Muscle Milk Pickett Racing cruised to its second straight victory in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón on Friday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. But another thrilling GT battle stole the show as Corvette Racing's Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner also took their second consecutive class win.
The last 90 minutes of the GT race undoubtedly was the highlight of the American Le Mans Monterey presented by Patrón. Seven cars in the class were within two seconds in the closing hour including the two Corvettes, BMW Team RLL's two BMW M3s and Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs from Flying Lizard Motorsports and Team Falken Tire.
Gavin made what turned out to be the winning pass in his Corvette C6.R on Team Falken Tire's Wolf Henzler with a little less than an hour left at the final turn. But the drama carried on for the next 60 minutes. Bill Auberlen in the No. 55 BMW M3 GT looked set to challenge Gavin for the race win before Jan Magnussen in the sister Corvette muscled his way past the BMW with less than 15 minutes to go.
"It was so tight in our class. You could never let off and think 'I'm alright now,'" Gavin said. "I had a few close calls in the pitlane, and then Wolf passed me for the lead. He was hard but fair, and he gave me just enough room to get by at the last turn. I managed to sneak by a lot of people today, and we managed to catch all the breaks. It was a great race for me today."
Two rare less-than-stellar pit stops seemed to take the No. 4 Corvette out of contention past the halfway point. First there was a refueling issue that sent the car from first to seventh under caution, and then the team couldn't get the left-rear tire changed on another stop. It was a sickening feeling, Milner admitted but hope always remained.