The C6.Rs chase eventual class...
The C6.Rs chase eventual class winner Jamie Melo late in the race. Corvette Racing's numerous travails make the cars' Eighth/Ninth finish seem respectable.
No. 3 then returned to the pits to have its own damage repaired. The left front tire had completely shredded due to the damaged wheelwell, and the cords had wrapped themselves around the brake disc and spindle. The remnants of tire were removed, and the fender was pulled out and bandaged with yellow-impregnated bonding tape to complete the repair. No. 3 was finally sent out to race again, only to be forced back to the pit with its sister car so the pair could serve penalties for contact. This put both Corvette entries even further down in the running order.
The whole fiasco spelled doom for the C6.Rs at Sebring. They were running several laps down in a class that had 13 other entries competing within seconds of each other. In years past, if a good team faltered in GT2, it might still end up Second or Third. Now, with such a tight field, any incident sufficient to cause damage means an Eighth or Ninth Place finish at best. It was a major disappointment for a Corvette team accustomed to fighting for the lead wherever it goes.
While the C6.Rs performed very well for the rest of the race, they couldn't seem to outrun bad luck. At one point, No. 4 was struck by an errant rear tire that had come free from the Falken Porsche. Driver Gavin was extremely lucky that the rubber projectile hit the front of his car and bounced over the cockpit, rather than into the windshield. Late in the race, the car also suffered a loss in power to the headlights, a significant problem when running at night and yet another consequence of the damage incurred earlier.
The close of the race found the Corvettes in Eighth and Ninth in class (15th and 16th overall in a 34-car field) behind a spate of Porsches and Ferraris. The Ferrari 430 of Jamie Melo took the top spot in GT2, while the diesel Peugeots ran away from the rest of the prototype field to claim First and Second overall. The BMW M3s garnered an impressive Second and Third in GT2 despite their back-of-the-pack starting positions.
Corvette Racing acquitted itself well considering the numerous setbacks it was dealt throughout the event. The cars and the team performed well in the face of overwhelming adversity, putting them one step closer toward the ultimate goal of mounting a competitive effort at Le Mans.