So close at Le Mans


Corvette Racing has experienced highs and lows in its 18 appearances at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. America’s premier GT racing team added to that Sunday with a dramatic third-place finish in the GTE Pro category with Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Jordan Taylor climbing onto the podium together for the second time in four years.

The No. 63 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R came back from an early-race tire puncture and clawed its way back into contention before barely missing out on its ninth class victory at Le Mans since 2001.

The early puncture for the No. 63 Corvette set the stage for a phenomenal drive back toward the front by the driving trio, the crew and engineers. The crew performed a perfect brake change near the 10.5-hour mark – it took approximately 75 seconds to do all four wheels – and the engineering team got the car back on the same pit strategy as the race leaders just after dawn Sunday.

From then on, the Corvette asserted itself and cycled through the lead up until the final hour. Magnussen and Taylor alternated single stints over the last three-and-a-half hours, and the Corvette beat the second-place Aston Martin out of the pitlane with 46 seconds.

The two cars ran within 1.5 seconds of each other until the final lap when a punctured tire took away the Corvette’s chance for victory.

“The race was one where everyone was so close and so evenly matched,” Magnussen said.

“When Antonio had a cut tire and had to come in early (in his second stint), that put us behind everybody and on a different strategy. That also meant that we would not be catching the slow zones in the same everyone else and that really started to bite us. So we fell further and further back. Until we got back on the same strategy as everyone else, it was an uphill fight.

“But the car was good and the team worked fantastic the whole time. Antonio and Jordan drove perfect throughout the whole race. When we perform like this as a team, it’s difficult not to be disappointed with the outcome. A podium at Le Mans is pretty decent; it’s just not what we came for.”