Corvette Racing turned it around in 2016 starting the season with the thrilling 24 Hours of Daytona 1-2 finish and never trailed in championship points the full season.
Corvette Sweeps GTLM Class
In yesterday's final race of the season at Road America, a 10 hour event, the #4 Corvette driven by Tommy Milner, Oliver Gavin, and guest driver for the endurance race, Marcel Fassler, finished third to capture the Manufacturer Championship for Chevrolet, the Team Championship, and the Driver Championship. The team only had to finish 7th or better to win the triple crown, calling for a cautious approach in the final race. Showing their competitive spirit, the team was on the same lap as the first and second place cars, just seconds behind the leading Ferrari after 10 hours. The #3 Corvette, driven by Jan Magnussen, Antonio Gracia, and guest driver, Mike Rockenfeller finished in fourth place, one lap behind the podium finishers.
Since 2001 -- When Corvette Racing entered the GT racing programs -- Corvette Racing has:
- Won 10 Driver's championships, more than any other brand;
- Won 11 Team championships, more than any other brand; and
- Won 11 Manufacturer championships, also more than any other brand.
In the preseason, with the introduction of the Ford GT40, the automotive press was billing 2016 as the year of "Chevy VS Ford" a reprise of the muscle car era. At the beginning of the season Ford (blue) was consistently running last and the battle was between Porsche (green), the 2015 Champions, and Corvette (yellow). In the fourth race, Laguna Seca, the Ford boys got the bugs worked out and finished 1st three races in-a-row (aided, of course, by the "Balance of Performance" handicaps imposed on Corvette and Porsche). Corvette then finished 1st the next three races and 2nd to Porsche at COTA to virtually close out the season with one race remaining. Of the 11 races, Corvette finished 1st five times, Ford 3 times, Porsche twice and Ferrari (red) finally won on the final race of the year. BMW (black), who just a few years ago was the team to beat, never was a factor in 2016.
There are a few untold stories:
- You won't hear it much in the Automotive press, but Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia had a great season, finishing 3rd in the Driver's standings, making it a 1 - 3 finish for the Corvettes. Whenever the #4 car had issues this season, the #3 car was right there to defend the manufacturer points for Chevrolet. They finished 1st once, 2nd twice, 3rd twice, and 4th twice; without those points the end result would have been different.
- The Risi Competizione Ferrari Team driving the 488 GTE car were enormously competitive all season, and particularly at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. They probably led more laps all season than any other car. However, unlike all the other manufacturers, the Ferrari guys are running a one-car show. Impressive performance.
- Watch out for BMW next year! Going from a close second to last is not their style.