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Deja Vu at VIR / August 28, 2017
Call this a repeat performance at Virginia International Raceway yesterday. Enjoying favorable weather conditions, the same team won for the second year in a row for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Michelin GT challenge in Alton.

Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen scored the win in the feature race of the weekend. The duo won here for the second year in a row, and yesterday's victory extends their lead in the GT Le Mans driver's championship.

"Crazy race.  We just put ourselves in the right position when other people made mistakes," Magnussen said.

"We knew it was going to be difficult starting sixth. We knew with a potential green race, which it was, everything we lost at the beginning was very difficult to catch back up. Again, Corvette Racing (was) amazing on the pit strategy.  We saved a ton of fuel in the middle - enough to be in contention.. Some luck too with the Ferrari flying off (course) and the BMW being short (on fuel).  That's awesome.  We deserve this after all the fourths and thirds in the last six races - which by the way were like victories for us," co-driver Antonio Garcia said.

This same team collected the overall victory in the GT-only race at VIR last year. At the time, it was the second victory for Corvette Racing at VIR. The first came in 2012 for Oliver Gavin and Tommy Millner.

Magnussen and Garcia scored a somewhat unlikely win - their third of the season - and expanded their lead in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) point standings from eight points over No. 66 teammates Dirk Mueller and Joey Hand to 16 points over No. 25 co-drivers Alexander Sims and Bill Auberlen.

They did it through masterful strategy and a little bit of luck. Magnussen started the race from sixth, but moved into the top five on the opening lap of the race and got all the way to third before pitting 49 minutes into the two-hour, 40-minute race to turn the car over to Garcia.

The Spaniard acknowledged after the race that the team focused on conserving fuel for much of his closing double stint. At the same time, however, he also faced a stiff challenge from Giancarlo Fisichella in the No. 62 and Mueller in the No. 66.

"I didn't know how much fuel they were saving, so I didn't know what pace we were doing," Garcia said. "I think the key was stopping one or two laps later than the Ferrari and the Ford, because I had really clear laps from those two. That made me so close to the Ferrari and especially to be ahead of the Ford coming out of the pits. Ninety percent of the race was that pit stop and being able to get in front of them."

That was a battle for second, though, as Sims was well up the road in the No. 25 after combining with Auberlen to dominate most of the race. Garcia and the Corvette team’s fuel conservation tactics ultimately paid off, though, because Sims was forced to pit from the lead with less than 15 minutes remaining.

GTD WINNERS: The Change Race team operation of Corey Lewis and Jeroen Mul prevailed in the GT-Daytona class win at VIR.

This team led every lap of the race and had the strongest performance of every session of the weekend.

"The feeling is hard to describe, since it is absolutely a dream come true for us right now. We’ve been fighting so hard this entire year to finally get a good result. We knew we had it in us.

"It just wasn't meant to be up until this point," said co-driver Mul.

"We led every single session of the race, every lap of the race," said Mul. "It was a complete home run. The car was an absolute dream."

The leading GTD team stayed on target early as the faster GT-LM field cleared, and once that happened, this duo stayed on the point. Then, at the end, Lewis drove a heady final stint and held off the toughest competition at the end.

After sweeping each of the weekend's four practice sessions and scoring the pole award, Mul and Corey Lewis capped off a weekend sweep in style in the Michelin GT Challenge Sunday, leading all 91 laps in the No. 16.

It was the first career IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship win for Mul, Lewis and Change Racing, and the first win of the season for Lamborghini.

Mull added, "The first part of the race for me, the start was a little tricky with the GTD and GTLM field starting all together, but I managed to stay ahead, stay in the lead, and as soon as the entire GTLM field cleared me, I was able to get into a solid rhythm and pull away from the rest of the GTD field.

Despite the dominant effort throughout the weekend, the win certainly didn't come easy with Lewis having to hold off the No. 96 of Jens Klingmann in the closing laps. Klingmann got to the rear bumper of Lewis on the final lap, but couldn't make the pass, finishing second in the car started by Jesse Krohn, 1.035 seconds back.

"The last 20 minutes was not what I was planning," said Lewis. "Getting around back markers was a lot harder than I thought it would be. With the Turner guys charging as hard as they were, it took everything I had just to remain calm. I drove as consistent as I possibly could. This being our first GTD win as a team and my first win, this is one we had to work for."

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