Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia questioned whether his team “had anything for the Porsches” after finishing best of the rest behind the German manufacturer in Sunday’s Michelin GT Challenge at VIR.
Garcia and his co-driver Jan Magnussen finished third in their No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R as Porsche dominated with a 1-2 finish led by Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet.
Magnussen was given a chance to challenge the Porsche 911 RSRs near the end of the race when a late caution period erased the 30-second gap between the Corvette and the two leading cars, but no positional changes were recorded in the final 10 minutes.
“It was a strange race. I don’t know if we had anything for the Porsches,” admitted the Spaniard, who made the vital pass for third on Richard Westbrook’s Ford GT.
“There was a lot going on in both stints. Initially, the power was good and I could gap the Fords, but at some point after that, I had a strange feeling that felt like understeer.
“Then I realized I was having to give more right-turn input than left. There was probably something going on there but not due to the contact with the No. 66 [Ford].
“Once I realized it wasn’t the tire going down, I could get in a rhythm and it seemed to work.”
Garcia described his contact with Dirk Mueller’s Ford going through the high-speed ‘Rollercoaster’ sequence of corners as the pair battled for the podium as “unfortunate”.
The Corvette managed to escape without major damage while Mueller spun and dropped to the back of the four-way battle between the Chevrolet and Ford entries.
“It’s unfortunate to have contact with Dirk. I didn’t want to have that, but once you’re that close… I locked up completely and was over the curb trying to avoid him,” said Garcia.
“That took away a little of the gap I had over the other cars but still had time to dump grass out of the radiator after that off. It was super tight the rest of the way and was fun. It’s not a win but we will take a podium.”
Garcia’s co-driver Magnussen said the No. 3 Corvette crew “didn’t leave anything on the table” in pursuit of its first GTLM victory since the VIR event two years ago.
The defending champions moved up to third in the points standings with their fifth podium of the season.
“It’s not due to lack of trying. We are right where we need to be,” reflected the Dane.
“Unfortunately, we missed out just a little bit. Today we didn’t leave anything on the table. We will just have to find a little bit more if we are to win one of these pretty soon.
“I’m super happy with everything the team has done. The preparation of the car, the strategy, execution of the pit stops. Everything is fantastic. It’s just not enough for winning.”
Ford Struggled in Cooler Conditions – Briscoe
While no rainfall impacted Sunday’s race, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Ryan Briscoe said cool conditions prevented the Ford GTs from being as competitive as they were in the last two races.
Briscoe and Westbrook were bidding for their third straight victory after wins at Lime Rock Park and Road America, but finished fifth this time around in Virginia.
“I still think our strength was the last 15 laps of a stint,” Briscoe said afterward.
“It was cooler today, so we weren’t really able to gain much of an advantage. The car was handling great, though it did feel like we were having to give up a bit too much on cold tires, so we lost a bit of time there.
“Unfortunately, it wasn’t a very exciting result, but it really was a hard-fought race with some real battles, and the team did a great job as always.”