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Topic: CORVETTE RACING AT LAGUNA SECA: SPOILER ALERT

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CORVETTE RACING AT LAGUNA SECA: SPOILER ALERT (1/1)
 5/13/24 4:23pm
cor123
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CORVETTE RACING AT LAGUNA SECA: Podium for Catsburg, Milner

No. 4 Corvette Z06 GT3.R records third-place finish in topsy-turvy GTD PRO race

 
MONTEREY, Calif. (May 12, 2024) – Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports climbed the GTD PRO podium for the first time this season as Nicky Catsburg and Tommy Milner finished third Sunday at the Motul Corse de Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

    
The No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.R led the Corvette GT3 effort in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s annual stop in Monterey. Antonio Garcia and Alexander Sims finished fifth in GTD PRO in the No. 3 Corvette, which had its race compromised by an early full-course caution.

 
In GTD, the AWA duo of Matt Bell and Orey Fidani placed 11th in class with the No. 13 Corvette Z06 GT3.R but won the Bob Akin Award, which goes to the highest-finishing GTD entry with a Bronze driver.

 
Catsburg led early in GTD PRO from pole position and a strong pace early with Garcia right behind. The two Corvettes consistently ran within one second of each other while building a gap of upwards of three seconds to the third-place car in class.

 
Catsburg was the first of the Z06 GT3.Rs to make its first stop with four tires, fuel and a driver change to Milner at the 45-minute mark. But an issue on the pit stop and then a full-course yellow near the 50-minute mark turned the race on its head.

 
Garcia was set to pit the No. 3 Corvette when the yellow came out but had to wait until the GT pits opened with the field behind the safety car. He handed over to Sims, who left the pits in seventh place and mired in out-of-class GTD traffic.  Meanwhile, Milner restarted second in class but was shuffled back to third by the eventual class-winner not long after the green flag dropped.

 
The No. 3 Corvette was the first of the GTD PRO contenders to make its final stop, opting for right-side tires and fuel with less than 70 minutes left. The strategy pushed Sims from sixth when he entered the pitlane to fourth after the class pit cycle ended. Milner came back in for four tires and fuel about 10 minutes later after inheriting the lead and re-emerged third. The rest of the race went green with the Corvettes unable to make up ground in traffic.

 
The AWA Corvette had a noteworthy day, as well. Fidani drove the first 46 minutes from the seventh row of the GTD grid, and Bell moved the car into the top-10 just past the midpoint of the race. The team had to serve a drive-through penalty after its final pit stop due to a pitlane infraction, but Bell raced his way up three spots to secure the Akin award for AWA. Winning the season championship is the main objective for the team, which would earn an automatic entry into the 2025 24 Hours of Le Mans.

 
The next IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship event for the Corvette Z06 GT3.R program is the Chevrolet Detroit Sports Car Classic on the streets of downtown Detroit on Saturday, June 1.


CORVETTE RACING BY PRATT MILLER MOTORSPORTS 

PRE-EVENT DRIVER QUOTES

TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: "It's always tricky trying to plan out your pit strategy. It's typically not preferred to pit early. You make it hard on yourself at the end of the race, but you're also exposed if you don't pit if there's a yellow. We saw that today with the 3 car. They did the preferred strategy if there's no yellow that comes out, but unfortunately for them there was in that window. So it did work out for us there. We had a little bit of a slow stop on our first stop. I think we probably had the car for second, but it looked like the Porsche was a little bit too quick for us today. I'm happy for these Corvette Racing guys to get this Corvette Z06 GT3.R on the podium for the first time. The pole was great and we were looking strong at the start of the race. We just have a little bit more to go in order to get that first win."


NICKY CATSBURG, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: "I think the Corvette did everything fine today. We had good balance. I think we lost the chance to finish P2 at our first stop when we had an issue with our refueling and lost about four seconds. I think P1 was destined for the Porsche. They were way faster than we were. Second was possible but we will see what we need to do in order to make sure those things don't happen again. I think from our side we did everything we could. I'm pleased with our first podium."


ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: "We were covering the 9 car because we split strategies between our cars. The McLaren pitted a lap before us - I don't think they anticipated the yellow - and the team told me to push because we were pitting on that lap. I came out of Turn Nine and saw the yellow coming. And that was our race. It looked really good before that. It wouldn't have been a nice battle with the 77, the 9 and the 4. I'm sure we would have cycled to the front after that. It's a shame they didn't allow everyone to pit before it went yellow for a little piece on the track. It really dictated our race."


ALEXANDER SIMS, NO. 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: "The yellow dictated everything for us. We were all quite happy with the situation beforehand. I was up on the pit wall with the team ready for Antonio to come in that lap but saw the pit closed light come on. I was hoping Antonio was just immediately around the corner and had made it in. So unfortunately that compromised us significantly and put us at the back of the group. Then we went to a more aggressive fuel strategy and pitted early. That did cycle us back forward a bit, but we were up against it fuel-wise and had to save every lap as no yellows came out. There were some nice battles but it was unfortunate that we got caught out early."


AWA POST-RACE DRIVER QUOTES

MATT BELL, NO. 13 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: "Normally in races, I have a fairly decent idea about what's going on around me but today I just had my head down and drove hard. The AWA Corvette Z06 GT3.R was really good. We saw that in practice and qualifying. I had a nice car in the race to try and wrestle with people and move up. I stayed focused and kept pushing. We moved up from where we started. The No. 1 objective today was achieved which was winning the Bob Akin award and taking that points lead. Our quest for Le Mans in 2025 is really starting to gear up and we'll keep marching forward."


OREY FIDANI, NO. 13 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GT3.R: "The track was consistent throughout the weekend. I was fighting a high tire-pressure skew in my stint, which made the car have an oversteer imbalance on entry and made it hard to get consistent turn-in points. So I was struggling to push through that and kept going to give the car over to Matt to get to the end. Overall it was a good result for us at the end with the Akin award for today."


Ryan Smith
Judy Kouba Dominick



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