Michelin helps Corvette, Ford prevail at Long Beach

April 14, 2018

Michelin helps Corvette, Ford prevail at Long Beach

April 14, 2018

Michelin technical partner factory teams from BMW, Corvette, Ford, and Porsche packed a season’s worth of action into 100 minutes on the streets of Long Beach, but it was a milestone victory for Corvette Racing that took the day.

Each manufacturer team enjoyed shining moments for the third stop of the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Ford started on the pole, while Porsche and BMW led at various stages. But in the end it was the No. 4 Corvette Racing C7.R, driven by defending race champions Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner that claimed the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class victory.

Ultra competitive afternoon

Led by pole sitter Joey Hand’s Ford GT best race lap at 1:17.640, the top seven cars in the fierce GTLM field broke the previous track record.

The seven posted best race laps within an incredibly tight 0.332 of a second range on the difficult, slick 1.968-mile circuit.

“With so many different series and tire makers here this weekend, the chemical interactions of the various compounds combined with track temperatures up to 108 degrees made the circuit slick and the racing line very narrow,” said Ken Payne, technical director motorsport, Michelin North America.

Ford (Daytona), Porsche (Sebring) and Corvette (Long Beach) have now claimed victories in the first three events of the season. Corvette (Daytona), BMW (Sebring) and Ford (Long Beach) have claimed poles.

Gavin’s day

The victory was the fifth at Long Beach for Gavin, the last three co-driving with Milner who paid tribute to his teammate. Milner and Gavin also won at Long Beach in 2012 and 2017. Today’s win comes six years to the day after the 2012 win, which set Milner and Gavin on the path to that year’s GT class championship.

“This is Oliver’s day. Fifty wins is an incredible milestone. Oliver has had a great impact on my career and I am very grateful to be his teammate,” said Milner.

“The success of Corvette Racing is based up our continuity with drivers, our pit crew, the entire team and our key partners like Michelin,” said Gavin.

Ford stays on top

The 2018 WeatherTech GTLM Champinship leading No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT, driven by Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook finished second to extend its points lead.

They were joined on the podium by Ford Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller. The defending series champions, Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen of Corvette Racing, finished fourth.

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