Magnussen, Garcia snatch GTLM points lead at VIR

August 24, 2018

Magnussen, Garcia snatch GTLM points lead at VIR

August 24, 2018

Corvette Racing’s Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia came out of Sunday’s Michelin GT Challenge at VIR with the GT Le Mans class points lead.

Consistency rather than victories have netted the defending class champions in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship their first points lead of the year.

The drivers of the No. 3 Corvette C7.R have finished on the podium in six consecutive races. That’s a run that dates to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course back in May. It was a finish that kickstarted their season.

This run also includes a perfect five-for-five run of podiums since July 1. This is IMSA’s longest run of races in a short time period, held over the last eight weeks.

Magnussen and Garcia finished second three straight races at Watkins Glen, CTMP and Lime Rock. At Road America, they were third. They were back to second at VIRginia International Raceway.

The VIR runner-up finish – sandwiched in-between two BMW M8 GTEs – was a huge result on a day both Ford Chip Ganassi Racing GTs hit trouble.

Garcia, who started the car before turning over to Magnussen, hailed yet another team effort that produced this result.

“We have to be happy,” he said. “We were in a situation where we put Jan into a difficult situation by having to double stint at the end. But at the end of the day, it’s very decent with the end result.

“Chasing the victory and missing it by one or two laps seems like Road America. However second means a lot of points. We can’t complain.”

Garcia said Magnussen always had the edge over Jesse Krohn’s BMW in the final race stint.

“I don’t think it was defense. I think it was a charge (from Jesse). He didn’t take (new) tires either,” Garcia explained. “But once he was clear, he cleared everybody. Krohn was close but due to traffic, then Jan opened up the gap again.”

The result leaves Magnussen and Garcia four points (269-265) clear of prior points leaders Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe in the No. 67 Ford. Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller are third in the No. 66 Ford, five points further back (260).

Ever the gentleman, Garcia said he wasn’t happy to see Westbrook and Briscoe – both past Corvette drivers – encounter clutch issues that sabotaged their race at VIR.

“I like Richard and Ryan, so I cannot be happy for what happened to them. It’s very unfortunate luck,” he said. “For us, it’s been our consistency that is helping most.”

Corvette trails Ford by 12 points in the manufacturer’s championship.

Next race up for IMSA is at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on September 9.

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