Corvette Racing has the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) GT title in its sight if things go their way at the Oak Tree Grand Prix in Virginia.
Whilst the drivers championship will go down to the wire at Petit Le Mans, the Teams and Manufacturers championships if both cars either finish sixth or above or either car takes the overall victory.
That’s what happened in 2012 – Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner won the race and with it the ALMS GT Driver’s Championship – the team will be hoping that pairing, or the pairing of Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen could get the job done for them.
Magnussen said of the race at VIR: “I’ve raced at VIR in the past with the Rolex Series, and all the way back in the Panoz days we would test there. I really enjoy the track and the whole area. We will race for the first time there without the Oak Tree. It was very much the trademark of the track but it will still be a good race without it.
“The circuit is pretty narrow with some really, really fast sections. It’s very hard to pass at VIR, especially with the situation we are in with top speed. But we do have a very good-handling car. It will be tough for us to pass anyone but I have great faith in the guys that if we are a little behind, we can turn it around with a minimum of two stops. It’s different from last year when it was a four-hour race. We will have to go there and see if we can qualify toward the front. When we aren’t the fastest car, much more emphasis goes into qualifying because you can control the race from the front. It’s much harder controlling anything when you’re fifth.”
Indeed it is Magnussen and Garcia in the #3 that are in the prime position for the ALMS Driver’s crown, on 112 points they are 13 ahead of Dirk Muller in the BMW RLL Z4. With 20 points available for a win, none of the three are out of the fight – the sister Corvette is also only 5 points behind Muller with the #4 on 94 points.
Gavin stated: “We really just have to go for it and go for wins over the next two races. We have to try and score maximum points to give ourselves a chance and see how others’ races go. There still is some 12 hours and 45 minutes of racing to go in the season so there is still plenty that can happen. We know from our experience at COTA that it can turn around very quickly. It’s not all lost and the possibility of winning is still there. But it does give us a mountain to climb. We can’t afford to sit back and be content to collect points. We have to maximize every opportunity.”
The Oak Tree Grand Prix is on Saturday live on alms.com or Motors TV in Europe.