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2016 Sebring 12hr: Race Results
2016 Sebring 12hr: Race Results
March 21 2016 02:42:06 AM ESTRichard Prince
The 12hrs of Sebring is a special race. Some say it is more brutal than 24hrs at any other track. Only the best of the best are successful, and Corvette Racing has seen success and failure at this old airfield.

Corvettes qualified 5th & 6th. The gap between 1st & 10th was 0.7 seconds.

Photo by Jan Magnussen PR

Right out of the gate the GTLM battle was fast and furious. Lead changes between BMW, Porsche, and Corvette were exchanged frequently in the opening hours. Then, for the first time in 18 years, it started raining.

Photo by Michelin

Cars were spinning off at every corner. The #3 Corvette nearly was taken out by an out of control Lamborghini in T17. The rain then slowed but lighting started. The corner workers were called in to safety reasons, therefore the race had to be red flagged.

Once the race eventually got going again, the #4 Corvette, driven by Marcel Fassler at the time, had an off and collected some debris in the front grill. This caused an unscheduled pitstop. Then another unscheduled pit stop for rain tires put the #4 Corvette 1 lap down.

Photo by Fox Sports

A dry line started forming and the battles raged on. Coming down the front straight. the #3 Corvette and #911 Porsche were racing for the class lead. They split a GTD car with the Corvette on the outside dry line and the Porsche on the inside wet line. In the heat of the battle, the driver of the Porsche though he could late brake Jan Magnussen into T1 not realizing he was on the wet side of the track. He had no hope of slowing down and plowed right into the Corvette sending both cars hard into the tire wall in T1.

VIDEO: 2016 Sebring - GTLM Leaders Crash

Photo by Nigel Scott Dobbie

Unfortunately for Jan Magnussen, he continues his unintended roll at the Corvette crash test driver, but the good news is both drivers walked away unharmed. The crew got the car back to the garage and in 35 minutes time had the car back out on track, although 36 laps down. The Porsche never returned.

VIDEO: CR Crew Pushes #3 Out of the Garage to the Applause of the Fans

All hope was now on the #4 Corvette. One lap down and in P8, but still strong and fast. The team never gave up and one of many FCY gave then the wave by to get back on the lead lap.

Photo by Sportscar 356

With 2 hours left in the race, Tommy Milner had fought his way back up into the lead of the GTLM class. He was consistently pulling in laps 1-2 seconds faster than any other GTLM car on track, and in changing conditions. Inevitably, caution after caution came out and Tommy's lead, as much as 20 seconds, was taken way time after time. At the end, Corvette Racing had the fastest car on track and Tommy Milner brought the #4 Corvette C7.R home to victory.

Photo by Mobil 1

-This marks Corvette Racing's 10th victory at Sebring.
-Corvette Racing wins Daytona & Sebring 2 years in a row.

“The race started with us not knowing how much pace we were going to have compared to our competition. Then Tommy and Antonio were both marching up the order. Tommy got us into the lead with some great pit stops and some good strategy. Then of course the rain came and we had that big stoppage. It is hard to get yourself focused after that. But you do, you manage, you use your experience and you get going again. Then it was a case of us battling away with a few things – some bits and pieces – the weather; the track; the tires – generally the conditions. I got the car back onto the lead lap and got us into the top-three. Then I handed it over to Tommy and he did a great, great job. I knew we were in great position toward the end of my double-stint because I knew the car was good because it was underneath me. It had a little bit too much understeer hear and there, but the car was really strong. We got back on the lead lap and into the right spot. Tommy could then get it and run to the end. He had been on fire all day. I had to do exactly what he did at Daytona which was sit on the pit box and watch and fret and pace and stress about is there going to be another yellow. Or is this going to happen, or is that going to happen? Is the last pit stop going to go okay. The guys did a brilliant job with that. Once again the team had their stresses and strain through the day. Jan’s accident was huge and it just shows the quality of the car and the ability of the team to bounce back from that and get that car back out. It was just an exceptional day again. This is 60 hours of racing that we’ve won with the No. 4 with Le Mans, Daytona 24 Hours and now Sebring 12 Hours. That is just amazing that we have been able to do that in the last 12 months. I am very, very happy with the performance of the whole team.”

“What a race. We sort of had an up-and-down race. At the start of the race the car wasn’t super quick, but we weren’t bad by any means. We had a great pit stop there and got me to the lead. Then the rain came, and we weren’t super good in the wet for sure… third or fourth quick there for sure. But then when I got in at the end, I’ve NEVER had a race car that good. That Corvette was absolutely on rails and I could tell as soon as I left pit lane… I knew we had a fast race car. I just immediately knew – the car felt that good. We didn’t have the best car at the start; certainly not in the rain. But at the end we had THE best car – here we are P1. I’m super, super happy for these guys – for Oliver and Marcel. And for all the crew guys. They have worked super hard. Just fortunate to be in the car there at the end and get to have some fun like that.”

“It’s an amazing day. Two events with Corvette Racing and two wins. I’m really, really happy and proud to be a part of this winning team. Looking back at my race, it was quite tough after the red flag for me. I had never driven this track in the wet, especially not in a GT car. It was difficult to find the right racing line early but after that I felt OK. On my last stop, I think we went a little too early on slick tires, and it was really tricky for me to stay on track. Unfortunately I went off and hit one of the banners. We had to stop because the engine was getting warm. So yes it was a tricky situation. We lost some laps but we were able to catch up. Oliver and Tommy did a really good job out there. It was great to watch them, especially Tommy. I think he did half the race which was really impressive and an unbelievable job. The team made no mistakes and the car was a rocket.”

Photo by Jamie Price

“When the rain came, it was a bit of a disaster. It looked from the outside like it was hero time for everybody wanting to take a risk. I wasn’t that keen on doing that. I stayed safe but aggressive. I stayed in touch with the leaders. But it was very, very difficult with the conditions. I don’t know how the 25 BMW and I didn’t crash at the end of the straight. We were literally navigating for half a straight not controlling the car at all. I was able to come to a full stop before the tire barriers. Luckily some other GT cars avoided me spinning, and I had a couple of cars going by sideways and backward. I avoided the wall but unfortunately the pits were closed at that time so we had to go back around on slick tires.”

“It’s such a huge shame for everyone on the team really. The weather made it really difficult out there. The decision to go to slicks felt wrong, but we did it. After awhile I could see that times were coming down and I could build a little bit of temperature. I kept working at it. I don’t know how far back we were but we were a long way but caught everything up. We got into the lead there for a very short while and then it all went south. It’s a shame. (Kevin) Estre (911 driver) came and apologized. That’s nice enough but it doesn’t change the fact that we are in here building the car. I really, really feel bad for the crew because man we were fast.”

“Congrats to the No. 4 team. They did a great job. Like Daytona, we had a chance to win the race but it didn’t work out. The result for me was quite frustrating, but overall it was great to be with this team and to be part of it. I tried to everything I could. Two races… unfortunately not the results I was hoping for. But in Sebring we had all the chances. We had a car that could win especially in the dry. That is a positive.”

Photo by David James

“Just when you think you’ve seen it all – with the tremendous wins at Le Mans and Daytona – Corvette Racing comes back from one of our cars being taken out and the other two laps down with six hours to go and standing here in Victory Lane… it’s a great team, great drivers, tremendous strategy and engineering, flawless execution on pit stops. It takes an effort like this to win in this race and in this series. We’re racing against the world’s best. And today we demonstrated why Corvette Racing is the world’s best GT racing team.”

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Last comment:
comments:Porsche driver Fred Makowecki took blame for the crash, saying he was "a bit too optimistic" in attempting the pass in the hairpin. The Porsches were pretty equal to the Corvettes, but in different areas of the track, the areas where the Porsches were better just happened to be in places not conducive to safe and clean passing, the Corvettes were better down the straights and out of the turns, the Porsches seemed better under hard braking. In the crash, the Porsche was too far behind the Corvette to realistically make a pass, or even attempt one. I don't know if Porsche brass gave the order to take the Corvette out, but Marco Ujhasi, Porsche's factory GT team manager was quoted after the race saying "the 911RSR performed excellently and it was clear to us that we would close the gap and win on our own merits, in this, our drivers did an outstanding job and we deserved this win". REALLY??? Pretty unapologetic there, I'm sure Doug Fehan may have some thoughts on that comment, and I hope IMSA does as well. If they aren't docked points and penalized the next race, that sends a message that the gloves come off, and that's not racing. They should be penalized for that kind of driving, since it's not the first time its happened, not rewarded with an undeserved win and a penalty never served.In my mind it was pretty blatant, even the driver admitted as much, too bad his boss doesn't see it the same way. IMSA needs to step up NOW and put a stop to this bush league driving, if these guys can't race clean, let them race somewhere else.
--- GS10tk from Syracuse, NY on 04.17.2016 at 10:51PM


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