Who can catch the Corvette duo?
Who can catch the Corvette duo?
The Corvette squad dominated qualifying yesterday with Jan Magnussen and Tommy Milner and their respective teammates Antonio Garcia and Oliver Gavin set the top two times in the warm-up this morning.
But can Ford, Ferrari, BMW or Porsche run down the championship leaders Gavin and Milner and yesterday’s pole winning entry of Magnussen and Garcia in the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR.
Ford’s Joey Hand is confident the Le Mans-winning squad will be closer to the pace this afternoon.
“This new track surface here at VIR is really good. Everybody questioned what was going to happen before we got here. You never really know when you come to a track with fresh pavement, but it’s taking down rubber really well,” Hand said.
“It’s really quick, even with the heat we have this weekend. There’s a ton of grip. It looks like it’s going to be a pretty racy place.
“For us, we kind of hit the set-up pretty decent when we got here. We’ve been pretty comfortable in the car. I said at Road America that the car set-up there was my favorite since I’ve driven this GT, and this is my second favorite.
“It’s not quite as good as Road America, but it’s pretty strong. Dirk (MÃ¼ller) and I have been comfortable with the car every session. We’re in the mix. The Chevys are pretty strong this weekend, but our thing is about racing. That’s why we come out here and especially why I come out here. We plan on fighting them until the end.
“We have a good race car, but I think we have a good racing car and my job is going to be to start this thing and keep it in the mix and let Dirk go take a swing at it.”
Risi Competizione’s Giancarlo Fisichella has a race win to his credit here at VIR and the Ferrari squad is keen to record their first victory of 2016.
The Ferrari 488 GTE ace will start fourth today in the entry he shares with Toni Vilander.
“I think it was a difficult qualifying session, but I think fourth is the maximum we could achieve. The circuit was really hot and very slippery,” Fisichella said.
“We probably made a small mistake on the tire pressure by starting them a bit higher to have the tires come in early, where my fastest lap was my last lap.
“Apart from that, the car balance wasn’t too bad and we are quite confident for the race base.”
BMW’s Dirk Werner was happy with the balance of his M6 GTLM but disappointed with his overall pace in qualifying. He is another GT Le Mans veteran who believes his brand will be closer to the race pace today.
“The car felt quite good, but the lap time is not quite there to be up front,” Werner said.
“In the end it is disappointing if you have a car you feel has a good balance and you can’t fight for the pole.
“I think we have quite a good car for the race distance and a consistent balance, which might help us over the race. The team did a good job as the car feels good.”
Last year’s winners Porsche North America is deperate to return to their winning ways but struggled in qualifying yesterday. 2015 race winner Nick Tandy is still confident they be a contender when the green flag is waved at 1:30pm today.
“The qualifying wasn’t as bad as it may seem at first glance,” Tandy said.
“We made several changes to our 911 RSR which have had quite a positive impact. Apart from the two Corvettes, we aren’t that far off the fastest, so I think we have a good chance to do better in the race.”
Today’s race will be shown in the US live on Fox Sports 1. International viewers can check their options by visiting www.imsa.tv