With thanks to Corvette Racing for use of the information within their release, here are Olly and the team’s comments after qualifying at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
As Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin has found out to his detriment (2008), Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (formerly known as Mosport) can catch you out when you least expect it. While Olly and his team mate, Tommy Milner, could count themselves lucky not to have been the subject of the qualifying incident for the 5th round of the ALMS this afternoon, they were immediately concerned to see their team mate Jan Magnussen in the #3 Corvette c6.R have a significant crash less than 5 minutes before the end of the session.
As it turned out, the Dane had set the second-fastest lap in GT qualifying for the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix before he exited the track hard at Turn 3. Upon its return to the paddock, the Corvette crew went straight to work to dismantle and repair the car.
The Dane’s best time was a 1:15.60, set on his fifth lap. With pole position in his sights, Magnussen was on a flyer before a small bump in the middle of the third corner caused the Corvette to unsettle and veer slightly wide at the exit. The left-rear tyre went off the surface just enough to send Magnussen into a spin and hard into the outside tyre barrier.
The car will start Sunday’s race from the rear of the grid and is expected to make the morning warm up at 9:10 a.m.
Tommy Milner qualified the No. 4 Compuware Corvette sixth in class at 1:16.083. Despite the position, Milner was only 0.621 seconds off pole position. The car struggled to find balance in the second practice session and qualifying but Milner believed the fix would be an easy adjustment for Sunday’s race. He and teammate Oliver Gavin – defending ALMS GT champions – will go for their second ALMS victory of the season.
“Tommy and Jan both had solid qualifying efforts,” said Doug Fehan, Corvette Racing Program Manager. “Jan’s crash was unfortunate. He was on a good lap, but we were reminded how quickly this track can come up and bite anyone. The entire Corvette Racing team is an experienced and resilient group and will work as long as it takes to get the car repaired and ready for Sunday. It’s that ‘never give up’ spirit that we all exude.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R
“One of the things I love about this place is that there is a real consequence to making mistakes or pushing too hard. We were just a tenth back from pole and this was an attempt to get it. I still think (the pole time) was in the car but I just bounced in the middle of Turn 3 over a small bump and that put me a little bit off line at the exit. A wheel off into the grass and that was it. I was off into the tire wall. I feel sorry for the team. For sure you try to avoid these things but sometimes they happen. When you hit the tire wall at an angle, it tends to rip things off the car. It will be a bit of work for the guys but the car was awesome in qualifying and I believe the pole time was in it. That’s why I went for it. The car will be perfect for the race.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R
“In the previous practice we struggled with the balance of the car and that carried over into qualifying. We’re not way off by any means. The GT field is so close that you have to have a great car, and we have that. It’s a bummer. This was my first qualifying run in awhile and had the issue with balance. We had a bit too much understeer and need to dial some of that out of the car. But we have a direction to go and we’re not lost by any means. We will make some small changes here and there and be ready for tomorrow. We should be in good shape for the race.”
Olly also commented afterwards: “There were really changeable weather conditions during qualifying. It was very windy and that was sending mixed messages to us as to what we should do with the car, and I think we sort of went down the wrong path with the set up of the car.
“Tommy did a great job with qualifying no matter what, and tomorrow will bring another day and another set of conundrums to solve. It’s all to play for, and we’re right there as key players!”