Doug Fehan has led the Chevrolet’s Corvette Racing program since its inception in 1999, and you’d think he’s seen everything. After all, in 2015, a Corvette scored a GT Le Mans (GTLM) class win in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, and the GTE Pro class win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
So he was probably prepared for the Corvette C7.R one-two finish in the 2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona, right?
Wrong. “It was an epic battle,” Fehan said. “Truly, it doesn’t get any better than that. It’s what everyone on this team is racing for.”
“Epic” is not an overstatement. In a race where most every GTLM car took its turn at the head of the pack, the two bright-yellow Corvette C7.Rs, the No. 4 of Oliver Gavin and the No. 3 of Antonio Garcia, both veteran Corvette drivers, battled for the win right down to the checkered flag.
In the end, Gavin edged by Garcia with a 0.034-second margin of victory, the closest class finish in the history of the Rolex 24.
It would have been easier, and perhaps more sensible given the fact that there is not only a race but an International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) WeatherTech SportsCar Championship to win, to issue “team orders” – tell the two drivers to assume a careful one-two posture on the final laps to prevent them from taking each other out. And there have been times, Fehan said, when that has happened.