FROM PRESS RELEASE
SEBRING, Fla. (March 18, 2017) – Corvette Racing stormed to a stunning class victory in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida on Saturday – its third straight in North America’s oldest endurance sports car race. Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller drove the winning No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R to a 4.453-second victory for the team’s 11th Sebring class victory.
It ended an amazing comeback for the No. 3 Corvette, which ran sixth as late as the eight-and-a-half-hour mark of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s second round. After maintaining through difficult conditions and bad luck in the afternoon, a series of strategic calls, strong pit stops and exceptional driving resulted in another Sebring triumph for America’s sports car.
Garcia drove a stunning final two hours and 53 minutes to claim victory. He led the final 35 laps and withstood intense pressure from other contenders in the class. While Sebring’s brutal conditions and bad luck began to claim other entries, the No. 3 Corvette and its team ran a nearly flawless race.
Saturday’s victory was Magnussen’s fifth at Sebring, the third for Garcia and first for Rockenfeller. The trio also won the second of four Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup rounds of the season.
The No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette C7.R was forced to retire with water temperature issues that arose in the opening hour. The root cause remained unclear, and it brought an early end to the day for defending class winners Tommy Milner, Oliver Gavin and Marcel Fässler.
Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller each rotated through with two stints each in the first six hours. The No. 3 Corvette C7.R led at the three-hour mark but a combination of greasy track conditions and bad luck with traffic and caution periods hindered its standing at six hours.
An emergency stop for fuel near the halfway point was particularly cruel. Rockenfeller was set to pit for new Michelin tires, fuel and the exchange to Garcia but the yellow flag ruined that plan and strategy. Instead, Rockenfeller had to stop for five seconds of fuel and then again one lap after the GTLM leaders completed their stops.
Fortunes reversed for the No. 3 Corvette with a timely full-course caution with four hours left. A perfect pit stop moved Magnussen from sixth to third on a restart. That the stage for the late-race heroics.
The next event for Corvette Racing is the Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix on Saturday, April 8from the Long Beach (California) street circuit. The race will air live at 4 p.m. on FOX. Live audio coverage from IMSA Radio is available on IMSA.com.