Corvette Racing is unquestionably one of the strongest teams in the world of production-based endurance racing, racking up a long list of major event wins (and championships) all over the world during the course of the past decade. Included on that list are wins in the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2015 and 2016, so when the teams rolled into Sebring International Raceway for the 2017 running of the historic endurance race, the bright yellow Corvettes were the odds-on favorite to lead the GTLM class.
Unfortunately, when the #4 Corvette ran into overheating issues early in the race and the #3 car was buried in the pack with less than two and a half hours left, it didn’t look like there were good odds of Corvette Racing pulling off the Sebring three-peat. However, the sign of a great race team is defying the odds, and that is exactly what Antonio Garcia did this past weekend.
Garcia Drives to Victory
There were under 3 hours left in the 2017 12 Hours of Sebring when Antonio Garcia climbed into the #3 Corvette C7.R and once the field had filed out from their stops, the driver dubbed “the King of Spain” found himself running in 5th place with less than 150 minutes left in the race. Between Garcia, the Corvette and the team’s 3rd straight Sebring win stood the #62 Ferrari in 4th and all 3 of the Chip Ganassi Racing in 1st, 2nd and 3rd.
In the course of 15 minutes and 10 laps, Garcia slipped past the Ferrari and both the #67 and #68, putting the #3 Corvette C7.R in the 2nd spot, trailing only the #66 Ford GT. During the next round of pit stops, strong teamwork allowed Garcia to jump ahead of the #66 Ford with just over an hour and a half left.
Having put the Ford GTs to bed, Garcia and the #3 Corvette only the #911 Porsche left to hold back, but the German coupe was closing quickly. Fortunately for Corvette Racing, the Porsche ran over some debris on the track and was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop. From there, Garcia and the Corvette Racing #3 car had a clear drive to the win.
As mentioned above, the 12 Hours of Sebring win this past weekend was the 3rd in a row for Corvette Racing and the 2nd in 3 years for Garcia and the #3 team. The #3 Corvette Racing squad won back in 2015, followed by the #4 Corvette taking the GTLM win last year.
Image: Corvette Racing