Corvette Gets First Sebring Win in 50 Years in Dominating Fashion
Chevrolet hasn’t taken the overall win in the 12 Hours of Sebring race since 1965, when Jim Hall and Hap Sharp did so in a Chaparral 2 race car. However, with the Corvette Daytona Prototype teams looking as strong as ever, 2015 looked like their best chance to take the top podium spot overall while the Corvette Racing team looked to add a second win in as many races with the Corvette Z06-based C7.R race cars after cruising to victory in the Rolex 24 a few weeks back.
In the end, it couldn’t have turned out much better for Chevrolet Racing fans, as both the Corvette Daytona Prototype teams and the Corvette C7.R teams were at the top of the leaderboard throughout the entire event – from the practice rounds to qualifying to the race itself.
After finishing 2nd overall in the Rolex 24, the Action Express # Corvette DP was coming into the 2015 12 Hours of Sebring with the hopes of giving Chevrolet its first win in the event since 1965. The Corvette DP camp had a frustrating finish in Daytona when the Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette ran into problems with driver seat time rules, but for the most part, Corvettes were at the front of the field in Daytona – only to end up finishing second to Ford EcoBoost car.
The teams came out fast in the first practice session for the 2015 12 Hours of Sebring race, as the #5 Action Express car was the quickest overall while the #10 Corvette was 4th and the #31 Corvette was 5th quickest. In round two, the #5 Corvette dropped to 3rd while the #10 Wayne Taylor car slipped to 5th. Those top two Corvette DPs each jumped up one spot in round three followed by a drop to 3rd for the #5 car in the final practice at the same time that the #10 Corvette fell way back into the field.
Going into the 12 Hours of Sebring race, the #5 Corvette started 3rd, the #31, #90 ad #10 Corvettes started 5th, 6th and 7th.
Shy of the shuffle caused by pit stops, the #5 Action Express Corvette was at or right around the front of the field throughout the duration of the 12 hour race. At the end of the first hour, the #5 Corvette DP was 2nd, followed by the #31 Corvette in 3rd and the #90 Corvette in 4th. In the second hour, the #5 Corvette pulled to the front of the field and at the end of the 3rd hour, the front three cars in the 12 Hours of Sebring were the #5 Corvette, the #90 Corvette and the #31 Corvette. After the 4th hour, the #90 Corvette had pulled to the front with the #5 team in 2nd only to have the two flip again a the end of the 5th hour. At the end of the 6th hour, only four cars remained on the lead lap and two of those cars were Corvettes, with the #5 team in 2nd and the #90 Corvette in 3rd.
During the 7th hour, the #5 Corvette DP of Action Express Racing took the lead and they would never look back, putting a lap on the field during the 9th hour and cruising through the final hours of the race to win their first of the season and Chevy’s first Sebring win in 50 years.
The #10 Corvette DP of Wayne Taylor Racing worked its way through the field late in the race and finished 2nd while the #90 Corvette that had been around the front of the field all day finished 3rd – giving Team Corvette all three podium spots in the 2015 12 Hours of Sebring.
Another Win in GT LeMans
Corvette Racing came into the 2015 12 Hours of Sebring with the hopes of continuing their control of the class from Daytona. In the first round of practice, both the #3 and #4 Corvette C7.R teams were in the middle of the class and they were a bit off the pace in round two as well, but in the third round of practice laps, the Corvette race cars were the top two quickest cars. Unfortunately, they slipped back a bit in the final practice round and in qualifying, the #3 Corvette turned the 3rd fastest lap while the #4 Corvette was 7th in the class. Those certainly weren’t the starting spots that they were hoping for, but in a 12 hour race like Sebring, the starting spot isn’t as important as it is in a shorter race.
When the 12 Hours of Sebring race began, the #3 Corvette C7.R quickly began battling for the lead with the #911 and #912 Porsche teams. With the exception of the 4th hour, the #3 Corvette was in the top three in-class at the end of every hour and the same was true of the #911 and #912 Porsche teams, but within the final few hours, the Porsches ran into problems while the Corvette Racing entry continued on at full force.
While the #3 Corvette C7.R was battling up front all day, things didn’t go quite as smoothly for the #4 Corvette, but as the race went on, both Corvette Racing entries found themselves around the front of the field. Unfortunately, the #4 Corvette ran into mechanical problems with about two hours left, and they had to settle for a very disappointing last place finish in the class, 32nd overall. However, the #3 Corvette really never looked back during the final few hours as the trip of Magnusson, Garcia and Briscoe rolled to their second win of the 2015 season.