A challenging race for the Corvette Racing team got a bit worse in the 16th hour at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, when Tommy Milner crashed on the run up to the Dunlop Chicane.
Milner, driving the No. 64 Corvette C7.R he shared with Oliver Gavin and Jordan Taylor, clipped a curb and then lost control of his car in a rare accident. Milner got out of the car under his own power, which was great to see.
“I feel fine. Just lucky to be in this Corvette, we’ve seen some big accidents here over the years and drivers walking away fine. I feel fine, just disappointed. It’s not how we wanted to finish this race. If my Dad were here he’d told me I ran out of talent. We just made some setup changes when I got in the car to go a bit faster to the end of the race. At the end of the day it’s up to me that that kind of stuff doesn’t happen,” Milner told Radio Le Mans.
It has affected the front of the car, which causes a bit of front end damage that will need to be repaired before the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next round at Watkins Glen on July 3.
Milner was running eighth in the GTE-Pro class anyway and the car never looked like having a realistic shot at repeating its famous class win here last year, Corvette Racing’s eighth at Le Mans.
It also takes away one shot for the team in its quest of both its 100th win as a race program overall, and a shot at a second straight endurance Triple Crown sweep of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Milner and Gavin won the first two this year with Marcel Fassler – the Audi factory driver on loan – Stateside, while Taylor comes on board for Le Mans.
Milner got up to fifth at one point and reflected on the race at the halfway mark, via Corvette Racing:
“We’re doing everything that we need to do,” he said. “Maybe I was unlucky getting caught up in traffic in some wrong spots and being near LMP cars that hit each other. Maybe I could have given myself a little more of a gap from them, but it’s hard to slow yourself down. The car is good. We tried a triple stint there, and the car liked that. The tires held in great.
“We’re still figuring out what the car needs. The brakes are good. We just have to keep making laps and keeping it out of the pits. Hopefully as time goes on, some other guys will have issues and we can keep moving up. It’s still pretty busy out there. It seems like there are a lot of LMP2 cars. They’re not awful, but I’m trying to be as nice as I can to them so they’ll be nice to me in return.”
Meanwhile Gavin – ever the statesman – was diplomatically frustrated over BoP during a post-accident interview on FOX Sports, speaking with Andrew Marriott.
“We had some chassis balance problems through the day. Maybe we had a bit too much rear bias,” Gavin said. “I’m just glad he’s out and OK. We can rebuild the car. It shows how fantastically strong the C7.Rs are. Corvette Racing works so hard on the safety. It’s great. But obviously that’s the end of our race.
“[This Le Mans] was… a little bit of a mystery. Test Day, we showed everything. Many other people were not. Much to the protest of a few manufacturers… but obviously after they swept the sand out of their garages, you can see how quickly they go. Tough to compete here. We do still have one car which is fantastic.”
The No. 63 car carries on with Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Ricky Taylor still running, with eight hours to go.