Despite finishing fifth and sixth in class the Corvette Racing team felt like they achieved a victory as they brought both cars home after a challenging 24 hours of Le Mans.
Completing a total of 326 laps the #73 Corvette C6.R driven by Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor finished fifth in the GTE Pro category after enduring a tough race which saw the team replacing the steering rack and battle electrical problems including an alternator change with just four hours of the race remaining. Le Mans rookie Jordan Taylor lead the way with a triple stint at dawn follows by double stints from Jan Magnussen and a triple by Antonio Garcia.
The No. 73 Corvette C6.R driven by Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia, and Jordan Taylor completed 326 laps and finished fifth in the GTE Pro category. The No. 74 Corvette C6.R of Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, and Richard Westbrook completed 215 laps and was sixth across the finish line, but was not classified because the car did not complete the minimum race distance. The No. 51 AF Corsa Ferrari won the GTE Pro class by a three-lap margin with 336 laps completed.
Garcia was left ruing the mechanical failures following the race, “some years ago you could maybe still hope to make up a five-lap deficit over 12 hours, but nowadays the competition is so tough that the slightest problem puts you out of contention,” he said, before adding “we'll have to come back next year for some suitable revenge.”
Le Mans rookie Taylor relished the opportunity to race at Circuit de la Sarthe, “It was great to race at Le Mans, every stint I’ve done has been better and better. It was a relief to get through those stints safely, without any mistakes and keeping the car on the track.”
“It was just beginning to get light when I started, and it was really cool to go through the Porsche Curves at sunrise and then down the Esses at Dunlop, to remember the footage and photos from the old days and to think that I was in the same position as those cars. I’m glad I got to do that kind of stint and feel the history while I was driving,” he added.
The #74 was not classed in the official race results despite finishing as the Corvette hadn’t completed the full race distance required, this was due to time lost following a crash at the Porsche Curves. Tommy Milner. Nursed the car back to the garage where then team proceeded to rebuild most of the rear end of the car. With the pitstop taking a total time of 2 hours and 12 minutes Oliver Gavin was held in the pits until the final 40 minutes to ensure a finish on his 12th appearance at Le Mans.
Doug Fehan, Corvette Racing Program Manager saw positives in the result despite not achieving any podiums. “Sometimes in motorsports, the greatest battles that are waged are not against a competitor, but rather against the challenges that one faces.”
“When we got to the 12-hour mark, it became clear that it would be difficult to leave Le Mans with a victory. At that point we engaged the enemy head on, which was adversity. I think by any measure, anyone who watched this event saw us emerge victorious against that enemy as we brought both cars home once again to a finish in one of the most brutal, hard-fought battles in our Le Mans history.”
“I think we can all be proud of the passion, the dedication, and that never-say-die attitude of Corvette Racing. Hopefully, our fans enjoyed every minute of it.” he finished.
Doug Louth, Engineering Director: “We had the drivers, cars, and team to compete for a win this weekend. It was a pleasant surprise to find our lead increasing at night as the cool conditions are the most challenging for us. It's unfortunate we weren't able to leverage our warm weather performance on Sunday afternoon – we expected to gain performance as the temperature increased and for our competitors to drop off. What we ended up with is a fresh reminder of the scope of the undertaking that is the 24 Hours of Le Mans. There are so many details, checklists, and tasks that go into running the perfect 24-hour race. We missed a few of these today and had some bad luck along the way, but we have our 13th Le Mans 24 behind us, and we're already looking to 2013.”