Corvette Racing is once again on its way to total domination during this season’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. In January, the pair of C7.Rs secured an unforgettable 1-2 victory at the Rolex 24, setting the tone for how it would go this year for the GT team. And at the 12 Hours of Sebring on Saturday– the second of the three major endurance races every year– the Corvette came in with another class victory.
The No. 4 C7.R crossed the line first, leading the GTLM class just as it did at Daytona and placing 11th overall. Drivers Tommy Milner, Oliver Gavin and Marcel Fassler achieved class victory for the second time this year.
The No. 3 Corvette, on the other hand, got the short end of the stick. While at Daytona in January, the No. 3 team at least had a chance to battle it out against its counterpart, coming within only tenths of a second shy of first place. This time around, however, at about seven hours in, Jan Magnussen and the competing No. 911 Porsche GTLM collided and spun violently off the track.
The two were neck and neck, battling for the GTLM class lead when– from what we can tell in the above video– the Porsche (who was taking an inside line, on the wet side of the track) locked up its tires and failed to execute the turn. Magnussen in the C7.R was overtaking the Audi GTD in between, succeeded in passing it, and met the traction-less Porsche on the other side. The impact left the two careening off of the track and into the barrier, with considerable force behind them.
Fortunately, both drivers were unharmed; the cars, however, weren’t so lucky, as both were effectively totaled. Nonetheless, Magnussen was able to start the No. 3 C7.R back up and drive away from the wreck, making a few turns before pulling off the track to be taken to the pits.
Aside from the obvious body damage, the car was reported to have completely busted it’s rear suspension. However, the Corvette Racing team was able to have the C7.R up and running again within roughly 90 minutes, and the car was still able to finish the race. The crash caused an unrecoverable loss of headway and the No. 3 car went from fighting for first in its class to finishing in 9th, with a 41st-place finish overall. Had the accident not happened, we suspect that Magnussen would have been more than capable of pulling away from the Porsche and following through with first place all the way to the end.
Oliver Gavin was at the helm of the No. 4 C7.R at the time of the crash, in 22nd place overall. By the ninth hour, he had crept to the front of the GTLM class and locked down that position for the remainder of the race, making up for Magnussen’s spill and securing a win for the Corvette Racing team.
Thus America’s sports car claimed the second member of it’s potential triple crown– and on its 60th running in the race, at that. The next leg of the 12 WeatherTech races is coming up on April 15th and 16th, at the Long Beach Street Circuit here in California. However, the third and final major endurance race of this year– the 24 Hours of Le Mans– is not until June 15th.
Until then, we’ll patiently wait to see if Corvette Racing can pull off their second Triple Crown in a row.