Corvette’s perfect day
Corvette’s perfect day
But despite the carnage, one Corvette, a Dane, a Spaniard and an Australian kept their nose clean. In fact, if it wasn’t for the various bits of rubber, grim and dead bugs that adorned the No.3 Corvette, you’d never know the car had completed a 24 hour race.
Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia and Ryan Briscoe completed the perfect race. It’s not like they didn’t have outright pace and just lucked into this – Magnussen set the fastest race lap of the class.
But despite completing a race in a manner that will have Corvette program manager Doug Fehan using this race as an example to all future Corvette drivers as to how to follow the “team rules” – Garcia still came under huge pressure in the closing laps when the yellow flag came out to clean up the crash of Colin Braun’s CORE autosport PC car.
The No.25 BMW with Dirk Werner at the wheel may have been missing it’s rear bodywork, but it wasn’t lacking in speed. Garcia was well aware that all the good work completed in the previous 23 hours and 45 minutes would be for nothing if he couldn’t hold out the German.
“I feel like I’m getting to be an expert in these last-minute finishes,” Garcia said.
“We had a few last year and luckily we won all of them. I’m happy about that but there was a lot of pressure. If I had to choose, I’m glad I was in the car because I wouldn’t have been able to stand back in the pit box.
“Everything was perfect. It was 24 hours of fuel, Michelin tires, a few sets of brake pads and windshield tear-offs. And that was it. That’s the key. We all drove fast but careful. The thing about this race is that you need to keep everything in one piece for the end. We kept the car alive and working to the end. I’m really excited.”
The return to victory lane was welcome news for Magnussen and Garcia who saw their championship hopes slip away last year after IMSA Adjustment of Performance changes hinder their speed after claiming four wins in a row.
“Well, it’s just a fantastic feeling,” Magnussen said.
“When you arrive at the race and the car just comes alive and you feel you have a car that you can race with, and you can attack, and you can be fast when you need to; then you’ve got to be lucky.
“You’ve got to stay out of trouble and run to your plan and I think everybody on the No. 3 car, the crew, the drivers and everybody just performed perfectly today. We were fast and made no mistakes and pushed when we had to and relax when we needed to.”
Today’s result was the first win for Corvette Racing by Briscoe who joined the team for the first time at Daytona last year. It was a fitting win for the Australian as his fellow countrymen began their celebrations of “Australia Day” – their national holiday version of America’s Independence Day.
“Yeah, it’s awesome. I’m so proud,” Briscoe said.
“There’s a lot of pressure to do my part and this team just gave us a car that was a dream to drive. We started off struggling a bit I think.
“The key was Friday in final practice. We really got the car dialed in and it was just so consistent through the whole race and was really, really good. I couldn’t wish for better teammates and a better team to race for.”