Corvette Racing will go for its 100th victory in program history Saturday from the second and third rows of the GT Le Mans (GTLM) grid as part of the Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach. Oliver Gavin qualified fourth in the No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, and Jan Magnussen was right behind in the No. 3 Corvette.
In Prototype qualifying, Action Express Racing’s Christian Fittipaldi led a front-row sweep for the Corvette Daytona Prototype by beating out Ricky Taylor, last year’s pole winner for Wayne Taylor Racing.
The two Corvette C7.Rs ran 1-2 for the majority of Friday’s qualifying session. Gavin, pole winner in his first race at Long Beach in 2007, set the pace early before finishing the session with a best lap of 1:17.573 (91.331 mph). Magnussen, with two Long Beach pole positions to his credit, posted a quick lap of 1:17.676 (91.120 mph).
Corvette Racing will go for its sixth Long Beach victory in 11 years in Saturday’s 100-minute race. Gavin and Tommy Milner won in 2012 – a season in which they also won the American Le Mans Series’ GT championship – while Magnussen and Antonio Garcia won in 2014; it was the first victory for the Corvette C7.R and the first of four straight wins for the duo.
The driver pairings remain the same for this year’s race. Bill Auberlen (BMW) was Friday’s GTLM pole winner.
Fittipaldi captured his first career pole position at Long Beach with a lap of 1:14.962 (94.512 mph) in the Action Express No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP. He and Joao Barbosa will go for their first victory together at the street circuit event.
Taylor’s best time was a 1:15.113 (94.297 mph) on his final qualifying lap in the Wayne Taylor Racing’s No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP. He and brother Jordan are the defending race winners, and the pairing was second two years ago at Long Beach.
Eric Curran qualified Action Express Racing’s No. 31 Whelen Engineering/Team Fox Corvette DP in the fourth spot with a lap of 1:15.741 (93.540 mph). Marc Goossens was seventh in Visit Florida Racing’s No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Corvette DP at 1:16.163 (93.022 mph).
The Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix of Long Beach is set for 4:05 p.m. PT on Saturday. It will air live on FOX Sports 2 with tape-delayed broadcasts on FOX Sports 1 at 11 p.m. ET on Saturday and 12:30 p.m. ET on Sunday. Live audio coverage from IMSA Radio is available on IMSA.com.
CORVETTE RACING QUOTES
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – QUALIFIED FOURTH IN GTLM: “It was a pretty decent session. It’s warmer than it was this morning, obviously. So the tires came in quicker. We were quick at the beginning of the session, but it just seemed that the BMW and the Porsche came on strong there and we got bumped to fourth. I didn’t string it all together perfectly, but it wasn’t a bad lap. I could have maybe found another tenth here or maybe there, but I don’t think we were ever going have the pace to quite catch the BMW. But fourth is a pretty good spot, and I think we have a chance. We have a pretty good race car. On longer runs, I think we should be in a reasonably good spot. We can attack and build a good race from that spot. So I’m pretty happy. Obviously you would like to be a fit farther forward and in P1, but we always seem to have a very good race car.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – QUALIFIED FIFTH IN GTLM: “It was not a bad qualifying actually. It was just not quite fast enough to be right at the front. We’ll go back and look at the data and see if it is something we can improve for tomorrow. But it is difficult now because we are not on track between now and the race so it can only be small changes. We aren’t a million miles off of what I think we can do. It is just little things. We will try to find them tonight and give it a go tomorrow.”
CORVETTE DP QUOTES
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, ACTION EXPRESS RACING NO. 5 MUSTANG SAMPLING CORVETTE DP – POLE WINNER: “I’m really happy to get pole here. This is where our team has had some hard times – this race and the next one. Maybe this could be a chapter changing in Action Express Racing’s history. We worked hard last year after Laguna Seca – where we had a miserable race – the first thing we did the following week was go test and understand what happened. We think we figured it out, and it showed itself today. This morning, I knew we would have a better car than last year. In the last practice, the car was pretty good; I just didn’t manage to do a very good lap, but in qualifying I knew we wouldn’t have any traffic. It was a matter of putting two good laps in a row.”
RICKY TAYLOR, WAYNE TAYLOR RACING NO. 10 KONICA MINOLTA CORVETTE DP – QUALIFIED SECOND: “The car was a pole car but, unfortunately, I brushed the (Turn Eight) wall early on, which really messed up the toe and ruined our qualifying. I feel bad because it should have been an easy pole and I just went for too much too soon. If you’re going to hit the wall, you should hit it at the end, not at the beginning so you can give yourself a chance. I guess that’s a little bit of a lesson, but the car was a pole car, for sure, which gives us confidence in the race. I’m going to try to get by him (today’s pole-winner Christian Fittipaldi). I know our pit stop will be faster, but I want to pass him on the track.”