Though final caution that brought the race to an end under yellow flags may have prevented a move for the lead in the closing laps Corvette Racing still left Lime Rock Park and the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix with their best finish since 2008.
Making his 100th start in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Jan Magnussen was chasing Porsche driver Joerg Bergmeister – similarly completing a century of starts in the ALMS – in the closing laps with Oliver Gavin in the sister Corvette and Guy Cosmo for Extreme Speed Motorsports following close behind after the pack had been bunched up by a previous caution period.
But when Cosmo was ejected into the tyre wall to bring out a final caution the two yellow Corvettes were forced to follow Bergmeister across the line at the end of the two hour, 45 minute race.
“At the end I was looking for that one opportunity to try a do-or-die pass, but it never came,” said Magnussen. “I needed a little traffic to get in Joerg’s way to be able to pass him. The only issue we had was that when I got close, I’d lose some aero downforce on the front end so I didn’t have the grip to do a normal pass. After our previous results at Lime Rock, second is a fantastic result for the team.”
Gavin finished third in the #4 car that Tommy Milner had started from pole position in the GT class after the fastest car in qualifying was forced to start from the pitlane.
“I felt confident at the start of the race, and I was ready to go,” Milner said. “Then I had a bad restart after the first caution period. On this track, you have to pick a lane and hope that it works out. When my lane didn’t go, I lost three or four spots. That’s frustrating, but you just keep your head down and keep going. I got stuck behind a BMW for at least 15 laps, and when an LMPC spun in the chicane ahead of me, I locked up and touched him just a little bit. I think I flat-spotted the left-front tire and was just holding on after that.”
The touch with the stray LMPC car – Gavin said – made the car “a little too pushy”, the British driver admitting it was tough to make up lost ground on the tight 1.5 mile track.
Still their third place increased the pair's lead at the top of the GT points standings and helped Corvette extend their lead in the manufacturers’ standings to ten points over BMW. The good weekend for Corvette was completed by Magnussen and co-driver Antonio Garcia collecting the Michelin Green X Challenge victory for GT.