Corvette at Le Mans
Second and Fourth in Class for C7.R
Larry Jewett - June 18, 2014 10:22 AM
Jordan Taylor (left), Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen, drivers of the #73 Corvette Racing C7.R, celebrate their second place win in the GTE Pro class Sunday, June 15, 2014 of the 24 Hours of Le Mans at the Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France.Photo by Richard Prince for Chevy Racing
Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Richard Westbrook, drivers of the #74 Corvette Racing C7.R, compete Saturday, June 14, 2014 in the GTE Pro class of the 24 Hours of Le Mans at Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France.Photo by Richard Prince for Chevy Racing
The new Chevrolet Corvette C7.R is a podium finisher in its debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Jordan Taylor were runners- up in the GTE Pro class in Corvette Racing's No. 73 Corvette C7.R thanks to late-race heroics by the trio.
Despite losing valuable laps due to safety car nuances and a faulty valve stem for the Corvette's air jack system, the No. 73 Corvette and its drivers completed 338 laps and finished a lap shy of the team's first victory at the French endurance classic since 2011. The runner-up Corvette traveled 2,862.52 miles in the event.
"It was an honor to race the Chevrolet Corvette C7.R at the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans in the GTE Pro class," said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. Vice President, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. "While Corvette Racing has won in class seven times, we are proud of the persistence, determination and teamwork from the drivers, engineers and crew that delivered a runner-up finish for the new Corvette C7.R. The team's 'never-give-up' approach was evident during each lap, pit stop and driver rotation. Thanks to the Corvette and Chevrolet owners who supported the Corvette Racing efforts at Le Mans or followed the racing action this weekend from around the world."
The first daylight hours Sunday saw the trio fighting back after losing laps to a faulty valve stem for the car's air jack and twice being separated from its competitors by a safety car in the race's opening 12 hours. The No. 73 Corvette led for extended periods in the early portion of the race.
The final four hours of the race started with Taylor trailing the third-place Porsche by about 90 seconds before the young American drove a storming triple-stint to close the gap by more than half to 47 seconds. By the time he handed the No. 73 Corvette over to Magnussen and the Dane completed his first flying lap of his final stint, the interval to the new second-place Porsche was 28 seconds with an hour and 40 minutes left.
Magnussen drove a single stint and handed over to Garcia. The Spaniard took out huge chunks of time and took the second position for good when the Porsche pitted with trouble 75 minutes from the end.
The No. 74 Corvette C7.R of Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Richard Westbrook placed fourth in class. The car had been running in podium contention as well before losing eight laps due to a slipped alternator belt and gearbox leak.
Gavin had reported a low voltage reading and a burning smell inside the car near the halfway point. Upon further examination, the crew found the alternator belt covered with oil.
"As always, Le Mans was a stern test," said Mark Kent, Director of Chevrolet Racing. "Achieving a runner-up position for the No. 73 Corvette is remarkable. It is a great reward for the dedication and work ethic of our team at Corvette Racing, Pratt & Miller and our Powertrain Group. We look forward to continuing this momentum when we return to the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen in two weeks."
(information courtesy of www.corvetteracing.com)