June 3, 2018 — by Kay Presto, www.carsandcompetition.com
Corvette Racing ran through its scheduled testing items Sunday during eight hours of track time ahead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans as the team looks toward what it hopes is a ninth class victory in the annual French endurance race. At the end of testing, just 0.038 seconds separated both the bright yellow Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs around the 8.47-mile Circuit de la Sarthe.
Oliver Gavin was the quickest Corvette Racing driver during the annual Le Mans Test Day in the No. 64 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R with a lap of 3:54.179 (130.177 mph) lap. Driving with Tommy Milner and Marcel Fässler, Gavin set his best lap in the final hour of the test, which was run in dry conditions, although weather did threaten throughout the final four hours.
The lap was good enough for 10th place in the 17-car field of GTE Pro entries, which features cars from five manufacturers. It came after an extended stop to repair a suspension component on the No. 64 Corvette while Milner was at the wheel. The team pulled both Corvettes into the garage to inspect and make the necessary fixes to get both cars back out on circuit inside the final hour.
“This morning the track was very dirty as it always is in this test, but the car was okay straight away,” said Gavin. “We worked through a number of changes while the track slowly improved, as did our lap times. We’re mid-field in terms of pace but we stuck to our plan. We had a suspension problem which cost a chunk of time this afternoon, which means I didn’t drive at all after lunch, bar four laps near the end of the day. It’s a little frustrating of course that I haven’t been able to do as many laps as I would have wanted to, but the most important thing is that all three of us set similar lap times and have the same feedback for the engineers. Now we have to debrief and prepare for race week.”
Antonio Garcia was the fastest driver with a 3:54.217 (130.115 mph) in the No. 63 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R that he shared with Jan Magnussen. Mike Rockenfeller, who missed the Test Day due to a prior racing commitment, will join the duo for race-week activities. Garcia’s time slotted him just behind Gavin in 11th place.
“It was a good day… very useful.,” said Garcia. “We managed to get quite a bit done. The biggest thing is trying to catch up with the European-spec Michelin tires, which are quite a bit different from those we run in the U.S. We just ran our program and got all the data we needed, so now we look to finding a better package for next week.”
Corvette Racing returns to the Le Mans circuit for opening practice at 4 p.m. CET/10 a.m. ET on Wednesday, June 13. The 24 Hours of Le Mans will air live on the Velocity Channel and MotorTrend On-Demand with coverage of all on-track sessions available on RadioLeMans.com.