Oliver Gavin and Jan Magnussen put Corvette Racing at the top of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) GT class at Mosport for the marque's first stateside win this season and ending the three race winning run for the series’ BMW squad.
The two-hour, 45-minute race at the Canadian track was an action packed event, with incident, accident and penalty all playing their part in deciding the outcome of the race.
Gavin, starting the no.4 car made steady progress during the first hour of the race, moving from the sixth starting spot to second taking advantage of pit penalties for other team before grabbing second when the Porsche running in second went off track.
Once in second the Briton came up against Risi Competizione driver Toni Vilander in a battle for the lead, as Gavin describes: “We started coming on these big clumps of traffic, and things started getting crazy. I had this mad battle with Toni, where he passed me going into Turn 2 and then he went around the outside of a GTC car. I managed to undercut them both and come back around the outside into Turn 3 – it was fantastic racing!”
The scrap was cut short by contact with an hour of the race remaining, Gavin having to pit to replace a punctured, handing the car to Magnussen in the same pit visit.
The Dane was able to do what Gavin hadn't – passing the Risi Ferrari – to take second and inherited the lead when the no.55 BMW was penalised for avoidable contact with GTC class car.
“I knew that for us to get a good result out of this race, we had to be 100 percent focused every second,” Magnussen said. “We could never relax, just push all the time. To pull a win from where we were after qualifying is just fantastic. These guys have done it before and they’ll do it again – you can never count Corvette Racing out. The way this team pushes, I’m so proud to be part of it.”
Gavin attributed the success to the whole team, with the enforced stop after the contact with Vilander especially crucial.
“We had 10 seconds for everyone to get ready,” said crew chief Brian Hoye. “The guys know what to do and they were ready to go. We knocked out a quick stop, kept the car in contention, and we ended up with a victory. We used every session to make the car the best it could be for the race, and it turned out be a spectacular result.”
The second Corvette, shared by Tommy Milner and Olivier Beretta, finished sixth after being knocked out of contention by contact, again with a GTC car. The hit damaged the Corvette's suspension, the necessary repairs putting the no.3 car laps down from which it was unable to recover.
The Corvette crew also collected the Michelin Green X Challenge for the GT class for the fastest, cleanest more efficient race in the GT ranks.
“As the inaugural winner of the Michelin Green X Challenge, it’s always an honor when Corvette Racing collects one of these trophies,” said Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. “It’s a testament to how hard our engine group, our chassis group, and our aero group have worked to maximize the efficiency of the Corvette. It’s also a testament to Chevrolet’s willingness to race with cellulosic E85, and as the world’s largest producer of flex-fuel vehicles, it’s only appropriate that the Chevrolet team won the Green X Challenge today.”