Gavin Puts No. 4 Corvette on Pole for First Time in More Than Three Years at America’s Tire 250
Saturday, September 8, 2018

Oliver Gavin now has 22 career pole positions in IMSA competition, but it’s been a long time coming.

Gavin put the No. 4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans (GTLM) class pole for the America’s Tire 250 with a best lap of one minute, 22.700 seconds (97.421 mph) during Saturday’s 15-minute qualifying session at the 2.238-mile WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. It was the first time the decorated English sports car racer qualified on pole since the 2015 Rolex 24 At Daytona.

“Thanks to everyone and the crew, it’s a maximum team effort to get us back to being on P1,” Gavin said. “It’s been a while for myself. I’m thrilled, but this is only a small step in what we’re trying to achieve tomorrow and that’s a victory.

“Once the green flag drops tomorrow, this is kind of a little forgotten. I think we’ve got a great race car. The car fell in a little nicely for qualifying, but the C7.R has been strong all year. We’ve had an amazing team, great strategies and pit stops. We just need to once again, execute tomorrow. The competition is at an all-time high in GTLM. To be able to beat those guys here today is pretty satisfying, but tomorrow, is when the real work starts.”

It appeared for much of the qualifying session that Corvette Racing would take a front-row sweep in GTLM. But German racer Dirk Mueller found some late speed in the No. 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT to take second on the starting grid with a lap of 1:22.787 (97.319 mph). It’s a particularly valuable starting spot, as it placed Mueller – who alongside co-driver Joey Hand is battling for the 2018 WeatherTech Championship GTLM title – ahead of both cars he’s pursuing in the title chase.

Points co-leader Jan Magnussen qualified third in the No. 3 Corvette C7.R with a lap of 1:22.806 (97.297 mph). Magnussen and co-driver Antonio Garcia go into Sunday’s two-hour, 40-minute race leading No. 67 Ford GT co-drivers Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook by four points, and they’re nine ahead of Mueller and Hand.

Briscoe qualified fourth in the No. 67 at 1:22.850 (97.245 mph). Alexander Sims completed the GTLM top five at 1:22.972 (97.102 mph) in the No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE.

The America’s Tire 250 is the headline event of the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix. It will be televised live on Sunday, Sept. 9 beginning at 5 p.m. EDT on FS1. Live IMSA Radio coverage also will be available on IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and SiriusXM Radio (Sirius 119/XM 202/App 972).

Tickets are available now at WeatherTechRaceway.com.

First Motul Pole Award for Legge Bolsters Championship Quest at WeatherTech Raceway

With two rounds remaining in the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, Katherine Legge put herself in a prime position to continue her quest for the GT Daytona (GTD) championship as she scored her first Motul Pole Award on Saturday at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

Co-driving the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 with Alvaro Parente, Legge narrowly eclipsed the previous track record – set by Madison Snow last year in the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 – by.013 seconds with a time of one minute, 24.456 seconds (95.396 mph).

Ironically, it’s Snow and his co-driver Bryan Sellers in the No. 48 that Legge is currently chasing in the GTD championship. Snow also will start alongside the No. 86 Acura on the front row for Sunday’s two-hour, 40-minute America’s Tire 250. Legge is 13 points behind the Paul Miller Racing duo.

“The team really gave me a good car and we’ve been working really hard on the qualifying setup and the race setup,” said Legge, who finished second last year at WeatherTech Raceway with Meyer Shank Racing and then-co-driver Andy Lally. “They are very different, so thanks to them. It’s all about tomorrow. It’s a really long day so I’m not about to count my chickens. 

“It’s going to be important to be at the front. We really need a good result here, or we really need a good result at Petit to be in the shot for the championship. With the (No.) 48 car qualifying P2, it was really important for us to be right around there. Being one spot ahead is mega, as I would say.”

Legge’s performance came immediately following the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America race, during which Legge’s protégé Sheena Monk was transported to a local hospital following a single-car incident early in the race. Legge left the track after qualifying to be with Monk at the hospital.

Four different manufacturers made up the top four qualifying positions, with Jeroen Bleekemolen taking third in the No. 33 Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 and Patrick Long in the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R taking the fourth spot.

The America’s Tire 250 – the headline event of the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca – will be televised live on Sunday, Sept. 9 beginning at 5 p.m. EDT on FS1. Live IMSA Radio coverage also will be available on IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and SiriusXM Radio (Sirius 119/XM 202/App 972).

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