Mixed bag in first qualifying for Corvette C7.R

Gavin fourth in GTLM order; electrical issue sidelines No. 3 Corvette

Mixed bag in first qualifying for Corvette C7.R

Corvette Racing’s first qualifying session with the Chevrolet Corvette C7.R proved to be a bit of a mixed bag at Daytona International Speedway. Oliver Gavin qualified the No. 4 Corvette C7.R fourth in the GT Le Mans class for the 52nd Rolex 24 At Daytona – the opening round of the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

The Briton turned a best lap of 1:44.729 (122.373 mph) in the Corvette C7.R he will share with Tommy Milner and Robin Liddell for the twice-around-the-clock endurance classic. Gavin was only 0.223 seconds off Marc Goossen’s pole-winning pace with the top five cars within 0.240 seconds.

“It’s very good,” Gavin said. “We’re there and only a couple tenths of pole. I’m pretty happy with that. We’re obviously right at the beginning of the development curve of this car so that’s pretty awesome. We know we have a lot more to come.”

#4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin, Tom Milner, Robin Liddell
#4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin, Tom Milner, Robin Liddell

Photo by: Trevor Horn

Fortunes were not as good in the No. 3 camp. With Jan Magnussen set to qualify the car, his Corvette developed an electrical and throttle issue that sidelined the Dane’s qualifying run. It was doubly disappointing after Antonio Garcia, Magnussen’s teammate along with Ryan Briscoe, set the class’s fastest time in the morning practice.

This year’s Rolex 24 is Corvette Racing’s return to Daytona after winning the race overall in 2001 with a Corvette C5-R. The event also served as the team’s debut race in 1999. The new Corvette C7.R carries on the strong heritage of racing Corvettes – including the C6.R that swept the American Le Mans Series’ GT championships in 2012 and 2013 – with a stronger and lighter aluminum frame that matches the one available in the 2015 Corvette Z06 production car.

The C7.R also has a direct-injected V8 engine and the most aggressive aero package developed for a racing Corvette.

Television coverage of the Rolex 24 At Daytona will be available on the FOX family of channels, starting with the FOX network’s two-hour broadcast at 2 p.m. The race also will air on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2, along with overnight streaming video at imsa.com.

The TUDOR Championship is the result of a merger between the ALMS and GRAND-AM’s Rolex Sports Car Series. Corvette Racing will compete in 11 races around North America plus the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“Obviously starting down the order like this changes things a little. It’s still a long, long race but it’s a shame that we didn’t get to have a proper qualifying session and place ourselves on the grid where we deserve to be. I’m not sure of the problem but it was big enough that we couldn’t qualify. We will attack the race from where we start and see what that gets us. It’s not the end of all things, but it’s not optimal either. We can come back from this, I’m sure. We will have to work a little bit harder.”

OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“I was pretty fortunate that I managed to get a tow from Patrick Long (in a Porsche) on my fastest lap which gave us a tenth of a second. Our car was very strong in the infield section and felt very good. The Michelin tires worked pretty well in the conditions. It was great to get out there and get the first qualifying session done. Where we qualify today has very little impact on how the race will go Saturday and Sunday. Unfortunately we didn’t get that first session due to an electrical problem. Had we gotten that session, could we have gotten a bit closer? Most probably. But it comes down again to a new car and getting everything dialed in. We found that particular problem and it won’t happen again. But it’s interesting times. I’m pleased to be as close as we are.”

DOUG FEHAN, CORVETTE RACING PROGRAM MANAGER
"It was a great day for Chevrolet and Corvette Racing as the Chevrolet Corvette C7.R continued to show tremendous competitive potential - evidenced by Oliver Gavin’s very respectable qualifying time in the No. 4 car. With the top five cars within 0.240 seconds, it shows just how close this GT Le Mans class continues to be. Unfortunately, we did have an electrical issue on the No. 3 Corvette, and it was unable to qualify despite having run very strong in the morning and afternoon practice sessions. Rest assured, the Corvette Racing team will diagnose the issue, learn from it and be ready to go for what promises to be a thrilling race.”

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