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    Difficult to Take” Early End in Race to Forget for Corvette

    Marcel Fassler drops out early, handed blame for incident with No. 88 Porsche…
    by
    John Dagys


    Image: ACO

    Marcel Fassler said it was “difficult to take” his early end to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in what was a race to forget as a whole for Corvette Racing.

    The Pratt & Miller-run squad, making its 20th Le Mans start, saw both of its Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs face on-track incidents, most notably a violent accident by Fassler in Hour 6 that eliminated the No. 64 car from the race.

    The Swiss driver was tagged by the No. 88 Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR of Satoshi Hoshino in the Porsche Curves, sending the GTE-Pro contender hard into the wall and bringing out the race’s second safety car period.

    While Fassler climbed from the car under his own power, he was transported to a local hospital for a CT scan, which turned out negative.

    “It was a tough weekend for us,” Fassler said. “It definitely was not what we were hoping for. It was an early end to our day.

    “Unfortunately I got hit by a GTE Am driver that took me out and I hit the barrier quite hard.

    “For us the race was over. I’m happy Corvette is the safest GT car we have in the field. Every system worked well and I have no issues… feeling well even though the impact was hard.

    “It is difficult to take.”

    Fassler was deemed responsible for the incident by race officials, having received six FIA behavioral warning points and a €7,000 ($7,900) fine for “causing a collision.”

    Hoshino, meanwhile, elected to stand down from driving after the Corvette clash, having been involved in another incident earlier in the race.

    It’s unclear if Corvette Racing has appealed the decision, although team manager Ben Johnson said he felt Fassler became a casualty of a driver who wasn’t “completely aware” of his surroundings.

    “We talked a lot about it and how [the ACO] came to that conclusion but you can’t see inside their minds and they have the best interest of the sport in mind, but you tend to disagree unless it’s pretty clearly your fault, right?” Johnson told Sportscar365.

    Corvette’s day went from bad to worse 14 hours later when Jan Magnussen spun at the Porsche Curves and was forced to the garage for suspension repairs.

    See link for rest of article.

    Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report


    https://sportscar365.com/lemans/wec/...-for-corvette/
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  • #2
    PRESS RELEASE:
    The No. 63 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R of Antonio Garcia, Jan
    Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller finished ninth in the GTE Pro category



    CORVETTE RACING AT LE MANS: From Hopes to Heartbreak

    LE MANS, France (June 16, 2019) – Corvette Racing’s hopes for a magical
    victory in its 20th straight appearance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans didn’t
    come to pass, but the effort of the program was never stronger than what the
    team displayed Saturday and Sunday in the world’s biggest endurance race.


    The No. 63 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R of Antonio Garcia, Jan
    Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller finished ninth in the GTE Pro category on a
    day where the trio was firmly in contention for the first 20 hours. Three
    unlucky safety car periods and an untimely late trip to the garage for
    repairs following a spin put a dent in the plans for a ninth class victory
    in 20 years.


    Le Mans struck hard at both Corvette Racing entries. The No. 64 Mobil
    1/SiriusXM Corvette C7.R retired following a heavy crash for Marcel Fässler
    near the six-hour mark. The incident happened in the lightning quick Porsche
    Curves toward the end of the lap. Fässler – driving with Oliver Gavin and
    Tommy Milner – was hit from behind after making a pass on a slower car with
    the impact sending the Corvette hard into the wall on driver’s right.


    The damage was too extensive to repair and return the car to the race.
    Fässler was evaluated at the track medical center and was sent to a local
    hospital for a CT scan, which came back normal.


    The No. 64 Corvette was up and down the order early with Gavin climbing from
    11th at the start to fourth in class during his opening two stints. Debris
    on his tires made it challenging for him to maintain his early pace but he
    and Milner had relatively calm stints before handing over to Fässler, who
    was matching the pace of his teammates before in incident.


    The No. 63 led early and often. Garcia began the race from the third
    position but needed less than 20 minutes to move to the point in a frantic
    start.


    All three drivers of the No. 63 Corvette took turns in the lead early. The
    first safety car period of the race during the sixth hour brought the top
    nine GTE Pro entries to within 15 seconds of each other at the six-hour
    mark. Another safety car near the 10 hours running split the two lead cars
    from the rest of the GTE Pro field, effectively taking what had been a
    nine-car battle down to two with the Corvette part of the second group.


    The early-morning period saw the leading GTE Pro entry run into trouble,
    allowing the remaining Corvette – which had chipped away on the lead pack
    for a number of hours – to move back into contention. By the 16-hour mark,
    the C7.R had moved back into the lead and a strategic game of chess
    developed between the No. 63 Corvette and the eventual winning Ferrari.


    The momentum seemed like it was swinging permanently toward the side of the
    Corvette when disaster struck with three-and-a-half hours to go.
    Rockenfeller pitted for fuel, tires and a driver change to Magnussen during
    a safety car period. The pit stop was excellent – as they had been all
    race – but the pit exit was closed, which once again prevented the Corvette
    from catching the safety car queue that included the GTE Pro leader.


    Once under way, Magnussen spun late in the lap at the Porsche Curves on cold
    tires and contacted the outside wall with the front-left of the Corvette.
    The crew repaired the suspension on that corner of the Corvette, losing just
    six minutes but two costly laps. A final late-race visit to the garage
    thwarted any hopes of gaining additional positions.


    There is little rest for Corvette Racing with the team returning to IMSA
    WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition in two weeks at Watkins Glen
    International for the Sahlen’s Six Hours at The Glen.

    ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 63 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “It was
    super tough all race, especially for being all the way up at the front for
    21 hours. The early safety car around five hours really put us down, and I
    got pretty upset about that. For me, I thought the race was lost but you
    never know at Le Mans. A few more stints in and we were back in the lead. It’s
    a shame that we didn’t put it together all the way to the end because I
    think everyone here deserved to win. The team made a fantastic effort. The
    preparation was really good, and we proved that to every other team out
    there - the preparation of the cars, the pit stops, the brake changes and
    the way we could go for a win instead of waiting for the race to come to us.
    I felt like we had everyone afraid of us. Most of the teams at Le Mans
    probably feel that we had the car to beat, and I think that’s right. But
    Ferrari did a perfect run and they won. All we can do is congratulate them.
    Then we will come back and win it.”


    JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 63 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “Up until it
    all went wrong, we did the best we could and that put us in front. The guys
    did a fantastic job all race - the crew, the engineers and the drivers…
    everybody. But the safety car came out there late, we had to pit and
    effectively that took the win away. P2 was in the cards; that’s not what we
    came here for but for sure we would have taken that with the win not being
    on the table any longer. Unfortunately I clipped a curb on cold tires and
    hit the wall. I can’t begin to describe how horrible I feel for the guys and
    all the hard work they have put in for the past year. We had the car in
    front and a mistake like that takes it all away. I don’t know how to
    apologize for that but hopefully I can make it up to them someway.”


    MIKE ROCKENFELLER, NO. 63 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “Thanks
    to Corvette Racing for giving me the opportunity to race here at Le Mans
    again. I always love it even though as we saw this weekend it can be one of
    the toughest races in the world in that you can be a bit unfortunate. We had
    a really good car… the Corvette was running super nice, especially at the
    end of the race. The track and everything evolved in the right direction;
    when it rubbered in and our car came alive… I think we had everything to
    fight for victory, but obviously the rules with these safety cars are a bit
    unfair. We’ve known this since years past and it has been proved it is not
    the good way of doing it. I think we need to think about it, but that is
    obviously not our job.


    “Again, the car was prepared well and I always enjoy it to race here with
    Corvette Racing. Personally I was really happy to drive the car. I felt
    confident at the wheel, I felt I could get the most performance out of the
    car and really push hard and fight for it. So personally I was super happy
    with my own performance, but obviously the results are not what we wanted.
    Both cars were super unlucky… our sister car and Jan on our car, but that’s
    racing you know. We always push to the limit and sometimes things go wrong.
    And this also is something special within the Corvette team: there is no bad
    word about anything. And I’ve seen it different in my career, I can tell
    you. Here, from top to bottom, they all work together and they consider it a
    sport. It’s racing, you try hard, and you win and you lose together. And
    this is what you feel at Corvette, and this is a good feeling for a driver.
    Because one day you make a mistake and it’s not nice if people drag you down
    when they should say, ‘Hey, it happens. we’ve won so much together and
    sometimes things go wrong,’ which for me again shows I’m in the right team
    here and I hope we’ll have some more opportunities in the future to win this
    together.”


    OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 64 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “This has
    without a doubt been a tough Le Mans 24 Hours for Corvette Racing. On the 64
    Corvette side, we had a promising start with good pace. We got ourselves up
    to fourth place, which ended up being the high-water mark as it turns out.
    Some little bits and pieces didn’t go our way but the race got reset with a
    safety car, and we were looking good again. But it wasn’t to be. Marcel had
    the incident with the GTE Am car… it was such a big hit. We’re all so happy
    he’s been able to walk away. It’s a testament to the work that Corvette
    Racing and Chevrolet have done on the C7.R - our driver cell, the impact
    structure. Those all really helped protect Marcel. Then it was all eyes on
    the 63 Corvette and it was looking so well for so long. This race can bite
    you so hard sometimes and it can be tough to take. Everyone at Corvette
    Racing put so much into this for months and months. It’s very special but it
    does take a lot of preparation. When you that chance of winning taken away,
    that’s really hard for the guys to take. They worked so, so hard over the
    last few months. We can be proud of what we achieved over this race but
    unfortunately we weren’t standing on the top step of the podium."


    ”TOMMY MILNER, NO. 64 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “It
    definitely was not the 24 Hours that we were hoping for. We can all be super
    proud of all the efforts from everyone at Corvette Racing. We had two fast,
    reliable Corvettes - all ingredients that you need for a good race.
    Unfortunately what ends up being the most important piece - the luck - … we
    didn’t have that today. It’s a cliche but that’s racing. Everyone is pushing
    at 100 percent, and when it is this close and the competition is this
    fierce, the margin for error is razor-thin. It’s unfortunate to have had our
    race end early. We can be proud of the effort of this whole team. We’re all
    proud to drive for Corvette Racing and Team Chevy.
    “We’re happy that Marcel is OK, and that’s one of the reasons I’m proud to
    drive these cars like we do. We know things happen sometimes but we know we
    are safe. I feel bad for the 63 team too. They showed how competitive we can
    be with a seven-year old car. It’s just too bad that today was not Corvette
    Racing’s day.”


    MARCEL FÄSSLER, NO. 64 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: “It was a
    tough weekend for us. It definitely was not what we were hoping for. It was
    an early end to our day. Everyone did a double stint, and I was on my last
    lap before I was to hand off to Olly. Unfortunately I got hit by a GTE Am
    driver that took me out and I hit the barrier quite hard. For us the race
    was over. I’m happy Corvette is the safest GT car we have in the field.
    Every system worked well and I have no issues… feeling well even though the
    impact was hard. I’m happy I’m OK but on the other hand I am sad because we
    were taken out of the race. For sure we wanted to achieve a good result on
    Corvette’s 20th year at Le Mans. For sure that’s kind of racing but it’s
    still sad for the team that all the preparation we did ended all of a
    sudden. It is difficult to take.”


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