Big weekend for Chevy upcoming in Austin

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A year ago at Austin, Antonio Garcia delivered one of the sports car drives of the year, to hold off an SRT Viper and a BMW Z4 en route to winning the American Le Mans Series GT class.

Garcia is among those looking to defend the victory for Corvette ahead of this weekend’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and FIA World Endurance Championship races.

Corvette won both the GRAND-AM Rolex Series race here in March 2013 (Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty for GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing) and Garcia and Jan Magnussen took the ALMS GT win as mentioned above in September.

Magnussen returns this race after injuries suffered at Virginia, where Jordan Taylor stepped into the No. 3 Corvette C7.R last-minute.

Corvette has its usual fleet of four Daytona Prototypes (No. 5 Action Express, No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing, No. 31 Marsh, No. 90 Spirit of Daytona) cars entered in the Prototype class, and its two GT Le Mans class Corvette C7.Rs.

The C7.Rs have been the beneficiary of a pre-race Balance of Performance adjustment from IMSA, with a 15 kg weight break and a 0.3mm larger air restrictor coming.

Chevrolet has a 19-point lead in the P class Manufacturer’s Championship; meanwhile it trails in the GTLM category by two to Porsche. Porsche has four cars entered this weekend in GTLM and that will make the task all the more difficult for Chevrolet.

“(Last year’s race) was probably one of my best. The team was a big part of that,” Garcia explained pre-race. “Both Jan and I benefitted from really good strategy and pit stops. Everything really came together including the last stop. The execution was great and all I had to do was defend; I was out front and the deal was I never had to pass anyone. It was a great race and the key race where everything started to go our way toward the championship.

“This year, we don’t know how strong we will be compared to the rest of the GTLM field. The last two races have been difficult to keep up with the rest of the field and be competitive. All we can do is be as prepared as possible.”

In addition to the IMSA commitments in both the TUDOR Championship and Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, Corvette Racing also makes its first non-Le Mans FIA WEC appearance with the all-American lineup of Jordan and Ricky Taylor, and Tommy Milner in the team’s No. 65 Corvette C7.R.