Once we changed everything, the car really came to life. The work the crew did made it right. Now we just need the right yellow to get back on the lead lap."
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 CORVETTE RACING CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: "The car has been running fairly well. After the restart, I felt we had a good car underneath us and the tire was very strong. It does seem that as we run a stint that the tire does seem to degrade. It might not necessarily be just us in the GTLM class but everybody. The circuit does seem very slick. We will see how that goes. The track temperature also seems to be high. It was good to get up against the Porsche. It seems like every time I drive the C7.R that I seem to race against those Porsches. It would be nice to get by them and get away from them. It's very early and there is a lot of time to go. It's a strong start so far and we will try to keep it clean and look after the car."