Corvette Racing’s pursuit of four straight victories at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring came up well short of expectations. An uncharacteristic day in Florida knocked the No. 3 Corvette C7.R out of contention early as electrical and mechanical problems required lengthy repairs in the paddock. And while the No. 4 Corvette was more fortunate, finishing one lap down in sixth was less than fulfilling for the factory team.
Considering the modest amount of points IMSA awards its WeatherTech SportsCar Championship teams at each round, digging out from the hole created at Sebring will take some time.
Entering the event holding third and fourth in the Drivers’ standings, the No. 3 team of Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia and Mike Rockenfeller plummeted to sixth, and the sister entry for Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, and Marcel Fassler left Sebring in seventh. In a GT Le Mans class with eight full-time entries, upcoming rounds at Long Beach in April and Mid-Ohio in May will be pivotal if the team wants to retain the GTLM title it earned in 2017.
“This is Sebring for you,” Magnussen said during his strife-riddled 12-hour race. “When things are great around here, man they are so great. But when they are like they are today, boy is it a long day. Our guys worked hard so we could go back out. We drove to the end to take whatever we can take. It is just about salvaging one or two more points if we can. It’s not what we came here for, but it is what we have.”
As the race wore on, Gavin says the No. 4 Corvette struggled to set the kind of lap times that were necessary to vie for a podium.
“It looked like in the middle of the race that we were looking pretty good,” he added. “As we started to lose the sunlight, it looked like we lost the balance and performance in the car. We were unable to generate the grip we needed to be competitive. There are some lessons to learn here. We battled all weekend with our Corvette and tried to come away with as many points as possible. It’s frustrating through to have a clean race, not make any mistakes and come away with nothing.”
Corvette also fell from second in the Manufacturers’ championship to being tied for third with BMW.
After being thoroughly outmatched for pace at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, which was followed up by qualifying seventh and ninth in the nine-car class at Sebring and being on the back foot for most of the race, Balance of Performance breaks from IMSA’s technical department could be a possibility moving forward.