The Corvette Racing team took the GTLM class win at the 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race this past weekend, winning the 12-hour battle for the second straight year and backing up their season-opening win at Daytona with back to back wins in the Sunshine State.
The Chevrolet Corvette C7.R teams didn’t get the best runs in qualifying, settling for 5th and 6th in the GTLM class (24th and 25th overall), but it didn’t take long for both the #3 and #4 Corvette to get to the front of the field. Unfortunately, a crash knocked the #3 car out of contention, but the trio of Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Marcel Fässler drove the #4 Corvette to victory – marking the team’s second straight 12 Hours of Sebring win and backing up their win last month in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The Early Stages
Antonio Garcia and Tommy Milner started the 2016 12 Hours of Sebring race in the two Corvette Racing entries, with Magnusson in the #3 car and Milner in the #4 car.Garcia, who was joined by Jan Magnusson and Mike Rockenfeller, started in the 5th position in class while Milner started on the outside of that same row in 6th place. The two Corvette C7.R racers would quickly work their way up to the front of the GTLM class and they would both battle for position until the race was red flagged for rain and lightning. At that point, the #3 car was in 2nd and the #4 Corvette was in 3rd.
Once the race got back underway, both Corvette Racing teams would continue to fight for the lead and Jan Magnusson had just taken the lead when he tangled with another car entering the Sebring’s hard, sweeping 1st turn. When I say tangled, what I really mean is that one of the slower GT Daytona cars on the inside of the turn drove way too deep into the turn and when Magnusson turned in with the Corvette, the Porsche hit the back of the Chevy very hard – sending them both sliding into the tire wall. Frankly, it almost looked deliberate. Video of the incident is available below.
In any case, Magnusson was ok and the crew had the car fixed and back on the track in less than an hour, but the day was pretty much over for Garcia and Rockenfeller. The #3 Corvette was forced to settle for a 9th place finishing position.
The Late Stages
After the rain delay and the unfortunate crash of the #3 Corvette C7.R, the #4 Corvette Racing team continued to run at the front of the field. Tommy Milner pass the #25 BMW M6 with about 2 and a half hours left and he kept the Corvette in the top spot for all but one lap from that point on – winning by a margin of almost 3 seconds over the #25 BMW. The #912 Porsche was the final team on the podium in 3rd place while the #62 Ferrari was 4th and the #67 Ford GT was 5th.
With this second win of the season, the #4 Corvette Racing team has a strong early lead in the GTLM championship points, but there are plenty of chances for the competitors to fire back. However, someone from BMW, Porsche, Ferrari or Ford is going to need to come up with a solution to the crazy-fast Corvette teams because right now – they are looking invincible.