They led the final two practice session, scored the pole and then dominated the race day action – Corvette Racing’s Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia pulled off a sparking performance to win the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR.
The victory by the Danish/Spanish duo broke a 19-race streak dating back to their win at Sebring in 2015. Magnussen started the race and made a perfect start to grab the lead over the Ford of Joey Hand.
The Corvette Racing ace withstood pressure from Hand and eventually pulled out a handy lead before handing over to Garcia after the opening stint.
The Spaniard continued to lead and had to withstand a final one lap dash to victory after a full course yellow with seven minutes remaining – ironically caused by Magnussen and Garcia’s teammate Oliver Gavin who crashed.
“It was a fantastic drive by Antonio. He kept the gaps and opened them a little bit. I know it got a little scary at the end with one lap to go. It scared the hell out of me. But he did a fantastic drive and always does.”
“We knew that it would be very hot. Yesterday, our Michelin tire engineer and Corvette Racing engineers got together before qualifying and decided that the best plan was a set-up that would take several laps to build tire pressures but would stay consistent for the entire stint and that was exactly what we did.
“Winning today – Oh man! It’s about time! It was a great job by the whole team all week. Green with one lap to go…it scared the hell out of me. The No. 3 Corvette team has had a tough run this year and it’s great to be back in the Winner’s Circle.”
Garcia and Magnussen won the final American Le Mans Series GT title in 2013, won four races in a row 2014, won Daytona and Sebring back-to-back in 2015 and then went into a victory drought that was broken today.
“Yeah, it was a very hard race. My team got me a three to four second gap and then it was a classic green/white/checkered. Not even green then white, it was like white and checkered,” Garcia said.
“It was an amazing race and the Corvette was brilliant. So I just need to thank the whole Corvette team and Chevy. Everyone did a fantastic job today. It really paid off to be out testing on Monday and Tuesday (at Road Atlanta).”
Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller finished second ahead of Earl Bamber and Fred Makowiecki aboard the No.912 Porsche.
The final restart caused a clash when Bamber and Giancarlo Fisichella’s Ferrari clashed in turn one – the Ferrari spinning out of third position.
The GTD class was dominated by Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini who completed a perfect weekend with Madison Snow and Bryan Sellers – the duo led every session of the week. All three practices, qualifying and then scoring the first victory for the Italian marque.