From agony to ecstasy for No. 3 Corvette

October 23, 2018

From agony to ecstasy for No. 3 Corvette

October 23, 2018

When Antonio Garcia lost the rear end of his No. 3 Corvette C7.R during Motul Petit Le Mans, shock swept through Road Atlanta.

“First of all, I didn’t believe it was our car in the wall!” said Corvette Racing team principal Gary Pratt of Pratt & Miller.

“I had to look twice. But it was yellow. And it was Antonio, and he rarely makes any mistakes, so it was really surprising.

“So that took 10 seconds, and then we look to what we do next.”

Indeed Garcia, renowned for his race craft, speed and cleanliness, had made an incredibly rare unforced error.

But true to the testament of the Corvette Racing team, there was not anger about what happened.

Instead, there was simply the need to push on the new plan to keep the championship hopes alive for Garcia and Jan Magnussen. Crew chief Dan Binks and engineer Kyle Millay have instilled that mindset in the No. 3 crew.

Garcia reflected on the moment both immediately after the race and later at the WeatherTech Night of Champions celebration.

On Saturday night, Garcia said, “At the end of the day, I mean, it got to a point where it didn’t matter where we finished. We lost 2-3 laps. So it was all about the No. 67 (Ford) not winning this race or finishing second!

“It went from being one of my best races of the year, to one of the most embarrassing moments of my career. That’s what happened. It really caught me on cold tires. People coming by, I didn’t expect it.

“But luckily all the homework was done before this race so I could afford that mistake and we still managed it.”

With a day to reflect, Garcia was able to breathe a little bit easier.

“First of all, I was embarrassed. Second, I thought, ‘Where am I in my Corvette contract?'” Garcia deadpanned, which sent the crowd into laughter.

“Then after that, every single face of Corvette Racing went through my mind. The team took over. You saw what they did, changing the nose, the whole front of the car.”

The repair job saved the championship hopes. Garcia entered the pit lane and was back on track after a trip behind the wall in merely five minutes, 36 seconds.

In that time, the Corvette crew replaced its nose, front fender and engine floor in lightning quick speed to keep the No. 3 C7.R in the race and in the championship hunt.

It was a Herculean effort that turned an eighth place finish into a championship-winning result for Garcia and Magnussen to save their title hopes.

We’ll have more on their season as a whole in the coming days.

Latest Photos

Latest Video

61-Car Field Drives a Combined 140,000 miles at 2023 Rolex 24

Friday March 3, 2023