Corvette Racing Wins 100th Race In 1-2 Sweep Led By Milner, Gavin In IMSA WeatherTech Northeast Grand Prix
Saturday, July 23, 2016

Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin gave Corvette Racing its 100th sports car racing victory and led the team’s 60th 1-2 sweep in Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park.

It was the third victory of the 2016 WeatherTech Championship season for the co-drivers of the No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R and the first since back-to-back GT Le Mans (GTLM) class victories in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida. The victory enabled Milner and Gavin to extend their lead in the GTLM standings to 10 points, 228-218, over No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT co-drivers Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook, who saw their three-race GTLM win streak come to an end with a third-place run.

The two-hour, 40-minute race was a hotly contested battle virtually throughout the GTLM class, with all five competing manufacturers running inside the top three at one point or another in the race. The battle came down to Ferrari vs. Chevrolet vs. Ford, as Giancarlo Fisichella led the way with an hour remaining in the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE ahead of Gavin in the No. 4 Corvette and Briscoe in the No. 67 Ford.

With just over 30 minutes left in the race, Fisichella lost traction and ran off course exiting Lime Rock’s famed “Big Bend” Turn 1-2 complex, opening the door for Gavin to move into the lead. Four laps later, Fisichella again ran wide exiting Turn 2 allowing Briscoe and Antonio Garcia in the No. 3 Corvette to move into second and third.

With 20 minutes remaining, Garcia took second place away from Briscoe but he would not challenge Gavin over the remaining distance, finishing 0.975 seconds behind his teammate to preserve the team’s sweep of the top-two positions.

“Brilliant job by the Corvette Racing team giving me a great car today and Tommy for driving a great first stint,” Gavin said. “Brilliant day all around. We extended our lead in the championship, so it’s all good. It’s amazing to get the 100th win today. I’ve been a part of the Corvette Racing team for a long time, and this team has done an amazing job throughout my career. I just have to thank them and my great teammates.”

“Racing here at Lime Rock is always tough with all the traffic,” Milner added. “Fortunately, it seemed like there was just enough separation between the three classes in certain spots to really allow some passing to happen. For sure, I was frustrated at some points, and others were frustrated as well, but we all seemed to manage to make it through. There were a couple of guys racing super hard. I knew the race was going to get that way.”

Garcia was joined by Jan Magnussen for the runner-up result for the No. 3 Corvette C7.R team, which unofficially moved them into third in the GTLM standings. Briscoe and Westbrook picked up their fourth consecutive GTLM podium result with the third-place run.

NOTEBOOK

  • Two DEKRA Green Awards were presented Saturday at Lime Rock Park. On the starting grid prior to the race, the No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT team was presented with the award from the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix two weeks ago at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. A calculation error was discovered post-event after the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE team was presented the award at the track.

However, the No. 62 Risi Ferrari team went on to win the DEKRA Green Award in today’s IMSA WeatherTech Northeast Grand Prix. The award recognizes the cleanest, fastest and most efficient team in the GTLM class in each race through a scoring system developed in a partnership between IMSA, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Energy and SAE International.

  • Through the first half of the race, both the No. 25 IHG Rewards Club BMW M6 GTLM of Dirk Werner and Bill Auberlen and the No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR of Earl Bamber and Frederic Makowiecki were among the top GTLM contenders. Werner took the lead from polesitter Westbrook at the start of the race on Lap 2 after the initial start was waved off and led throughout the first hour.

Makowiecki, meanwhile, charged from ninth in class at the start all the way to third by the one-hour mark. Unfortunately, Bamber and Werner both were removed from the race in a heavy crash coming onto the front straight slightly shy of the 90-minute mark of the race. Both were evaluated and released from the infield care center following the incident.

  • Despite starting from the pole position, the No. 67 Ford GT was scored as the leader for only one lap in the race – the first lap, which was run under caution. Contact on the first green-flag lap momentarily forced Westbrook off course and dropped him all the way to last in the GTLM field before he and Briscoe worked their way back to finish third.

Next up for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America on the weekend of Aug. 5-7. All four classes will be in action in the two-hour, 40-minute race.

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