Corvette racers confident but wary ahead of showdown

Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner, who need only to finish seventh at Petit Le Mans to win the IMSA GT Le Mans Drivers’ championship, say they still need to be on their game to clinch the crown.

Corvette racers confident but wary ahead of showdown
GTLM podium: winners Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Marcel Fässler, Corvette Racing
#3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen
Tommy Milner, Corvette Racing
#4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner
#3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen, Mike Rockenfeller
#4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin, Marcel Fässler
#4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Marcel Fässler
Race winners Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen, Corvette Racing
#4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner
#3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen
Race winners #3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen

Gavin and Milner have earned four wins this year, including the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona and the Sebring 12 Hours, and currently lie 11 points ahead of their nearest competitors for the IMSA GTLM title, Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe in the Ganassi-Ford GT. Should the Anglo-Australian duo, who have three wins, win at Road Atlanta this weekend, the Corvette #4 only needs a seventh place in a 10-car class for Gavin and Milner to grab title honors.

Said five-time Petit Le Mans winner Gavin: “As a driver, you dream about coming to a race like Petit Le Mans with a lead in the championship. Tommy, myself and everyone on the #4 team know what we have to do. If we have a clean race with no mistakes, we will reach our goal in the championship.

“It’s never easy to do that at Road Atlanta, though,” he added. “The nature of the racetrack and the size of the field increase that challenge. I feel we are very prepared for the event on the heels of our test there last month. Everyone at Corvette Racing is feeling very positive so now it’s up to us to execute and do our jobs.”

Milner, who has never won at Petit Le Mans but did drive to the American Le Mans Series GT title in 2012 with Gavin, stated: “For us the big challenge is going to be to do all 10 hours. That exists no matter what, but now the pressure is on for sure not to make mistakes.

“If we think we can cruise, that is usually when people start making mistakes. We still need to be on our game. We know our competitors will be trying super hard for a win. That’s not to say that we aren’t going to try; I would love to go out and finish the season with a win. The Corvette C7.R was good in testing there, so if it’s fast again, we are going to go for it.”

Marcel Fassler, who accompanied Milner and Gavin to Victory Lane at Daytona and Sebring this year, will reprise his role in the #4 Corvette this weekend.

The 40-year-old Swiss stated: “I’ve only raced at Road Atlanta a couple of times in my career, but it is a very memorable circuit with lots of elevation change and fast corners. It should be a very good track for the Corvette C7.R.

“I’m excited about getting back with Oliver and Tommy. My goal is to do what I can to help them win the GTLM Championship and hopefully another race win.”

Chevrolet needs only to start the race to claim its 11th Manufacturer championship, given that it lies 20 points ahead of Ford.

Chevrolet also has an outside chance of taking a 1-2 in the championship, since the the #3 car of Antonio Garcia/Jan Magnussen has taken first and third places in the last two races, and is now 13 points behind Briscoe/Westbrook. Their teammate for the race, in which Corvette has won eight times in 17 attempts, will be Mike Rockenfeller.

Corvette Racing has won Petit Le Mans eight times in its last 17 attempts.

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